Democrats Who Were Blindsided in 2016, Let Me ‘Splain What Happened and Who to Blame

graphic eye with eye lashes and colors

2022 note: Even though it’s been eight years since I wrote this, I still stand by this whole post. Even the part about Russia, which turned out to be fabricated fear mongering and a handy deflection of the DNC’s fault in losing the election, just as I asserted here.

Oh wait, one more thing—I’m no longer a registered Democrat. They got my last dime in 2020 when I briefly fell for their schtick and got burned again—the Democratic Party squandered my money and my loyalty. My optimism now lies outside any political party or candidate. 

Well that didn’t go as planned.

I was a little surprised, but not terribly shocked. I thought Hillary’d win, because I kinda believed the polls. And shoot, I figured the DNC might have rigged the whole thing like they did the primary anyway.

But I also thought the Cubs winning the World Series, followed by me finding a dollar on the ground the other day were good omens, so at first the election results had me stumped a little (trumped a little, ha ha).

I was adjusting my attitude for a Hillary win.

I’d kinda, sorta resigned myself to my anger and frustration over how my party handled its primary; I concluded I would just have to accept the inevitable and then figure out what to do next.

I was readying myself to listen to the gloating over electing our first woman President, when I personally would have preferred a woman with fewer shortcomings in character and integrity.

I was preparing for the backlash from angry Trump voters who’d promised to retaliate if they lost. And for Trump’s own refusal to accept the results.

I was preparing for the gloating of my fellow liberals over the Democratic party’s “progressive” agenda, knowing all the while that Hillary Clinton‘s record is far from peaceful, and that she was itching to go to war with Russia.

What I was primarily worried about was that by electing Hillary Clinton, Democrats could go on acting like everything was okay.

Oh sure, there was plenty of talk of “holding her feet to the fire” once she got elected.

You know, to keep the progressive agenda alive and kicking, because our candidate made it abundantly clear she didn’t give a flying fuck about the progressive half of the party—there were a lot of voters to win back once Hillary had basically told us to go eat cake or something.

I worried that Democrats would simply go on pretending that our party (and the other one, too) hadn’t sold its soul to corporate America.

I worried the party had moved so much to the right that it’s basically the Republican party of the 80s at this point, but damn if you can find many Democrats who’ll admit this.

I worried I’d be running around for another four or eight years blabbering like Chicken Little about the progressive sky falling.

Look, I’m no Monday morning quarterback here.

Ever since it became crystal clear what the DNC was up to, I’ve been bitching, kicking, and screaming about it. I voted on Election Day instead of early because I was so fucking sick over the choice I had to make, I just couldn’t do it any earlier than I had to. God, I was mad.

When it was becoming evident on election night that the jackass just might win, I was so damned pissed off at my party. Pissed off. I tried, dammit, I tried to tell everyone.

So I just went to bed.

Then I got to worrying, thinking Where is my passport. 

At three in the morning, I rolled over to look at my phone. Trump had won.

So I woke up on Wednesday to witness my fellow liberals just dumbstruck because they’d been so smug and sure Hillary would win.

People were crazed and running around like their vote-blue-no-matter-who sky just fell out of nowhere, when I’d been saying exactly that all along, and risking friendships and shit.

I just felt more pissed off. Dammit. But since I was already mad, I didn’t have to fall as far as a lot of people, so lucky me.

Liberals, here’s the silver lining.

Now we can’t go along for another four plus years pretending everything’s alright. Because clearly, nothing is alright.

In a nutshell, what happened here was that voters chose the devil they didn’t know over the one they knew. That’s how fed up people were. The DNC completely discounted this.

The DNC was hellbent on giving us Hillary Clinton, a standard issue, establishment, bought-and-paid-for candidate, and no amount of female-ness and experience could get her elected.

So Democrats, do you wanna know who to blame?

  • Blame your own party for giving you the wrong candidate.

