The Illiterate Electorate: Who Elected Trump

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Forty-five million Americans cannot read a children’s book. But they can read a tweet, compose a tweet and retweet ad infinitum.

They are America’s functionally illiterate population.

These 45 million can read a headline but do not have the skills needed to absorb a newspaper or magazine article or even this blog post. As a result, they are incapable of higher order thinking – the holistic analysis of printed information and a resulting conclusion. Likewise, important things like evaluating reliability of authors, content and sources are missing from their thought processes.

The functionally illiterate cannot tell printed truth from fiction. They are easy prey for the blaring headlines of fake news, loud voices from public podiums, simplistic chants, repetitive memes and 140-character tweets – all of which dominated the Republican presidential campaign. Continue reading “The Illiterate Electorate: Who Elected Trump”

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It Happened: Third-Party Candidates Split The Vote

In the most crucial swing states of this general election, third-party candidates and their voters effectively thwarted the will of the majority of Americans. Their cumulative votes denied Hillary Clinton the victory and landed an inexperienced and precariously unprepared real estate guy in the Oval Office.

That’s according to data compiled by David Wasserman with the Cook Political Report in its National Popular Vote Tracker. The numbers from that report show that in Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, had votes cast for third-party candidates been diverted to Clinton, she would have won the states, their electoral votes, and now be assembling her White House Cabinet.

Here’s the breakdown of votes. Continue reading “It Happened: Third-Party Candidates Split The Vote”

Election Day: Who Didn’t Vote

apathyI voted early. When Election Day came, I had the freedom to mount a one-to-one GOTV (Get Out the Vote) effort.

Early on the morning of 8 November, I visited my local gas station, a franchise operated by an immigrant family from Bhutan. They’d arrived seven years ago as political asylees, gotten their green card as Permanent Residents, and then after the five-year waiting period, applied for and earned their citizenship. I knew them as well as one can from frequent trips and friendly exchanges.

I bought gas and chatted with one of the brothers at check-out. Continue reading “Election Day: Who Didn’t Vote”

The Aftermath: Searching for Clues

Six days after the results of 8 November.

Every day, I have cried. This grief descends like the death of a love one. I don’t believe I’ll ever move past denial. Instead, I search for clues. Hidden codes. Words of reassurance.

I read and re-read the transcript of Hillary’s farewell to staff. I slept three hours last night. I awoke, groggy and waylaid, found myself here reading it yet again. This passage popped out:

This loss hurts. But please, please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it. It’s always worth it. And we need you keep up these fights now and for the rest of your lives.

“We need you,” not “I need you.”

She is speaking for the leaders of our democracy. She speaks for Barack Obama, our embattled, abused, ever-dignified President. I look again at his eyes – the moment he touched hands with the racist demagogue, man-that-I-hate-with-fury, the idiot tool, Putin’s puppet, slayer of truth, pompous ass, monster of greed, sociopath  – and I see a well of despair.

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If ever I needed a clue, I look in his eyes: they tell it all. Emptiness. Loss. Defeat. They are the eyes of a man who accepts the burden of this country’s future. Those pained eyes speak of more than a loss of legacy. They say: “I fought for you, America. I did my best.” And the rest unsaid. One needs only a grasp of recent history to weigh his pain. One needs only to witness the present to see what is coming.

And Hillary’s words are also meant for me, for you, for every one of us who cheered her on, donated a few bucks, tweeted our loyalty, identified with her, called her our champion, walked door-to-door, phoned and anticipated victory. We are in the millions. And the millions more who said “No,” are included.

Hillary calls us to battle. She knows we are in for the fight of our life.

We must heed that call for the rest of our lives. This unlimited time cropped-boston-globe.pngframe of struggle and its connection with mortality is frightening. Because she is not talking about fighting back during Midterm elections. She is not focusing our gaze on the next presidential election. No, she is alerting us to a lifelong fight.

Perhaps it is semantics. Maybe I am hyper vigilant. But Hillary Clinton chooses her words with deliberateness. And the quiet acceptance of Hillary and Barack adds to my dismay.

I have not spoken of the forces arrayed against her but they form this narrative. Trump is just an old man with personality problems. It is the dark force propelling him, and the hate he unleashed that condemns us to a hellish America – one that requires we fight for the remainder of our lives.

A month ago, I said to a friend: “Hillary is our savior.”

Often, I lean toward what some people call catastrophic thinking. But I do believe this was her role – and now – our savior has left the stage, beaten, insulted, victim of vendetta after vendetta – and we are left drifting.

Who will lead us now?

We will lead ourselves. We are each Hillary Clinton – brave, brilliant and unbowed.

We are in for the fight of our lives.

Let us go forward.

Philadelphia – City of Love

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HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON addressing tens of thousands in Philadelphia on the eve of Election Day.

 

I didn’t complete this post, started on the eve of Election Day. Its original title was “Philly – A Preview. Our President, Soon.” And then the unbelievable happened.

This is why we need history. We need an archive of what our eyes witnessed and our hearts felt. Because it all can be removed, quickly or during the course of a long, painful evening.

Keep fresh in your consciousness how it was – and how it will be. Do not forget. Do not let it go. Do not call it a dream. It was real. It is still a reality. Continue reading “Philadelphia – City of Love”

Lying Numbers or Flawed Polls

Thirty-one polls in Florida.

Twenty-one polls in Michigan.

Twenty-seven polls in North Carolina.

Six polls in Ohio.

These all favored Hillary Clinton. The time frame was over a three-month period, from September up until the night before the election on 7 November.

What happened?

