Initially, I was going to devote my post-election column to whether the Electoral College should be abolished or not, in light of what happened. As we all know, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote (and her lead continues to increase — it’s nearly two million votes) — but lost to Donald Trump, who took the electoral votes in several key battleground states, propelling him to the presidency.
This was the fourth time this has happened, with the most recent example being the 2000 presidential election in which Al Gore won the popular vote but lost the presidency to George W. Bush, thanks to a Supreme Court decision. After that imbroglio, there was a clamor to eliminate the Electoral College, which was instituted by our forefathers so that each state would have their say in a presidential election, but that cry faded.
I wanted to revisit this debate to tap into what people, across the electoral divide, are feeling. So far, I have gathered very vehement views on this hot-button topic but none of them are from Trump voters. Because I’m a trained journalist, I am vocationally guided by an overpowering imperative to write a balanced piece, presenting a cross-section of voices.
This is our next Watergate, folks.
But I digress. Not only did I support Clinton, I volunteered for her campaign, which I’ve never done for any other candidate in my life. I canvassed for her during the primaries and made several donations just to express my unstinting belief in her.
I didn’t do this with blinders on. Yes, I knew she was flawed. Her well-documented relationship with Wall Street fat cats like Goldman Sachs made her vulnerable to her foes as did Bill Clinton’s less-than-savory past.
Then there were the stupid emails. They always seemed like such a bogus scandal co-opted by her enemies to cast her in the worst light imaginable even though they never really struck me as all that criminal. Careless, maybe, but felonious? Was keeping a private email server on the same level of amorality as Trump bilking people of their hard-won money with his fraudulent Trump University? Or his grotesque bragging over not paying taxes? Or stiffing contractors and workers what he rightfully owed them? Or his importing illegal steel from China? Or his rhetoric of hate and bile? Or his sexually predatory proclivities?
Am I supposed to forget the collusion between Russia and Wikileaks — which is apparently an organ of the modern Stalin, Vladmir Putin — that successfully undercut Hillary’s campaign and constantly helped Trump with a constant deluge of her hacked private emails? Am I supposed to forget how FBI Director James Comey sent a letter to Congress a week and a half before the election with news that his agency was reviewing a new batch of emails that weren’t even hers — but were found instead on the laptop of former Congressman and recidivist perv Anthony Weiner, the now-estranged husband of Huma Abedin, Clinton’s chief aide? Comey was reportedly advised by government VIPs not to send the letter due to its proximity to the election but did so anyway. Am I supposed to forget that those emails were nothing — just duplicates of earlier emails that had been vetted and cleared? But it didn’t matter. The damage was done. Am I supposed to forget that?
Why does Comey still have a job?
And why does Comey still have a job? Why is Obama and other people like former Attorney General Eric Holder on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher apologizing for Comey? “He’s a good man who made a mistake,” Holder said to Maher. Disgusting.
Has any political candidate ever received so much vitriolic abuse as Clinton? Her deranged detractors actually accuse her of rubbing out her enemies — the female Al Capone of politics! But she took it and took it and took it some more. “When they go low, you go high,” she said, repeating what First Lady Michelle Obama told us.
Yes, maybe in Clinton I saw a way to vicariously project my own egalitarian hopes and dreams. But I also genuinely believed in her vision and ideology. I loved she was always the smartest person in the room, the Student Council President catapulted to a larger stage.
Since her heartbreaking loss on Tuesday, I’ve tried to move on but it’s been…difficult. Perhaps if she had lost to a decent man like John McCain or Mitt Romney, I wouldn’t be as upset. But the fact that she lost to a blustery demagogue and conman and buffoon like Trump exacerbates the pain.
Since the election, I have not been able to watch a TV news broadcast in its entirely. I can’t — the raw wound still festers too deep. Nor was I able to watch Clinton’s concession speech, although I did read some excerpts online. I know that she talked about how she hoped that someday a woman would break that glass ceiling and become president.
Well, Hillary: you might not have made it to the Oval Office but you sure did break the glass ceiling. At least for me and many others. You were a creditable, inspiring candidate. Even when Trump was baiting you with his nasty, sophomoric one-liners during the debates, you kept your poise and aplomb, and you crushed his uninformed and imbecilic arguments with the strength of your intelligence and implacable will. You were class incarnate and I thank you. To future generations of women, you opened the door to a world of unmined possibilities.
Maybe in 2020 or further down the road, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, California’s new Senator-Elect Kamala Harris, Michelle Obama or someone else will finally finally crack it open and say we finally made it. But I’m still angry.