She got the nomination because it was her turn. We had a black President, so let’s move on to a woman President, was kind of the thinking, I suppose. But woman or not, the DNC put the wrong candidate in place.

How can I be so sure?

Because she lost.

She couldn’t beat the sleaziest, buffooniest, untrustworthy-est game show host the country has ever called a candidate. The right candidate would have won.

  • Blame the candidate herself for giving the progressive half of the party the finger.

You know, the 47% plus who voted for Bernie Sanders in the primary.

She could have tapped into all that active enthusiasm and gotten all those votes by choosing a progressive VP, but nope, she chose Tim Kaine—so not a progressive, that one (not even pro-choice). She basically told a big fat half of the party that she didn’t need them.

  • Blame the candidate for assuming she’d win.

Yeah, sure, she campaigned and made some stops and sent some representatives like Bernie and Michelle Obama on the road for her—and she did a helluva lot of fundraising, as per her style. But that Trump dude was allllll over the place alllllll the time—I’m talking multiple states a day, even on election day. The man was working it.

He had way more momentum than she did the whole time, but he still didn’t slow down. Plus, he’d already proven he could say or do any manner of ridiculous or wrong thing and people’d still like the man.

Our candidate, though?

She was all I got this and shit.

And her “basket of deplorables” remark was just the cherry on top.

She didn’t have nearly the same level of carte blanche for that kind of assholery, but damn if she didn’t assume she was entitled to it.

In her mind, Hillary Clinton had already won the election and only had to go through the obligatory process, stringing the trump guy along until she got herself to that almighty Oval Office.

The arrogance.

The narcissism.

The crappy deal we ended up with.

  • Blame the media for giving lotsa air time during the primaries to the novelty candidate who made for such good ratings.

Then, to their astonishment, he gained traction.

Imagine if the media had given Bernie Sanders that kind of attention! Dude was popular. Tens of thousands of people at his rallies, individual donations galore, genuine hope and heartfelt excitement among voters.

But the corporate media didn’t want anything to do with Sanders, the Democratic Socialist. Wouldn’t touch him without the DNC’s permission.

Do you think maybe some decision makers and media outlets might like to push the back button right about now?

Do you think maybe a Sanders upset would have felt a lot better than a Trump upset feels right about now?

  • Blame the corporate media for misleading you into thinking “Madam President” was a sure thing.

I’m talking about all of ’em, but especially venerable liberal media such as NPR, the New York Times, and The New Yorker, all of which I normally used to love, but dayum, I had to take a break over their shit.

It was a Hillary love-fest all over the place, even with the increasing evidence of a rigged primary and a sketchy candidate. Even when it looked like Democrats might be screwed, these guys just went on with their wishful thinking.

All that wishful thinking was damn misleading at best, but devastating by November 9th.

  • And oh, I almost forgot, blame David Brock and his whole “Correct the Record” bullshit.

Or Blame Hillary Clinton for putting him in charge of her campaign.

Talk about a sleezeball. Geez.

Look that asshole up if you don’t know who he is. I’m through talking about him.

But listen up, I want you to know who not to blame, too.

  • Haters.

Because oddly enough, plenty of non-haters also voted for Trump.

Maybe it doesn’t make sense, but because both parties utterly failed to recognize how many Americans loathe what’s become of our politics, a lot of people saw Donald Trump as the lesser of two evils—not the other way around.

Surprise, surprise.

  • “Most of America.”

Hey, half of the eligible voters didn’t even vote, and after that, about 25% voted for both Clinton and Trump each, which makes for pretty easy math. So you can blame 25% of America for voting for Trump.

And because you’re educated, you know that’s not the same thing as “most.”

  • Scratch that. Don’t blame the 25% of voters who voted for Trump.

Don’t blame voters at all.

People have a right to vote the way they want to, plain and simple.

You can be mad, but when it comes down to it, those deplorables are our fellow Americans.

Our fellow humans, actually. Trump voters, this goes for you, too.

