I keep trying to get away from this, this being post-mortems of the election, but they keep dragging me back in with the stupidity.
But wait, that's not right. There's nothing stupid about it. Rather, it's what I called it before: a reflection of, an outgrowth of, the desperate desire of the political and media establishment to declare that nothing has changed, everything is as it was, this is all "normal," the usual politics, and at the end of the day we - the establishment - are still in control.
The result is an overwhelming desire on the part of that establishment to normalize Donald TheRump and the collection of cronies, wackos, and reactionaries he is surrounding himself with.
This is why we keep getting told in one way or another that TheRump didn't actually mean a lot of the bigoted crap he said or the wild claims he made on the campaign trail and his admitting that he forgot that he ever promised to keep those Carrier jobs in Indiana was treated almost as a charming eccentricity.
This is why the media is recasting the flaming racist anti-Semitic bigot and soon-to-be "Special Advisor to the President" Steve Bannon as a "provocateur" and a "fiery populist."
This is why columnist Chris Cillizza, who regards Bannon - along with conspiracy-tweeting Islamaphobe and soon-to-be National Security Advisor Michael Flynn - as merely "controversial," is so eager to show that TheRump's Cabinet choices "reflect a political savviness."
And it's why the Democratic party establishment and its fellow travelers in the media continue to blame the failures of the Dummycrats and the Hillary Clinton campaign on anyone and everyone - except the Dummycrats and the Hillary Clinton campaign. Why it continues to insist "we didn't do anything wrong, we don't need to change anything, except maybe we need to 'sharpen our message.'"
Because, to paraphrase what used to be said about conservatism, the party establishment can never fail, it can only be failed.
Thus we get, for one example, yet another variation on the "blame third parties" - or, to be more exact, "blame Jill Stein" - argument.
The online politics magazine The Hill ran a piece declaring that
[i]n two key states that President-elect Donald Trump won, his margin of victory was smaller than the total number of votes for Green Party nominee Jill Stein.So you see, it was Stein's fault Clinton lost those states because if she had only somehow gotten all of Stein's votes - truly a delusional fantasy - but if somehow that had happened, she would have won!
Except, um, no, she wouldn't: The two states were Michigan and Wisconsin with a total of 26 electoral votes between them. Had Clinton won both, she still would have lost the electoral vote 280-258. So what is the point of the article?
The point is that originally, the article said there were three such states. The third was Pennsylvania, with 20 electoral votes. So if Clinton had gotten all of Stein's votes in Pennsylvania, it said originally, she would have won the election 278-260. The hitch is that when more votes came in, it turned out that TheRump's margin in Pennsylvania was greater than the number of Stein's votes which meant first that the article had to be clumsily edited to make it two states and second even if Clinton had gotten every one of Stein's votes in Pennsylvania she still would have lost the state and the election.
It would have been reasonable in view of the changed numbers, which undermined the entire premise of the piece, to go "oops" and drop the article. But they weren't about to give up on a chance to slam a third party candidacy as "how dare you even hypothetically affect one of the two enshrined, sacred, parties!"
So consider what they did instead. Quoting the article:
In Wisconsin, Trump’s margin over Clinton was 22,177, while Stein garnered 31,006 votes.Okay, in Wisconsin, Stein if you will beat the margin - exceeded TheRump's victory margin - by 8800 votes, a figure apparently considered large enough to be significant. But in Pennsylvania, she fell short of the margin by a hair under 18,000 votes, more than double the difference in Wisconsin and that figure - 18,000 - was equal to 36% of her entire vote. But that total is considered to be "just slightly smaller" than TheRump's margin.
In Pennsylvania, meanwhile, Stein’s total of 49,485 votes was just slightly smaller than Trump’s victory margin of 67,416 votes.
Put bluntly, they maximized the meaning where Stein beat TheRump's margin and minimized the meaning where she didn't, still hinting that Stein was the cause of Clinton's failures - emphasized by the fact that later in the article, it said that if Clinton had won all three states, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, she would have won the election - despite having been forced to admit that even with every one of Jill Stein's votes, Clinton still would have lost Pennsylvania.
But it's not just blame Jill Stein, no, of course not, it's blame anyone you can come up with.
The latest nonsense - this is a new one at least as far as I'm aware - comes from Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook, who claimed on December 2 that the people really to blame are - get this - millennials.
The argument is based on something I pointed out before: She did five points worse with voters 18-29 than Obama did in 2012. But where I saw a failure on her part to give them enough of a reason to vote for her, Mook and senior Washington Post political reporter Aaron Blake, who supported Mook on this, see a failure by those voters to support her even in the lack of such a reason. In their eyes, young voters failed in some kind of unspoken responsibility to uphold the preferred candidate of the liberal establishment.
What makes the argument really asinine is that Clinton won the 18-29 vote by 55%-36%, a margin of 19 points. It was her highest percentage and the biggest margin of any age group.
You could blame those 45-64. Clinton lost that group by 8 points. Nope, blame the young folks who voter for her by 19 points. You could blame those over 65, she lost them by 7 points. Nope, blame the - you'll pardon this old dude for the term - kids who supported her more than anyone else.
This would be almost funny in a bitter sort of way if it wasn't for the fact that it's part of the overall drive by yes the political and media establishment to say nothing needs to be changed, nothing needs to be done differently, because we are still safe in our privileged enclaves.
Which is exactly why it must change.