Steve “Stef” Stefanides
On November 8th Americans went to the polls around the country and participated in what could best be described as a revolution of sorts. Throughout the nation men and women, young and old went to vote that day and sent a message that they would like to see a change in the direction of our country. It has been compared to “Brexit,” and the British vote to leave the European Union.
The election of 2016 will go down as a seismic shift in politics within our nation. It reflects a groundswell of dissatisfaction by Americans with how our nation is run. They would send a message around the globe that day by saying they were “mad as hell and weren’t going to take it anymore,” when they elected Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States.
They did it peaceably and at the voting booths; no blood was shed, no riots in the streets or tanks surrounding government buildings. That’s not to say there hasn’t been some who have chosen to protest the results and participate in unlawful activities which reflect poorly on their understanding of our democratic principles and constitutional law.
Instead of anointing a career politician, voters chose to look to an unconventional businessman who touched the raw nerves of many within the nation. Donald Trump has baggage, no one can debate that, however he spoke to the concerns that have been simmering beneath the surface with many Americans across the nation for a considerable time now.
That overwhelming support for Trump can be seen by looking at the county by county results throughout the nation, where red is the dominant color. The strength of Democrats (blue) is shown in only the larger cities across the country.
A growing distaste for political correctness, a lack of respect for the law, concerns over immigration, the loss of jobs in the manufacturing sector due to perceived poor trade policies, were just some of those concerns. A crumbling infrastructure within our own borders, rising health care costs associated with the Affordable Care Act and a general feeling by many that government has gotten too big and is disconnected from its citizenry fueled the Trump machine.
Trump’s run for the presidency was an anomaly in the history of American politics, as his message and unconventional campaign caught many by surprise and confounded politicalexperts on both sides of the aisle.
The closest we ever saw to this was the run made by Ross Perot, who ran as an Independent in the Clinton vs. Bush Election of 1992. The wealthy Texas businessman was seen as a spoiler in that election. Perot garnered almost 19% of the vote, which saw Clinton win with only 43% and George H.W. Bush with 37.4%. That election was also seen as a significant realignment after three noteworthy Republican landsides.
What continues to be puzzling to many was the fact that those disenfranchised voters in the failing cities around the nation did not rise up and join with the millions of other Americans and demand change years ago. Instead they continued to vote for a machine that has been in control of their fate for decades, watching as these communities have crumbled around those residents; leaving them enslaved by poverty, crime, corruption and lack of opportunity for their children.
The political experts and media talking heads are still reeling from this phenomenon, as they still refuse to accept the results, while attempting in so many disingenuous ways to undermine the reality of Trump’s success.
Americans were faced with the choice of two flawed candidates on November 8th, but they chose to pursue the unconventional path in an attempt to right a ship they saw was listing and on a course they could no longer tolerate.
President Trump won’t be given much leeway by those who have been unceremoniously ejected from their seats of power. He will need to surround himself with men and women with a keen intellect, and be willing to listen as well as lead.
The American people understood it was time for a change. Einstein had defined insanity as, “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” That adage certainly applies to electing the same old individuals, promoting the same failed remedies that haven’t worked in the past, leaving an electorate hungry for real change.
Steve Stefanides, well-known by his nickname “Stef,” is an experienced award-winning reporter of local civic and public interest news. Stef’s More Straight Talk column (and its predecessor, Straight Talk), on a variety of subjects, is a favorite of readers who trust him to bring them the facts. A Marco Island resident, Stef contributes to the community in many ways, having served on a number of city committees, charitable groups, boards and local organizations. Contact him by email at Stef@coastalbreezenews.com