  • Misogynists.

(That’s the latest fancy word for chauvinists—also known as sexist assholes, in case you’re not up on your feminist lingo.)

It’d be great if people would recognize that Clinton’s loss was not due to her gender.

Since a woman has to work at least three times harder to achieve what a man can achieve three times more easily because the requirements are illogically tougher, the standards higher, and the scrutiny closer, wouldn’t it make sense to run a squeaky clean candidate?

Shit, even if Betty White ran for office, it’d be hard—and everybody likes Betty.

But the wise ol’ DNC was like, “Hey, I know… Let’s run Hillary Clinton (again)! What could go wrong?”

We sent an unpopular, scandal-ridden candidate with an iffy record of accomplishments into the ring, but by god, vagina!

Sure, she was held to a higher standard than Trump—but why the hell was that a surprise?

  • Don’t waste your breath blaming third-party voters.

I’m talking to you, Rachel Maddow.

First of all, every election has its outlying votes, so acting like nobody was going to vote outside of our super-duper two-party system this time isn’t too bright.

Second of all, most of the third-party voters, the Libertarians, wouldn’t have gone to Clinton anyway—Gary Johnson voters would never even have considered voting for her. If anything, Gary Johnson voters took votes from Trump, not Clinton.

And last of all, the Green Party (Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka), in spite of their lofty goal of 5% of the popular vote, in fact received less that 1% of the vote. Yeah, a lot of Bernie voters ended up there, but not as many as projected, as it turned out.

So while third-party votes accounted for 4% of the votes cast in this election, that’s about what usually happens, Clinton vs. Trump, or not.

Why not? Because I do believe I recall sitting up late one November evening in 2012 watching Barak Obama win Electoral votes over the popular vote in Ohio, and since I liked how that election turned out, I’m not gonna sit here and complain about the Electoral College right now.

Maybe later, but not in the heat of this toxic election.

If a candidate and a party have that much to hide, don’t you think it’d be nice to know before you go adulating them? I mean, that shit was scathing and needed to be revealed to the people who put their trust in the party and the candidate. We had—and have—a right to this information.

I don’t know.

It just seems obvious to me that since Hillary Clinton has so impressively deflected one attack after another up until Comey’s eleventh hour shenanigans, this one lil’ ol’ October surprise of Comey coming up with more shit on Clinton’s e-mail behavior wasn’t what did her in.

  • The Russians.

Because come on. The whole Russia thing is a distraction designed to confuse us into thinking Russian involvement in our politics caused problems that we ourselves caused. In other words, we did this to ourselves.

I’ll just spell it out: this mess was our own damned fault.

So here’s the deal.

If Democrats want to win elections, we might oughta get our shit together. We might oughta pick better candidates instead of who our corporate masters tell us to pick. We might want to try and appeal to the growing numbers of progressives.

We fought amongst ourselves during the primary, one team cheated, the other lost, and look what that got us.

We all lost.

So, it’s time for liberal and progressive voters to:

  • Start asking wayyyyyy more questions.
  • Follow the money, which ought to be the first thing you do, actually. Even when you’re watching/reading/listening to, ahem, trusted sources.
  • Stop being so gullible—because Donald Trump wasn’t the only one who conned us here.
  • Stop assuming the Democratic party has your back.
  • Stop assuming the Democratic National Committee is liberal.
  • Stop being so gotdamn smug and elitist. That shit gets so damned old.

I want you to know something, though.

I have a hunch that the next four years (and hopefully no more than four) will in actuality be merely a terribly conservative Republican presidency, and not a dictatorship.

I know, I know, “But Trump!”

Well, the man is putting all these regular old super conservative Republicans in place as he transitions into the job. Democrats are fixing to have a helluva tough four years, yes, because we seriously didn’t want a conservative administration in the White House.

But unless Democrats just self-destruct, which we’ve just about proven we’re entirely capable of, we’re going to have to handle it and get through it.

