Election Day: Grief, Anger and Voting Irregularities

11/20/2016

I looked forward to Election Day, not only because it signaled the end of an unbearably long campaign but also because it was going to be historic. I was certain it would be cause for celebrating the first female president of the United States and all the progress we’d made in so many areas.

On the day itself, I held Clinton/Kaine signs at our local voting station. It was energizing to see the young people excited about the election of Hillary Clinton and it was delightful to participate in the many selfies with women who wanted pictures with “my people.” The Trump supporters received no selfie requests. This wasn’t surprising given their incredibly ugly (and ironic) sign about child rape and their hateful tirades. Who wants to memorialize that? So I was feeling pretty good when I left. But it all went downhill from there and I was unexpectedly thrown into the grieving process.

The first stage of grief is Denial. It hit me in full force that night. As the results started coming in and Trump pulled ahead, I refused to admit to any concern. This was especially true since I’d never – not even once – thought of what would happen with a President Trump. He was such a flawed candidate, a man-child with no government experience who had very few reasonable policy positions. And with all the hate he spewed during the campaign against practically every group except straight white men, who was left to vote for him? As the night wore on though, the pit in my stomach got worse. Clearly, I’d also been in denial about the character of many of my fellow Americans.

I spent the next day practically comatose – that isn’t an exaggeration, I couldn’t do much of anything – and then moved into Anger. I spent some time in that stage as I argued with and unfriended Trump supporters and finalized my Blame List. In order: the Media, FBI Director Comey, Trump voters, purposeful non-voters and 3rd party voters. Each in their own way contributed to the circumstances in which we find ourselves.

From there, I inched into the Bargaining stage. This is where you try to regain control of your feelings of helplessness and vulnerability by shifting to the “if only” type of thoughts. I read every analysis of the election that I could. My bargaining thoughts were, “If only we got rid of the Electoral College after 2000” and “If only Democrats had appealed to white rural voters.” But that’s where it stopped.

I was reading yet another article fetishizing the white rural vote when I suddenly roared back into Anger. I realized I didn’t want to read more “autopsies” of Hillary’s “loss” because, quite frankly, I don’t believe it. What I do believe is that I’m witnessing what is at least the 3rd stolen election in my lifetime (2000, 2004, 2016). There are way too many factors that could’ve swayed the narrow Trump victories in swing states yet very few news outlets are discussing this. Is this because we’re so sure – despite ample evidence to the contrary – that our elections are fair and above-board? Or is it because the media is now so dazzled by the autopsies, protests and imminent meltdowns brought on my Trump’s incendiary administration appointments? I imagine those stories provide much more excitement and ratings than voting irregularities and recounts. But still….

Why are so few talking about the Russian hacking that occurred before the election? Are you telling me that it couldn’t have affected voting machines in….say….the swing state of North Carolina in which the company that maintains voter files was probably hacked? And what about other areas? Federal investigators believe that Russian hackers were behind cyber-attacks on a contractor for Florida’s election system that may have exposed the personal data of Florida voters. It was probably only a coincidence that Florida is also a swing state though, right? And I’m sure Russians hacked into American voter files across the country a few weeks before the election just for fun. But shouldn’t we at least be worried that it was solely the emails of Democrats – not Republicans – who the Russians decided to hack?

Leaving aside Russian interference, what about voter suppression (remember that this is the first national election since the Voting Rights Act was gutted), voter intimidation, and voting precincts overseen by Republicans? In Ohio, a switch on voting machines that allows them to record votes for later examination was purposely turned off. What about the missing ballots in Wisconsin or the problems they had issuing temporary photo identification for voting? Back in the 90s, Bill Clinton (ironically) said that Republicans couldn’t win elections without cheating. We know this to be true because of legal cheating like gerrymandering, so why do we have faith in them for national elections?

Watching Trump’s face this week, I’m pretty sure he was counting on losing and would prefer to be golfing right now. So I don’t think he was aware of rigging for his benefit but would any of us put something like this past Republicans like Mike Pence, Mitch McConnell or Katherine Harris (from the 2000 election debacle)? Maybe we should invite, no insist, that the UN Electoral Assistance Division come oversee our elections. Let’s allow impartial observers to determine if we can or cannot be trusted with our elections.

Regardless of whether this election was stolen, I’ve realized something else. I don’t care one bit about Trump voters. Not any more. They sold us all out and they kept us from having the historic election of a lifetime. They broke my heart and the hearts of so many mothers and daughters all over the world. I’ll never forgive them for that. So enough with the stupid articles about Trump voters. If I’m right and Hillary won, it doesn’t matter. If I’m wrong, it still doesn’t matter because they’re selfish fools with the compassion of a flea. And I’m not happy with the non-voters or 3rd party people either. We warned them and they didn’t listen.

If, as it seems, there’s truly nothing we can do to change things right now, then I have two things to say. First, we must do a better job of monitoring our elections to make absolutely certain that they’re fair and every vote counts. American democracy is too important to be uncertain about the accuracy of our voting process. And second, to our Democratic members of Congress: Not. One. Step. Back.

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