As always, The Simpsons predicted the future.
In a season 9 episode called Trash of the Titans, Homer runs for sanitation commissioner against career civil servant Ray Patterson, voiced by Steve Martin. At one point, Homer gets into a shouting match with Patterson, and threatens to run for commissioner.
“Wanna know what I think?” Homer says.
“No!” Patterson says. “Nobody wants to hear the nonsensical ravings of a loudmouthed malcontent!”
“Oh! Well, we’ll see about that!” says Trump … sorry, Homer,.
The loudmouth malcontent wins the election, and promptly ruins the sanitation department thanks to his crazy, unworkable promises.
Well, America, you were warned.
Donald Trump, loudmouthed malcontent with crazy, unworkable ideas, is the president-elect of the United States. Donald J. Trump. Yep, that just happened.
The Republican Party offered up to the voters of the United States a presidential candidate who was a bullying, crude, rude, lying, sexist, racist, foul mouthed, cheating serial sexual abuser who had zero experience in government and made promises that he will not be able to keep because he has no way of implementing any of them … and 60,071,650 people said, “Sure, why not?”
There is little doubt that Donald Trump is the worst candidate ever offered up for the presidency. He is not, in any way shape or form, qualified to be president. But that didn’t matter.
There are almost as many reasons why Donald Trump won as there were votes cast in his favour. But I think it comes down to fault lines.
Every country has fault lines that run through their society. Here in Canada, we have the English-French fault line, and to a lesser extent the East-West fault line. The United States, being the biggest and best at being the biggest and best, has more fault lines than any other country not currently ripped apart by a civil war. And every one of those fault lines came into play in one, single election.
There is the white vs. black line. There is the male vs. female fault line. There is the rich vs. poor fault line. There is the east and west coast elites vs. Middle America fault line. There is the educated vs. non-educated fault line. There is the born in the U.S.A vs. immigrant fault line. There is the north vs. south fault line. There is the age vs. youth fault line. There is the Democrat vs. Republican fault line. There is the left vs. right fault line.
In some elections, one or two of those fault lines emerges. In this one, they ALL broke open. The completely different world views of the two candidates allowed millions of Americans to pick and choose their bias. What worked in Trump’s favour, in my view, is that his constituency is angrier than Clinton’s constituency, and angry people vote.
Nearly 60 million Americans are so disgusted by their politicians, so hateful of their government, so distrustful, so flat out enraged, that they ignored the multiple, egregious and disqualifying qualities of Donald Trump and voted for him anyway.
As politicians always like to say, God bless America. She’ll need it.
Where were the voters?
At last count, 56.9% of eligible American voters turned out on Tuesday (in our election last year, 68% turned out). If you can’t get at least 60% of eligible voters to turn out for the most consequential election in living memory, then your democracy is badly, badly broken.
Fewer than half of those who voted went for Trump, which means Donald Trump got just 27 per cent of voters. Trump, incredibly, got fewer votes than Mitt Romney and fewer votes than John McCain. Hillary Clinton lost black voters, Latino voters, and didn’t wrap up women voters in anywhere near the numbers they expected.
Tone deaf companies
I am often amazed at how stupid big companies can be some time. Two examples this week involved Remembrance Day.
First, Air Canada, the national carrier, told its staff not to wear poppies for Remembrance Day because it clashed with their uniforms. There was an immediate, furious backlash, and Air Canada backed down. Locally, West Edmonton Mall was going to open at 10 a.m. on Remembrance Day until a TV newscast about the opening caused, yet, a backlash. The mall opened at noon instead.
Seriously, how stupid are these people? You know that doing anything to insult veterans, Remembrance Day, poppies, the Legion, etc. is going to create outrage. How could they be this tone deaf to potential public reaction? Dumb, dumb, dumb.
Leonard Cohen, 82, the legendary Canadian singer, songwriter and poet. Along with Prince and David Bowie and so many others, another addition to the role call of death in 2016 … Leon Russell, 74, the “musicians musician” … Dawn Coe-Jones, 56, Canadian pro golfer and member of the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame … Lupita Tovar, 106, who appeared in the Spanish language version of Dracula in 1931, which was filmed at night on the same set as the English-language version starring Bela Lugosi … Robert Vaughn, 83, the classy actor who starred as Napoleon Solo in the old TV series, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. … Frank Kelly, 77, who played the quite disgusting Father Jack in the great British comedy show, Father Ted (he actually died back in February, but I missed it, and I love Father Ted).