As for all the shitty things Trump has promised/threatened to do, or hinted at, or strongly suggested as he gained traction and fucking won the election, well, I wish people would quit acting so damned surprised.

All this lashing out is fine and dandy, but it’s not like this came out of nowhere.

A good time to lash out, by the way, would have been when the DNC stole the nomination for Clinton—

—that would have been a good time to hit the streets with some signs. Maybe we could have prevented a President Trump.

But lots of questionable decisions and complacency later, here we are.

While 25% of the population voted for the Bad Guy, plenty of people who either really, really wanted a woman President, or who crossed their fingers and just gave up on the whole thing, or who didn’t give a shit were complicit in us coming in second in the Great Shit Show of 2016.

The silver lining is that we can now pull ourselves together sooner than later.

Which isn’t all that great because we have to put up with a Republican administration for a while.

But it’s not nothing.

But what do we tell the children?

Ah, fear. Fear that they’ll find out what adults are really like and what we just did.

  • Well first, we apologize for letting our idealism slip out of sight because we got busy and selfish and just stopped believing in good things for one reason or another.  
  • Then we tell them not to fuck up as badly as we have—only maybe we use better language than that. 
  • We tell them we love them, and to be nice to other people.
  • We tell them to listen to other people, especially when we disagree with them. 
  • We tell them to learn from us, but not to copy us. 
  • We tell them to go out there and stir up some world peace
  • We tell them we believe in them. 
  • And then we tell them to graciously hand it all over to the next generation when they’re old and a little worn out like we are. Which is probably what we should have done when Bernie Sanders had all those millennials shouting at him like a rock star.

Maybe it feels like the end of the world, but this’d be a good time for liberals to realize what just happened.

Republicans are now going to run the country from the top down. Democrats didn’t see it coming—which is utterly ridiculous on its own accord.

Now we’re stuck trying to figure out how to not do this again. And how to drastically improve the situation a whole lot sooner than later. Either that, or maybe we can all just join hands and flee the country together.

Losing this election to Trump may have hurt like hell—and will probably continue to, but I say we stay put, get our shit together, and clean the place up now.

This right here, liberals, is what they call a come-to-Jesus moment.

Wanna keep going on like this? Then we keep doing what we’ve been doing.

Want to really, actually, in real life be on the side of equality and love and justice? Then it’s time to stop blaming all the wrong people, stop all this us and them shit, and own up to what went wrong here.

Tall order, but I think we can do it.

Hey, I may be angry, but I’m still an optimist.

woman silhouetted driving looking at beautiful view
Keep a bright outlook, shiny friends.


16 thoughts on “Democrats Who Were Blindsided in 2016, Let Me ‘Splain What Happened and Who to Blame”

  1. Yes! I know this is a VERY late response but I just wanted to say that you’re spot on in your evaluation of the 2016 election. I couldn’t agree more with almost every point you made… I’m so happy I’ve found this blog/website!

    I too live in New Bern (not a native but have lived in eastern NC (Pamlico, Wilmington, and here in NB) for most of my life, and am glad to know there’s other progressive folks who aren’t complacent & blinded by partisan loyalty – yet still think critically and acknowledge the Dems are the *better* of both parties – and understand how critical it is that the Democratic Party be transformed (or really, brought home to it’s roots) into a truly viable, grassroots, & people-powered party that works for ALL of us, not billionaires & the super wealthy. We can’t just be the lesser of two evils (and many voters view the Dem establishment as poorly as the GOP), we have to offer stark policy differences and transcend identity politics in order to create a united front!

    ALSO – I found your page through a FB link to the piece you wrote about Madame Z (which was amazing, btw) and like I said above I’m glad I did! From one curly progressive southern to another – you’re awesome! ❤️

    • Awwww, it’s so good to hear from someone nearby!! Thank you for your comment!

