“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” - Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States
Our election system is designed to produce two ideologically opposed perspectives.
We spend almost a year focusing on which candidate will win the nomination of the Democratic Party -- a party that represents less than 40% of registered American voters.
At the same time, the Republican Party held its contest and we listened, day and night, to the candidates try to win the nomination of a party that represents less than 30% of registered American voters.
Perhaps what is missing from the mainstream pollsters’ analysis of this election is the same thing that is missing from our current election system – an ability to recognize the legitimate desire to have more democratic (small “d”) representation.
Bernie Sanders ran on a strident ideology. And his issue-related opinions were and are important to many. But passion was not stoked by his ideological pursuits. Rather, the Bernie passion was grounded in a belief that he represented a challenge to a Democratic Party that is not so democratic.
Some voters, and even Bernie Sanders himself, however, were so fearful of the only viable alternative to the Democratic Party nominee, they were willing to cast their vote for the nominee who won a compromised nomination process.
Donald Trump exploited strident ideologies in the Republican Party. And his issue-related opinions are important to many. But passion for Trump was not stoked by his ideological pursuits. Rather, that Trump passion was grounded in a belief that he represented the only remaining challenge to an entire system that is not so democratic.
A mountain of evidence shows that the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, and an entire establishment of media, pollsters, businesses, and political leaders exercised every power they had to keep him from winning the presidency.
Pollsters show that millennials did not vote in lock-step the way the establishment expected them to. Less millennials voted for the Democratic Party candidate this year than they did in 2012.
Instead, many of the voters who supported Bernie Sanders in the primary voted for Jill Stein, Gary Johnson, or even Donald Trump. And many of them chose not to vote at all.
We can be fearful of the Donald Trump victory, and tell our kids that the next President of the United States was elected because the people of America are racists, misogynists, homophobes, and the like. Or, we can be hopeful in Donald Trump’s victory, and tell our kids that the next President of the United States was elected because the American people have decided that fairness in the election process, a more truthful media, and a more democratic establishment are more important than ideology.
We can tell our children that bigotry won. Or we can tell them that fundamental fairness won.
How we choose to frame each stage of America’s journey is up to each of us. But however we decide to frame the future, the same America that elected Donald Trump elected the first black president. And it has a lot more voting-aged millennials in it than it did back then.
If you accept the narrative of the media and their pollsters, it is millennials that “failed” to elect the first female president. Fact is, they simply didn’t show up and vote for her like they did for President Obama.
This year, some of them voted for Donald Trump. A lot of them voted for a third party. And a bunch of them didn’t vote at all.
Hillary Clinton, as the nominee of the Democratic Party, had every reason to win the millennial vote. The millennial generation is the most culturally accepting generation in the history of the world. And the Democratic Party did everything it could to brand the Republican nominee as someone that culturally accepting millennials should fear.
Apparently, millennials don’t vote out of fear.
That, in itself, should give us some hope.
Photo Credit: Jim Mone/ AP