This column is directed at a specific sect of Democrats and anti-Trumpists, not Trump-supporters. Obviously, Trump-backers don’t want a recount – their guy won. If Clinton had won the Electoral vote, I, too, would be against a recount, no matter the circumstances, so their resistance to protests and re-tabulation attempts make sense to me. Yet, it isn’t that Democratic opposition to recount bids, or to faithless electors, confounds me. Quite the opposite: this liberal lack of backbone is all too predictable.
Al Gore conceded in 2000 when the Supreme Court stopped the recount . He didn’t have to. He could have kept fighting. He could have demanded the recount be completed in Florida state courts, following a course that may have led him and George W. Bush to Congress to decide the President, something that only Rutherford Hayes and Samuel Tilden have done in the nation’s history, way back in 1876. But Gore let it go. The American people were hurting too much to continue this course, the story went. So Gore stepped aside.
Eight years later, Bush had used the keys the Supreme Court and the Electoral College handed to him to thoroughly total the car, driving the country straight into the Great Recession, cutting taxes for the wealthiest citizens and furthering income inequality , designing a massive surveillance state and involving the military in a foreign war that unnecessarily killed hundreds of thousands of people.
One would think that after this debacle Democrats would have learned to battle for every political inch, like Republicans do. (Governance is for The Greater Good, remember?) Why do liberals value propriety over the genuine belief that they can lead the country toward a more moral government that keeps peace with foreign powers, helps lift the poorest among us out of poverty and provides opportunity for all even if they aren’t straight-white-fortunate-Senator’s-sons? I don’t know the answer. It’s the same syndrome that haunts President Obama, who refuses to put Merrick Garland on the Supreme Court despite a disgusting display of Republican obstructionism and even though it is legally possible for him to do so. There is nearly no chance Obama does this. Perhaps he thinks such a maneuver would be un-presidential, as it would break with longstanding tradition.
This attitude is why Republicans are winners and Democrats are losers. The Republican Party broke the government by making filibusters seem like standard operating procedure when the rule used to only be deployed in extreme circumstances. The Republican Party controlled the government and invented their own rules by redistricting states before the usual ten year waiting period and by threatening not to pass the debt limit and almost defaulting the economy (which they were then rewarded for, gaining concessions from the ever-so-safe Democrats). Republicans determined important positions by denying the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau a director. Republicans ignored decorum, trying their hand at foreign policy when, historically, that has been the President’s purview.
Republicans do not give a F**K. Us Democrats need to be more like them.
This brings me to Hillary Clinton. I don’t love the woman, I voted for Bernie Sanders, but everything she isn’t makes her everything she is. She isn’t a misogynistic pig, or someone who rose to office by playing on racial fear/hatred, or someone who promised to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants, or someone who floated the idea of a Muslim registry, or someone who makes fun of disabled people, or someone who has been sued over 2,000 times, or someone who has no grasp on policy whatsoever. She’s just someone who has wanted to be president for a very, very long time.
And you know what? She should have been. When will Clinton voters stand up and scream like Gore voters should have in 2000: “We won the popular vote by more than two million! Do we not live in a democracy? Someone’s vote in Montana should NOT matter more than someone’s vote in California!” Again, I don’t know the answer. It mystifies me that people who have supported Clinton since the primaries are the same people who are so depressingly defeated, who say, “Come on, it’s over” when Donald the despot is on the doorstep.
One key person hasn’t given up, though – Clinton herself.
Clinton’s campaign will partake in possible battleground state recounts . This is unlikely to change the results, but Democrats should be leading the bandwagon for initiatives like this. We should be trying to get rid of the Electoral College, a provision in the Constitution written in by the founders, the same founders who thought black people should count for three-fifths of one whole person when accounting for legislative representation, the same founders who didn’t allow women to vote at all. We should be lobbying for President Obama to put Merrick Garland on the Supreme Court as one last “screw you” to Republicans who blocked an unprecedented amount of his appointees. We should be clamoring for Obama to end the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, since Trump sure as hell won’t do it. Democrats in the House and the Senate should pursue every possible avenue of impeachment and inquiry into the President-elect, as Trump’s business ties are in direct conflict of interest with his impending governmental station. Block every bill that purports to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, that mentions school vouchers, that mandates tax cuts for the wealthy, that details the building of a pointless, costly wall on the Mexican/American border; vociferously reject any piece of legislation that is racist, sexist or homophobic in nature. Put simply: Respond. In. Kind.
Given the situation, it’s time Democrats ask themselves, “What would Republicans do?”
Sten Spinella is a senior staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.