On the EDge: Next time, take the candidates seriously

Image courtesy of popvinylworld.com, St. George Nes

OPINION – If you count yourself among the many who were shocked when Donald Trump won the election, you just weren’t paying attention.

From the time Trump announced his candidacy, many thought it was a joke, a stroke of his ego, that all he was doing was looking for attention, so much so that The Huffington Post, a liberal newszine, relegated coverage of his campaign to the entertainment section.

It was a stupid mistake, so much so that you can bet that if, indeed, Kanye West follows through with his threat to run in 2020 he will be taken seriously.

Liberace, perhaps the greatest showman of the 20th century – certainly the highest paid – would respond to his fiercest critics with the simple line: “My brother George and I laughed all the way to the bank.” Donald Trump, today, is laughing all the way to the Oval Office.

Guys like Trump may be a lot of things, but don’t ever give them the position of the underdog because they will, as we saw a week ago, turn it to their advantage.

So the most important thing Democrats can take from this election, if they are paying attention, is the hard-learned lesson that you should always respect your opponent.

Whether you think of Trump in the nastiest of terms or are one of those who bought into his schtick, he was always in it to win it.

While it is impossible to determine where the Trump administration will finally land – he has already backtracked on a number of campaign promises – one thing is certain: we are on the threshold of some interesting times.

Perhaps the most telling result of this election seems to be the rebirth of political activism.

We saw it from the right of course, during the campaign.

We saw it from the left as young people flocked to Bernie Sanders.

We have seen it in the aftermath of the election with the demonstrations and protests that revive flashbacks from the ‘60s.

While I’m not quite at the place where I think we can officially claim the rebirth of the hippies, I think we are pretty darned close.

We were, back then, a passionate segment of a very dissonant culture.

There was no middle ground, no compromise, no watering down of philosophy. You were either on the left or the right, as Hubert Humphrey, the moderate candidate for the Democrats, so surprisingly learned when he was defeated by Richard Nixon by less than 1 percent of the vote.

It was that 1968 election when the seeds of Republican radicalism were sown, which led to the landslide Nixon win over George McGovern and the ultimate Republican coup of the Ronald Reagan years. The Democrats, embarrassed by all of this – including the improbable candidacy of Michael Dukakis, who was stomped by George H.W. Bush – were forced to the center and had an eight-year run by Bill Clinton. Republicans were forced to go mainstream with, first, John McCain, who was thought to be a shoo-in against the first black man to ever run for president, then Mitt Romney, who they thought would be more “presidential,” only to fail again to the moderate Barack Obama.

When a lackluster band of Republican hopefuls assembled this year, the only one who stood out was Trump, with his brash, often crude, language and inflammatory ideology.

The Democrats, meanwhile, went centrist again and, even though she continues to build a mounting lead in the popular vote as the final ballots are counted, Hillary Clinton finds herself sitting at home instead of appointing cabinet members and preparing to take the oath of office.

It is highly probable that the core of those taking to the streets today are the progressives who stood with Sanders through an apoplectic Democratic primary. And even though, to some, hindsight might lead them to believe Sanders could have been a more formidable candidate, we’ll never really know. Personally, I doubt it.

Still, I am encouraged by the passion of the demonstrations.

It means that all was not lost in this election, that the liberal wing of the Democratic Party did not go quietly into that dark, good night, that it retains some principle instead of simply folding its hand.

Thus, may the protests and demonstrations continue, for they are a vital part of our process; an integral element of democracy, which isn’t always neat and tidy.

Yes, we are forced, as believers in our system, to accept the fact that Donald Trump has won the presidency.

But, that doesn’t mean we roll over and play dead, that we join in lockstep with the Trump minions and forsake that which we hold dear to our hearts.

Yes, Donald Trump was the declared winner in a system that can use some fine tuning – like the elimination of the Electoral College, which served no purpose except to prolong the horror of slavery.

Yes, it was Donald Trump who refused to commit to accepting the results on election night until he saw them first. I don’t like the results, but I accept them. It’s our process and to deny it is to deny the foundation of our liberty, our nation.

Yes, Donald Trump will be the one, barring some truly unprecedented and unforeseen development, placing his hand on The Bible and taking the Oath of Office on Jan. 20, 2017.

