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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