Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Bernie Voters & the Sanjay Effect

"We are going to make America great again."

The election results of 2016 were unexpected by pollsters, analysts, and most talking heads.  Republican voters rallied around their nominee in big numbers in Florida, Ohio, and Michigan.  Who were they and what was their motive?  How did fundamentalists Christians support a self-admitted p**** grabber?  Is the Sanjay-effect a measurable political force?  When Secretary Hillary Clinton did not name Bernie Sanders as her running mate, did she seal her electoral fate?

Sanjaya Malakar was a contestant on a television show called American Idol who was propelled past his talent level into the finals by a following, set upon destroying the show's credibility.  Well known shock-jock Howard Stern actively encouraged millions of listeners to hijack the faux election and support the worst candidate.  These malcontents are a wandering bunch who attack institutions they perceive as non-democratic.  Portions of this same group named a boat in Europe "Boaty McBoatface." When some people witness opportunities to disrupt voting systems, social networks provide them the opportunity to band together with others to pose as a strike-back force.

Bernie Sanders voters were commonly heard as expressing sentiments of the disenfranchised.  Many claimed that they'd rather vote Trump, or stay home, than vote for Secretary Clinton.  The Secretary did not choose Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, or anyone that these voters could rally behind.  The electoral results were dramatic and overwhelming.

President-elect Trump was supported by a vast number of people who wanted an outsider, a business person, a non-politician who was going to 'mix things up!'  These supporters united behind a populous message, and saw this candidate as a cruise missile to our democratic system.  Fundamentalists Christians likely found themselves voting straight party ticket, rather than for person who looked at a 10-year old and said, "I'll be dating her in ten years."  However, the result was the same.

Democrats missed the opportunity to unite the disenfranchised when the Democratic nominee left Bernie voters without a viable option.  That said, this was a 'republic' result, not a 'democratic' one.  Secretary Clinton won the popular vote.  The electoral college is a relic of age long since past, and should either be employed now, today, more than ever, or abolished.  President-elect Trump said, "these elections are rigged, and that this electoral college system is bad for democracy."  I could not agree more.  Social media has given candidates direct access to their voters.  No longer are candidates required to hold public rallies.  They can tweet at 3 am and reach millions of potential voters across congressional and state lines.

The protests erupting nationwide over these election result lead me to wonder, what might have happened had those people been this active before the election?  These results, however un-democratic, came after a contest we all agreed to take part in, knowing full well that a majority of Americans might not get their way.  These protests would serve us all best, if they focused of amending our election laws to insure this will never happen again.

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