The Irony Of Defeat

It seems to me….

Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” ~ Denis Waitley[1].

Unfortunately, as a result of the 2016 Presidential election, there is a frighteningly radical change toward extremism at the highest levels of government. Almost 3 million more Americans voted for Hillary Clinton than for trump in 2016 who’s share of the popular vote was lower than Mitt Romney’s in 2012; it was in fact lower than the share received by most other losers in recent presidential elections. Still, Democrats lost the vote in the majority of individual states and consequently the election.

Hillary lost for a variety of reasons. Non-college educated whites are more numerous than African-Americans, Latinos, or educated whites; they remain the single largest demographic voting bloc even as their share of the overall population will continue to slowly decline over time. The political left obviously failed to properly engage with rural, white, working-class voters in regions of the country long seen as Democratic strongholds.

Hillary is hardworking, intelligent, moral, and totally sane but possibly severely wary after thirty years of nearly constant pummeling by extremists and the media. The most frequently stated excuse as to why a basically capable and honest (but boring) policy wonk lost to a totally incompetent unmitigated ass like trump was that the voters wanted change but that also lacks credibility since most Congressional incumbents on the ballot were reelected.

Basically, she ran a poor campaign that failed to connect with a major segment of the population. Many people considered her dishonest though every politically-motivated investigation exonerated her on every charge; still the frequency of charges cast a pall of criminality about her. Voters are tired of political dynasties and after 35 years rejected her as having outworn her welcome. Electoral polls predicted her winning by such a substantial margin that many Democratic voters failed to cast a ballot. Emphasized issues that did not resonate with blue-collar voters (women’s issues rather than immigration, climate change rather than terrorism…). Ill-timed FBI pronouncements regarding her use of a personal server (her two predecessors also had used personal servers) seemed deliberately intended to damage her campaign. There was the Russian-backed involvement favoring trump and release of Democratic e-mail and other data by WikiLeaks and Julian Assange which mainly served to undermine Hillary Clinton rather than being updates of a non-partisan platform for whistleblowers. Many voters were obviously misogynistic and would never vote for a woman. Then there was a large segment of voters that rejected President Obama on the basis of racial bigotry which became associated with her by having served as his Secretary of State and supporting many of his policies. Perhaps what should be most surprising is that Clinton still managed to win the popular vote by such a significant margin.

Ironically, it is those much-maligned urban elites supposedly out of touch with the rest of the country who pay its bills. According to the Brookings Institution, wealth generated contributing to gross domestic product in the 500 counties won by Clinton produced 64 percent of U.S. economic output while the 2,600 counties won by trump produced just 36 percent of GDP. Use any economic measure whether employment, start-ups, or innovation, the areas that score highest voted heavily against trump[2]. It is the blue states, which voted overwhelmingly against trump in 2016, that fund the red states that voted for him. From 1990 to 2009, Clinton states collectively paid $2.4 trillion more in federal taxes than they received in federal spending while all the trump states combined received $1.3 trillion more than they paid.

Democrats will need to reinforce their decaying state and local party apparatuses to build power outside cities. Conservatives understood the importance of these down-ballot races years ago and have invested heavily in them, while Democrats tended to concentrate on the presidency and interest-group specific causes.

That’s what I think, what about you?

[1] Denis E. Waitley, is an American motivational speaker, writer, and consultant.

[2] Zakaria, Fareed. Sorry, President Trump. I Agree With You, Washington Post, https://fareedzakaria.com/2017/02/03/sorry-president-trump-i-agree-with-you/, 2 February 2017.

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About lewbornmann

Lewis J. Bornmann has his doctorate in Computer Science. He became a volunteer for the American Red Cross following his retirement from teaching Computer Science, Mathematics, and Information Systems, at Mesa State College in Grand Junction, CO. He previously was on the staff at the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, Stanford University, and several other universities. Dr. Bornmann has provided emergency assistance in areas devastated by hurricanes, floods, and wildfires. He has responded to emergencies on local Disaster Action Teams (DAT), assisted with Services to Armed Forces (SAF), and taught Disaster Services classes and Health & Safety classes. He and his wife, Barb, are certified operators of the American Red Cross Emergency Communications Response Vehicle (ECRV), a self-contained unit capable of providing satellite-based communications and technology-related assistance at disaster sites. He served on the governing board of a large international professional organization (ACM), was chair of a committee overseeing several hundred worldwide volunteer chapters, helped organize large international conferences, served on numerous technical committees, and presented technical papers at numerous symposiums and conferences. He has numerous Who’s Who citations for his technical and professional contributions and many years of management experience with major corporations including General Electric, Boeing, and as an independent contractor. He was a principal contributor on numerous large technology-related development projects, including having written the Systems Concepts for NASA’s largest supercomputing system at the Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley. With over 40 years of experience in scientific and commercial computer systems management and development, he worked on a wide variety of computer-related systems from small single embedded microprocessor based applications to some of the largest distributed heterogeneous supercomputing systems ever planned.
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