FLORIDA (Early Voting)

  • Clinton 46% – Trump 46% -7 November- Ten polls
  • Clinton 47% – Trump 44% -23 October- Five polls
  • Clinton 47% – Trump 44% -10 October- Six polls
  • Clinton 46% – Trump 44% -30 September- Five polls
  • Clinton 45% – Trump 43% -26 September- Five polls

MICHIGAN (No Early Voting)

  • Clinton 48% – Trump 42% -6 November- Five polls
  • Clinton 48% – Trump 38% -24 October- Five polls
  • Clinton 47% – Trump 40% -6 October- Three polls
  • Clinton 46% – Trump 41% -30 September- Four polls
  • Clinton 45% – Trump 41% -15 September- Four polls

NORTH CAROLINA (Early Voting)

  • Clinton 46% – Trump 46% – 7 November – Ten polls
  • Clinton 48% – Trump 45% -24 October- Six polls
  • Clinton 46% – Trump 43% -10 October- Five polls
  • Clinton 44% – Trump 43% -29 September- Six polls

Ohio (Early Voting)

  • Trump 46% – Clinton 43% -7 November- Seven polls
  • Trump 47% – Clinton 46% -20 October- Six polls
  • Clinton 46% – Trump 45% -9 October- Six polls
  • Trump 44% – Clinton 42% – 26 September- Five polls

Pennsylvania (No Early Voting)

  • Clinton 48% – Trump 44% -7 November- Ten Polls
  • Clinton 48% – Trump 42% -19 October- Five polls
  • Clinton 49% – Trump 40% – 9 October- Five polls
  • Clinton 47% – Trump 43% -29 September- Five polls

 

Thank You from Hillary

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Hillary’s Thank You letter arrived in my inbox a few moments ago. It’s a transcript of her goodbye speech to her campaign staff and to all of us who have fought for her.

I have no words.

 

Thank you.

Last night, I congratulated Donald Trump and offered to work with him on behalf of our country. I hope that he will be a successful president for all Americans.

This is not the outcome we wanted or we worked so hard for, and I’m sorry we did not win this election for the values we share and the vision we hold for our country.

But I feel pride and gratitude for this wonderful campaign that we built together –- this vast, diverse, creative, unruly, energized campaign. You represent the best of America, and being your candidate has been one of the greatest honors of my life.

I know how disappointed you feel, because I feel it too. And so do tens of millions of Americans who invested their hopes and dreams in this effort. This is painful, and it will be for a long time. But I want you to remember this: Our campaign was never about one person or even one election. It was about the country we love — and about building an America that’s hopeful, inclusive, and big-hearted.

We have seen that our nation is more deeply divided than we thought. But I still believe in America –- and I always will. And if you do, too, then we must accept this result -– and then look to the future.

Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.

Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power, and we don’t just respect that, we cherish it. It also enshrines other things –- the rule of law, the principle that we’re all equal in rights and dignity, and the freedom of worship and expression. We respect and cherish these things too — and we must defend them.

And let me add: Our constitutional democracy demands our participation, not just every four years, but all the time. So let’s do all we can to keep advancing the causes and values we all hold dear: making our economy work for everyone, not just those at the top; protecting our country and protecting our planet; and breaking down all the barriers that hold anyone back from achieving their dreams.

We’ve spent a year and a half bringing together millions of people from every corner of our country to say with one voice that we believe that the American Dream is big enough for everyone — for people of all races and religions, for men and women, for immigrants, for LGBT people, and people with disabilities.

Our responsibility as citizens is to keep doing our part to build that better, stronger, fairer America we seek. And I know you will.

I am so grateful to stand with all of you.

I want to thank Tim Kaine and Anne Holton for being our partners on this journey. It gives me great hope and comfort to know that Tim will remain on the front-lines of our democracy, representing Virginia in the Senate.

To Barack and Michelle Obama: Our country owes you an enormous debt of gratitude for your graceful, determined leadership, and so do I.

To Bill, Chelsea, Marc, Charlotte, Aidan, our brothers, and our entire family, my love for you means more than I can ever express.

You crisscrossed this country on my behalf and lifted me up when I needed it most –- even four-month old Aidan traveling with his mom.

I will always be grateful to the creative, talented, dedicated men and women at our headquarters in Brooklyn and across our country who poured their hearts into this campaign. For you veterans, this was a campaign after a campaign — for some of you, this was your first campaign ever. I want each of you to know that you were the best campaign anyone has had.

To all the volunteers, community leaders, activists, and union organizers who knocked on doors, talked to neighbors, posted on Facebook – even in secret or in private: Thank you.

To everyone who sent in contributions as small as $5 and kept us going, thank you.

And to all the young people in particular, I want you to hear this. I’ve spent my entire adult life fighting for what I believe in. I’ve had successes and I’ve had setbacks -– sometimes really painful ones. Many of you are at the beginning of your careers. You will have successes and setbacks, too.

This loss hurts. But please, please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it. It’s always worth it. And we need you keep up these fights now and for the rest of your lives.

To all the women, and especially the young women, who put their faith in this campaign and in me, I want you to know that nothing has made me prouder than to be your champion.

I know that we still have not shattered that highest glass ceiling. But some day someone will -– hopefully sooner than we might think right now.

And to all the little girls watching right now, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world.

Finally, I am grateful to our country for all it has given me.

I count my blessings every day that I am an American. And I still believe, as deeply as I ever have, that if we stand together and work together, with respect for our differences, strength in our convictions, and love for this nation -– our best days are still ahead of us.

You know I believe we are stronger together and will go forward together. And you should never be sorry that you fought for that.

Scripture tells us: “Let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season, we shall reap, if we do not lose heart.”

My friends, let us have faith in each other. Let us not grow weary. Let us not lose heart. For there are more seasons to come and there is more work to do.

I am incredibly honored and grateful to have had this chance to represent all of you in this consequential election. May God bless you and god bless the United States of America.

Hillary