The Clinton Catastrophe & The Trump Tragedy
With the 2016 election ready to be forgotten in the recesses of history, now more than ever it’s important to raise it from the grave that society is burying it in and look at those two party’s political skeletons and the whole reprehensible political body they have created.
On the Republican Party’s end, the only candidate throughout the entirety of the campaign to receive a significant portion of media coverage (good or bad) was Donald Trump. As every other Republican candidate withdrew from the race, they faded to the background relatively quickly. Regardless of potential policy (or lack thereof) Trump was constantly being quoted, mocked, criticized and apparently being well received
On the Democratic Party’s end, however, there were two primary potential candidates battling it out: Bernie Sanders (whose popularity was primarily limited to social media) and Hillary Clinton (whose popularity was primarily limited to televised media).
Trump and Sanders set themselves apart from Clinton in one respect: they represented a change from the current system. Donald Trump, however, incited a return to the past through his campaign slogan: “Make America Great Again.” Even when it seemed Republican leadership was attempting to dismantle Trump’s chances of success, no candidate managed to be capable of undoing the damage they set in motion.
Sander’s, on the other hand, offered a progressive movement forward in his slogan, “A Political Revolution Is Coming,” along with his more iconic, “Feel the Bern” rally. Sander’s stance was much more socialist than the Democratic Party has ever publicly stood for (at least since FDR); and although the Democratic Party is liberal, it is still interested in capitalistic affairs – not socialist ones. They had a representative in mind that would keep the system in check, Hillary Clinton.
Clinton represented a different form of progress, but not one that would bring about a fundamental shift in the (capitalist) system. She represented, perhaps similarly to what previous President Barack Obama represented – a social shift rather than a systematic shift.
This is not a jab at either Obama’s or Clinton’s ability (or potential inability) to lead; but is an observation of how society viewed them – along with the social change that occurred because of their introduction into the sphere of the presidency. President Obama, for example, was the first African-American President; and during his campaign, it was a highly discussed and phenomenal realization of how far America had progressed.
progressed. Hillary Clinton’s slogan, “I’m with her,” exemplifies the very same thing; and although I will never dispute that women are capable of leading, (or an African-American, just to reiterate) the rationale for leadership in Clinton’s case was gender based. Her other slogans simply exemplified the continuing push of social order, that we are “Stronger Together” and that she was “Fighting for us.”
Social shifts in policy, however, although for pushed insurance of genuine equality, do not change the system itself because the system was never the goal. Democrats, in recent years, have a tendency to take steps forwards off of what Republicans have given them and keep ensuring that small gradual steps are being taken if they keep office (with the exception of Sander’s potential radicalism). These steps are often people based, not system based. It’s fixing a symptom not the cause – or rather, the problem.
This results, unfortunately, in a more social change than a systematic change when Democrats hold power, meaning, a degree of stagnancy. Meanwhile, Republican argumentation is system based, but ignores the whole of what makes American society, resulting in perceived profit orientation and traditionalism rather than social liberties.
Donald Trump’s arguments revolved around what’s wrong with the system, but so were Sander’s. The difference is, Trump argued for the easier path: let’s go backwards to a (supposedly) more prosperous time – but at the expense of social progress.
Hillary Clinton’s arguments revolved around what’s correct with the system, but not so much on how it can be genuinely changed to be better. Just keep keeping, so to speak. Socially there may have been progression, but at the expense of a stagnancy and societal unrest.
Sander’s arguments were about changing the system to something it has never been before – a much more difficult path, which would have resulted in a fundamental change both politically and for society.
All in all, however, we have, as a whole, learned that the blame game trumps a system that no one believes in; and that making an actual change to the system is far more easily achieved by erasing the last four to eight years than potentially paving a new direction of four to eight years.
So instead of a continued progress we are met with a continued catastrophe or tragedy: four to eight steps in a slanted direction, though not forward enough because then society chooses to take four to eight more back. Either way, we’re just walking in a circle.