By Mike Rosso
So, that went well…
I’ve voted in every presidential election since Jimmy Carter’s election in 1976 and have never witnessed anything like this year’s.
First you have a candidate who, under normal circumstances, would have been disqualified for any number of things he said or tweeted while on the campaign trail. We then discovered that agents of the Russian government attempted to influence the outcome by selectively leaking hacked documents to harm the Democratic candidate.
The candidate who was clearly leading in the polls throughout the election, and who easily defeated her opponent in all three televised debates, still ended up losing the Electoral College and thus the presidency.
A week before the election, the head of the FBI leaked a story to the press with potentially devastating consequences for the Democrat, then timidly walked it back just days before the election.
Many notable right-wing columnists such as George Will and Charles Krauthammer refused to endorse the Republican candidate, and the conservative National Review magazine published a special issue in January featuring essays by 22 prominent conservatives opposed to the candidacy of the now president-elect.
Newspapers across the country either rejected his candidacy or supported his opponent. Conservative papers such as the Cincinnati Enquirer and The Arizona Republic broke with long-standing tradition to endorse the Democrat. Locally, even the right-leaning editor of the Salida newspaper refused to endorse him.
Does this mean that, going forward, polls, pundits, endorsements and debates are worthless? Has the presidential election now become a reality TV show, with the losers being voted off the island or worse, indicted?
There are many theories as to the election results: white working-class angst, a rebuttal to the status quo, James Comey, to name a few. But I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that sexism played a large part as well. Hillary or not, a large percentage of the electorate, men and women, were just not ready for a female president, choosing instead a misogynistic, unfiltered trust-fund baby, who never held a public office in his life.
I’m reminded of the 1991 film, Thelma & Louise, particularly the ending, where, cornered by the authorities on the edge of the Grand Canyon, Louise decides to gun it, driving them both over the abyss and into the canyon. Only in this version, Thelma represents the 50 percent of the electorate who did not vote for the Republican, and who truly do not want to be driven off a cliff.
Locally, Chaffee County had an unusual race. A Democrat and an Independent will become the new commissioners, joining one who changed his affiliation from Republican to Unaffiliated earlier this year. This actually reflects voting patterns statewide as “unaffiliated” voters now make up the largest number of registered voters. Overall, Chaffee County went for the Republican presidential candidate, but not by much, and Colorado itself went blue.
But soon we will have an executive authority who has little regard for the press and the freedom of speech, and it is more important than ever to support independent media. Please see page 23 to see how you can help us to keep it alive in the uncertain days ahead.