But Donald Trump must realize that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by more than 750,000 ballots at this point of the count and that he does not have a mandate and that the same people who put him into office can just as surely take him out.

Look, the bottom line is that the United States has been blessed with good presidents and endured some extremely bad ones.

How we fare with Donald Trump is still anybody’s guess.

My gut, however, tells me he’ll be lucky if he lasts a full term.

Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews, @EdKociela

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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  • BIG GUY November 15, 2016 at 8:28 am

    Ed, Hilary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren are the only three people in the country who would refer to “the moderate Barack Obama.” Obama was and is the most stridently and uncompromisingly far left president the country ever had.

    Encouraging further protesting and lawless rioting as “a vital part of our process; an integral element of democracy, which isn’t always neat and tidy” is irresponsible and a measure of Ed’s justifying these means to reach his ends. How would he react if Hilary had won and Republicans were rioting?

    And if anyone had said of Obama as Ed says of Trump, “he’ll be lucky if he lasts a full term,” he/she would be immediately descended upon by the Secret Service as threatening assassination.

    I’ll take Republican’s ever-growing majorities in governors and state legislatures as a measure of the public mood. I’ll take Hilary’s popular vote margin as reflecting the main stream media’s blatant disparagement of Trump and its corrosive impact on big city politics.

    Take off your helplessly partisan glasses, Ed.

    • Bob November 15, 2016 at 11:03 am

      if u put aside obama’s social policies (like mainstreaming of homosexuality, transsexualism etc etc) he is as hardcore globalist as any neocon or republican. the already massive zionist banks that caused the ’08 crash have only become larger and more powerful in obamas term. the secrecy in gov’t, massive domestic surveilance, loss of rights, etc etc by obama’s admin is just a continuation of Bush II. It’ll surprise me if a trump admin. breaks the trend of loss of freedoms and an expanded globalist agenda.

      • .... November 15, 2016 at 8:22 pm

        LOL ! is this going to effect to your next conspiracy theory. ? ha ha ha ha ha

  • Paul November 15, 2016 at 8:30 am

    Spoken like the true socialist you’ve always sold yourself as. What a bunch of verbal diarrhea. When you moving to Canada? Oh wait… you already live in Mexico. I forgot.

  • wilbur November 15, 2016 at 9:31 am

    “Still, I am encouraged by the passion of the demonstrations.”

    The rioting, arson, traffic-hindering, vandalism parts as well Ed?

    (Good thing you have a safe space in Mexico. At least the have universal voter i.d.)

    • DB November 15, 2016 at 4:01 pm

      Good point. We’ll never know, but I wonder how many of these “protesters” voted, or even registered?

      • .... November 15, 2016 at 8:25 pm

        I doubt most of them even know how to read much less write. so much for registering or voting eh ?

  • Craig November 15, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    The failure of the establishment and you was not that you did not take Trump seriously, it’s that you didn’t care or understand how we the people were being treated.

    Violence is not protecting; its criminal.

    I think we should hold him accountable, but you might consider at least allowing him to take the oath of office before dismissing him as a failure.

    We wanted an outsider; you wanted an insider.

    You wanted a Democrat on the socialist/fascist extreme; we wanted neither Democrat or Republican, rather an outsider.

    You are hoping Trump will fail. That’s sad especially since you are on the plane you hope he crashes.

  • Henry November 15, 2016 at 2:06 pm

    Kudos to the above commenters for their analysis of Ed’s cringe-worthy comments.

    Ed, you certainly are correct that “the liberal wing of the Democratic Party did not go quietly into that cold, good night…” Rather, they seem to be taking over the leadership of the party. Rep Keith Ellison, with one of Congress’ most far left voting records, is the leading candidate to become DNC head, with endorsements from Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Chuck Schummer. It’s as if the Democrats, after their 2016 election crash, are intent upon driving Thelma-and-Louise style off the political cliff. Hope your wish comes true, Ed!

  • 42214 November 15, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    Ed, I’m guilty of stereotyping and profiling but every instinct I have tells me you’re a whimp and would soil himself if faced with a life or death confrontation.

    • .... November 16, 2016 at 8:32 am

      If that happened to Dumbob his special huggy wuggy friend RealLowlife would come to his rescue. RealLowlife don’t like people commenting on his ( special ) little buddy lol !

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