      I used to think the dems were a much better party than the repubs, then I realized there wasn’t as a big a gap as I’d thought between them but still the dems were the better party, but now, the only thing I like about the dems is that it’s the party Sanders is aligned with inside of our unbending 2-party system. Lort, what a f-ing mess, but whatever because go, team! It’s already a helluva primary so we’ve got our work cut out for us. I better get back on some politic-y blog posts—the country needs me!

      I hope we run into each other soon! Thanks again for your fab comment~ xoxo

  2. I’m reading this way after the party is over – why I didn’t see it two years ago, I don’t know – but it rings just as true now as it did then. I’ve got some of my own, similar thoughts about this mess, although I don’t think about partisan politics a whole lot. Some of them (like “Democrats, Kavanaugh, and the 2018 Mid-Term Elections”) are here if you’re interested:

    • Thanks, Bruce! I don’t know why you didn’t see this earlier either. Glad you finally found it.

      I’ve been laying low over things for a while, but I’m about to get up and shout soon!

  3. Great piece. This election should serve as a wake up call for Democrats. Here’s hoping people get involved and generate decent, honest and progressive candidates in the future.

    • Thanks for the vote of confidence! And yes, the election has indeed been a wake-up call for not only Democrats, but Americans all around. And it’s an opportunity for the country to reform our political system in some crucial ways (campaign finance reform, anyone?), should we stay awake in front of our TVs long enough.

  4. What is the most shocking thing to me is that so few voters seem to have the ability to think outside of the us/them duopoly that WE have let happen to our country. There were more choices than just the 2 dreadful major party candidates being offered and we as a nation chose not to really care very much about that. If there is ever to be a change in our nation then we need to start to support better candidates whatever their party affiliation. Democrats AND Republicans got exactly what they deserved.
    Mark Krcmar

    • It’s true. Both parties have people too frightened to even consider trying to change—as if somehow things are going to improve; as if somehow party leaders are going to turn over a new leaf. Until we get the bribes out of their hands, we’ll continue on this path, though, such is the level of greed in our politics.

      Right now the Repubs are falling all over themselves trying to get cabinet positions in this reality show gone to seed, and the Dems have yet to admit the blood is on their hands post-Election.

      Very few of our politicians actually care for their constituents. It’s unbelievable what’s become of us.

      Thanks for your comment—much appreciated.

  5. You Rock Coco! I knew you’d spell it out loud and clear and I totally appreciate it. Now let’s share this story and give the positive change and revolution fuel.

    • Thanks for your confidence, Maggie. And please do send this post out there to make a difference—I’d love that, ’cause we’ve got a lot of ground to cover as we try to re-steer the country.

  6. Bernie Sanders is not the next generation; he’s a ’30s era New York City kid who hasn’t changed his speech in 40 years. And wasn’t a Democrat until 2015. So. I am very happy so many young people have joined the party, and hope they will run for office–school board, dog catcher, whatever no one else wants to do (and there are more and more of these opportunities every day;) get yourself into the game and maybe one day you, yes YOU will vote for a winner.

    • There’s no doubt, though, that the kids liked him, old fart and Democrat-come-lately, or not. And they were a force to behold. It’s a ridiculous shame the DNC didn’t tap into their enthusiasm. And numbers.

      I, too, hope these voters continue to be active, and a good number I know are doing just that. The thing I’ve noticed, though, is that they’re really pissed off for being taken for fools. And they’re not exactly doing what we might prescribe as the best way to move forward. Remember, these are instant gratification generations, and while we may think that’s a foolish way to be, they’re clever and determined and continue to figure out how to make things work in their favor.

      Thanks for commenting, Rebecca—I appreciate it.

  7. I think I felt I didn’t have any good choices when it came voting time, and yet felt obliged to go vote anyway. Right now, I’m sitting tight, waiting to see what’s going to happen. Heaven help us!

    • Thank goodness for the down-ballot races, where our vote might make a difference; if the POTUS had been the only thing on the ballot, it would have been just hopeless. What a train wreck.


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