What Happened and Moving On from the 2016 U.S. Election

You may have noticed that I’ve written quite a few blog posts about the 2016 U.S. Election and the presidency of Donald Trump. I even wrote about the fact that I write about Trump so much, after a friend commented on the fact that all of my posts seemed to be centering around American politics. In that post, I concluded that I would keep writing about Trump because his actions, words and policies have serious impact on the world. I’ve continued doing this; but it’s not just the current political climate that I find myself writing about. I keep coming back to the election.

The 2016 Presidential election was the first time when I truly felt engaged in politics. Some of the campaigning period overlapped with that of the Canadian election, so the combination of both really sparked my interest. Although I wasn’t old enough to vote at the time, I began to consider which candidate I agreed with most and which policy issues I felt most strongly about.

After a few years of continually asking my dad to explain the Electoral College to me, I finally understood it enough to be the one to answer my friends’ questions. I devoured articles about the primaries and brought up politics every chance I could. I was fascinated, and so excited to finally feel like I had a good grasp on what was happening in the political sphere around me.

I think though, more than this, I felt a connection with Hillary Clinton. I don’t ever remember a specific moment where I realized I identified with her, other than watching her speeches and realizing how intelligent and qualified she was. I admired her for being a strong woman in an area dominated by men; in some leadership positions I’d held in high school, I was among the few females represented. Mind you, I didn’t experience what Clinton did—rampant sexism and blatant misogyny—but regardless, I developed an appreciation for her leadership.

The day after Trump won, I wrote about the bewildering, blistering reality of watching Clinton’s concession speech. It was sometime in those days afterwards, when the smoke was clearing but the headlines were still confounding and conflicting, that I turned on Twitter notifications so that I got updates every time Clinton tweeted. I still have them turned on; it’s not often that a tweet pops up, but when it does, I smile because I remember her campaign and what she fought for.

You can probably assume, based on all of this, that I was thrilled when Clinton announced she’d be releasing a book. I had already read Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign, which contextualized many of the articles I’d read about Clinton’s loss and helped better shape my understanding of the election. Now, as I type this, What Happened, Clinton’s account of the 2016 election, sits on my bedside table. I’m not very far into it (and you can surely expect a post about my thoughts when I’m done), but so far I’m really enjoying it. I’ve written and read a lot about the election, as I’ve established; but I still jump at opportunities to learn more and think more about it.

It seems that I’m not alone in this curiousity. Quoting a tweet that says that Clinton’s book has sold the most copies of any nonfiction release in the past five years, Nate Silver wrote, “The notion that ‘nobody wants to re-litigate 2016’ is sort of a myth…”. I’m sure that not everyone who purchased or read What Happened supported Clinton; many probably read it out of hatred or so that they could argue about or dispute its contents. But still, a lot of people remain stuck on the campaign trail. This could be because the results of the election came as such a shock to many people that there were some psychological reasons for their inability to move on.

I have to wonder as well if it is partly because of the new inhabitant of the Oval Office that many people still think so much about the election cycle. After all, Trump is still holding campaign rallies (yes, even though he already campaigned and won). In many ways, he is still talking and acting like he’s on the campaign trail, leading some to believe he is already campaigning for the 2020 election.

The 2016 U.S. election was historic. We saw the first female leader of a major party and we saw a stunning defeat that many of us didn’t predict. There has been no shortage of things to reflect on in the wake of Nov. 8. What role did voter suppression play? What role did the media play? What role did Russian interference play? Should the Electoral College be abolished? Politicians, journalists, researchers and citizens are still searching for the answers to these, and many other, questions.

Reflection is good; action, I think, is better. I am excited to continue reading What Happened, not only to gain a better understanding of what really did happen but, more importantly, to learn how Clinton is moving forward and how she suggests the rest of us move forward, too.

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9 thoughts on “What Happened and Moving On from the 2016 U.S. Election

  1. I was a Bernie girl myself but I did vote for Hillary. The election saddened me too. Obama wasn’t one hundred percent perfect, i didn’t agree with the drone bombing & such, but to see our country go from Obama to Trump is a shock. There’s so much hostility going on these days, even from the left side (I’m independent) and it’s scary how divided our country is. Don’t ever regret being involved in politics in any way you can & keep up with what’s going on in our country. It’s better to be educated than ignorant!

  2. Great post!
    This election for me as well was something that I felt I was participating in for the first time, just because it was slightly different than other elections.
    My family and I constantly turned on the CNN news channel during the election and for the 100 days after.
    I agree with you, and am excited to see what you think of the book!!

  3. I was sorry to see a lot of presidential wanna be’s quit and I wish we had a better selection to choose from. It was like choosing the lesser of 2 evils. For that was Trump even though I didn’t completely agree with him on a lot of things.

  4. Hi Sherina, Great post I think we need to move on and get ready for 2020 to defeat Trump with a united party, I live in Ontario currently and was wondering what are your thoughts on the upcoming 2018 general election here? I feel like it is going to be one interesting contest. Who do you think is going to win?

    1. Hi George, thanks for reading! I agree that it’s going to be interesting. I haven’t been following things *too* closely so I can’t really speak with too much knowledge, but it does seem from Kathleen Wynne’s approval ratings that things may not be looking up for her. What do you think?

  5. I too am a Clinton supporter (as you probably already know) and am looking forward to reading about her point of view of what happened in the 2016 election. I still have moments sometimes where I shake my head and say to myself, “I can’t believe he is ACTUALLY the President of the United States”. It just goes to show even the most horrendous human beings are capable of running an entire country. If that doesn’t say dysfunctional to you, I don’t what it says.

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