Smart Ideas: Reclaiming the Democratic Party; Trump Victory Far From a Mandate

AP Photo/Matt Rourke
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Nov. 29, 2016, 8 p.m.

The Left is now free of the Clintons' "Third Way"

Hazem Salem, writ­ing for The Guard­i­an

West­ern demo­cra­cies have ten­ded to co­alesce in­to two parties: one that speaks for the work­ing classes and one that speaks for busi­ness in­terests. That ended in the 1990s, with the elec­tion of Bill Clin­ton, whose “New Demo­crat” policies co­opted much of the Re­pub­lic­ans’ agenda—free trade, out­sourcing of jobs, and con­sol­id­a­tion in the fin­an­cial-ser­vices in­dustry. Since these policies helped give rise to Don­ald Trump, “our cul­tur­al elite, most of it aligned with the New Demo­crats, [must] not be al­lowed to shirk their re­spons­ib­il­ity for Trump’s suc­cess.” They’ll try to blame “ra­cism, sex­ism—and FBI dir­ect­or [James] Comey.” Don’t be­lieve them. “So here is our sil­ver lin­ing. This is a re­volu­tion­ary mo­ment. We must not al­low them to shift the blame on to voters. This is their fail­ure, dec­ades in the mak­ing. And their fail­ure is our chance to re­group. To clean house in the Demo­crat­ic party, to re­tire the old elite and to em­power a new gen­er­a­tion of FDR Demo­crats, who look out for the work­ing class—the whole work­ing class.”

Electoral College win was no blowout

Nate Sil­ver, writ­ing for Fiv­eThirtyEight

Fol­low­ing the cer­ti­fic­a­tion of elec­tion res­ults in Michigan, Don­ald Trump has 306 elect­or­al votes, more than George W. Bush re­ceived in either of his elec­tions and the most any Re­pub­lic­an has re­ceived since 1988. On Monday, Trump’s cam­paign man­ager Kel­ly­anne Con­way tweeted, “306. Land­slide. Blo­wout. His­tor­ic.” But his­tor­ic­ally, “Trump’s Elect­or­al Col­lege per­form­ance is de­cidedly be­low-av­er­age.” There have been 54 pres­id­en­tial elec­tions since the Twelfth Amend­ment was rat­i­fied, and Trump’s per­cent­age of the elect­or­al vote ranks him in the bot­tom quarter. So, while he did win, his vic­tory was by no means a “blo­wout.”

Kellyanne Conway AP Photo

Trump will be unable to avoid conflicts

Abi­gail Tracy, writ­ing for Van­ity Fair

Dur­ing his cam­paign, Don­ald Trump prom­ised to dis­tance him­self from his busi­ness in­terests, but “Trump has already be­gun to blur the lines between his busi­ness in­terests and the of­fice of the pres­id­ency, lead­ing to the po­ten­tial for many, many con­flicts.” While Trump’s fail­ure to re­lease his tax re­turns has min­im­ized our know­ledge of his con­flicts, re­port­ing has shown that Trump has busi­ness in­terests in at least 20 coun­tries, many of which he is likely to re­mem­ber upon tak­ing of­fice. Trump’s re­sponse? “The pres­id­ent can­not have a con­flict of in­terest.”

Trump's own comments warrant a recount

Max de Haldevang, writ­ing for Quartz

As Jill Stein trig­gers re­counts in Michigan and Pennsylvania, the man “elec­ted pres­id­ent of the world’s most vaunted demo­cracy is as­sert­ing that his coun­try’s demo­cracy is a sham.” Don­ald Trump’s Sunday af­ter­noon “tweet­storm” claim­ing that mil­lions voted il­leg­ally seems to dis­cred­it “his own elect­or­al col­lege vic­tory and, more im­port­antly, the en­tire Amer­ic­an demo­crat­ic elect­or­al sys­tem.” While there is no evid­ence, his as­ser­tion war­rants the re­count he has spent days rail­ing against. Trump spent months of his cam­paign seek­ing to in­val­id­ate the Amer­ic­an elect­or­al sys­tem, likely un­der the as­sump­tion that it would vote against him. However, his base­less claims haven’t stopped even after his vic­tory. While it is “un­likely that re­counts would re­veal even dozens, let alone mil­lions, of fraud­u­lent votes,” a broad one ought to be car­ried out to “teach Trump that, as pres­id­ent, what he says has ac­tu­al con­sequences.”

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