We are now three days from when the Electors meet to officially confirm Donald J. Trump as our the soon-to-be 45th President of the United States. While there was some speculation that up to 20 Electors in states that voted for Trump were considering changing their mind, it appears only one of them will. In any event it would take 36 Electors choosing not to vote for Trump, which was always highly unlikely.
Nothing Donald Trump has done since November 8 would appear to change their mind. Not his refusal to release his tax returns, not his white supremacist-billionaire-buddy with Russia picks for his Administration, not his gross conflicts of interest leading to possible violations of the Constitution, with his companies or their influence abroad, not the clear nepotism he’s showing by having Ivanka Trump work out of the office in the White House that is usually given to the First Lady. And not even the revelation that the FBI and CIA, two agencies that don’t like each other, are in agreement that Russia hacked the DNC and RNC with intent to help Donald Trump win the election.
It’s not about removing Donald Trump to install Hillary Clinton in his place, it’s not even about Donald Trump anymore but the people who have the power to stop him and won’t. The president-elect’s actions should concerns us all, whether Democrat, Republican or Independent. I’m not disturbed by his actions because it’s what I fully expected. But I am disturbed at the way people continue to justify or completely ignore his actions.
In the coming years this country is going to need a president fully committed to protecting the American people from threats both inside and outside the country. Everything Donald Trump has done demonstrates he will not do that. This is a test for our democracy and so far we are failing royally. The US faces great obstacles such as a weak economy, deep social divisions, and rising tensions with China, among others. By the time the country realizes the mess we’re in it will be too late. And we’ll have no one to blame but ourselves.
The election of Donald Trump stunned many Americans, particularly the media who predicted a landslide victory for Hillary Clinton. Between the shock and the fake news site controversies, the mainstream news media messed up and they knew it. The Atlantic magazine published an article on the media’s ‘woeful’ unpreparedness to cover a Trump presidency and media commentators such as CNN’s Brian Stelter had multiple segments calling the media’s grave miscalculation on election night “one of the biggest media failures in many years”, and calling for journalists to do some ‘soul searching’ to regain public’s trust. Segments included panels of long-time journalists discussing how they can avoid their previous mistakes in covering when Donald Trump begins his term.
While I appreciate the awareness that something in journalism needs to change, they are still getting it wrong. First of all, if you’re going to have a panel on how journalism lost the people’s trust, you might want to talk to the people whose trust you lost in the first place. It does little good to have a discussion on your mistakes amongst yourselves.
Second, the mainstream media did not get the election wrong simply because of polls. One of the reasons I turned away from mainstream news during the election was because of its one-sided coverage of voters of color. Mainstream portrayal of African-Americans, Latinos and Asians as monoliths is nothing new, however the distortion of the black and Latino voting blocs were so brazen and obvious, it was unwatchable. As early voting statistics came in with Latino voting up and black voting down, CNN and MSNBC dubbed Latinos as the voting bloc that would save Hillary while black voters were presumed to be sitting home apathetic because Barack Obama was not on the ballot.
The fact that this was the first election where strict voter ID laws and cut backs in early voting were in full effect in swing states like North Carolina was completely ignored. Mainstream news also made the inaccurate presumption that Latinos were so terrified by Trump’s platform, they would vote in droves for Hillary Clinton. Although Latino voter turnout did increase, the partisan divide kept pace with previous elections. Trump won 28% of Latino voters, more than Mitt Romney in 2012 but less than John McCain in 2008. Hillary failed to match Obama’s enthusiasm with Americans of color but her most reliable voting bloc was black women. Just as there are differences in the black voting bloc, there are differences among Latino voters. CNN, MSNBC and other mainstream news media ignore them at their peril.
The reality is black and Latino voters are complex voting blocs that the media needs to take time to get to know. Part of the problem is that mainstream journalism is mostly white, even in 2016. As the country browns, the mainstream media let alone the political system, will continue to get it wrong as long as this remains the case.