One week ago today – Election Day – and my socials were blowing up with Trump supporters calling for the abolition of the Electoral College. This was of course prior to the result being known, when there was a suspicion that Trump might win the popular vote but lose the White House to Clinton because of the Electoral College. That would have been ‘unfair’, and further proof of the system being ‘rigged’ against Trump.
Since then, predictably, their tune has changed, and I’ve seen several posts lauding the Founding Fathers for their foresight and wisdom in creating the Electoral College. Holy hashtag hypocrisy Batman!
Hypocrisy though has no party affiliation, and I’ve no doubt that many Democrats are just as prone to such foibles. Tow-the-line partisans are forced to ignore, deny or swallow any number of contradictions in the course of a campaign – or lifetime for that matter – which is one of the reasons I’ve never self-identified with any political party.
Ignoring (for now) the logic (or lack there of) for the Electoral College, I’m much more concerned about the narrative of Trump’s ‘overwhelming mandate’ being promoted by his supporters and media allies. In fact, I was quite surprised to see the above graphic posted on the Fox News Twitter feed, because it so obviously contradicts the ‘overwhelming mandate’ narrative which they are actively pushing.
And yet, despite the black and white facts to the contrary, the narrative persists.
Fact: More people voted for Clinton than for Trump.
Fact: Including third party candidates and write-in votes (oh Harambe, you sly dead devil you) millions more people voted against Trump than for him.
Fact: Trump received fewer votes that Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee and runner-up.
Fact: Facts don’t matter anymore.
To be clear, I’m not suggesting that Clinton was anything other than a profoundly unpopular and flawed candidate. Her vote total was indeed far below that of Obama’s in 2012. That, you see, is another fact. It’s debatable whether she deserves the level of derision, mistrust and outright hatred foisted upon her, based as much of it is on deep-seated ideological divisions and straight up misogyny, but it exists nonetheless and has contributed to Trump’s unfortunate ascendency.
What also exists is an intellectual void within the right wing of American (and international) politics, a parallel universe of sorts where reality and all supporting facts mean absolutely nothing. This is a (6,000 year old?) world where anthropogenic climate change is a Chinese hoax (it’s not), grabbing a woman’s pussy without consent isn’t sexual assault (it is), crime is rampant (overall crime rates in the U.S. have been declining for decades), illegal immigrants are pouring across our southern border (nope, the numbers are going down), Christians are the most persecuted group in America (yeah, check the phone book under “churches”), and villainous doctors are stabbing babies to death as they make their way through the birth canal (uh, no).
But as I said, the facts don’t matter. All that matters now is what you feel to be right, rather than what is true. Fox News and the right wing echo chamber feel that Trump has a mandate for sweeping conservative change. And by sweeping I mean Biblically apocalyptic and barbaric conservative change.
They are wrong. Not because I say so, and certainly not because that’s how I feel, but because the facts say otherwise. The facts say we are a divided people. The facts also say that many who voted for Trump don’t support – or even know about – particular aspects of his extreme agenda. The facts – and many, many a video clip or audio recording – say that a lot of Trump voters do support his extreme agenda, or worse still.
The only mandate to come from this election is for ‘change’. What are we to change to? What are we even changing from? All is unclear, muddled as the notion is in the minds of those who inhabit a world free from the burden of facts, but my prediction – based on the facts of historical precedent and human nature – is we’ll soon tear ourselves asunder trying to figure it out.
I feel like such sentiment is an unpopular truth, but one which needs to be told.