There is a privilege and naivety for some to say they’re shocked by last night’s results. Is it really so surprising that after the U.S. sees its first African-American President, white fear manages to put a brazen xenophobe like Trump in office?
We’re talking about a country that still needs a movement that validates the lives of African-Americans and where that movement has been met with white disdain.
A country in which Martin Luther King, Jr.–the person who made the most impact on convincing this nation that people of color are, above all, people– would have turned 87 this year. That is the brief trajectory of civil rights in this country.
It’s no coincidence that MLK was assassinated right before his working class movement could surge. Nor that this election saw youth, women, and people of color rallying behind a champion of the working class, Bernie Sanders. The only candidate capable of beating anti-establishment, divisive Trump was anti-establishment, unifying Bernie. But the DNC made sure he lost and HRC supporters complacently followed.
Clinton was the wrong candidate, and that’s part of how we got here.
But if putting an anti-establishment hero in office was the sole impetus, then citizens would have voted third party. Instead, they put a racist, sexist, inexperienced pathological liar as the leader of the “free world.”
Even so, if Hillary would have won, it would have appeased the masses and continued the bubble of a two-party system and a Democratic Party that, despite its false rhetoric, continues to prioritize profit over people. While everyone would be deliriously celebrating a woman in office like they did when the first African-American became President, they would not question what kind of woman would be able to get elected in the current system that exists. Activists would continue to struggle to convince people of the racism and classism underlying Democratic policies.
Trump throws the backwardness of this country out in the open. His supporters are the uncomfortable truth. And it is easier to fight an enemy that is unmasked.
Last night was a reminder of how much work we still have to do. And while some are relying too heavily on blaming the Electoral College, the problem runs far deeper. After all, only 9% of the U.S. chose these two candidates as the nominees. In the general election, only half of eligible voters bothered showing up. That means only 25% of voters put Trump in power–after shooing away sexual assault allegations and a KKK endorsement.
Donald Trump is in power not because he was underestimated. He is in power because U.S. citizens were woefully overestimated.
[Feature image via Flickr/Creative Commons]