Op-Ed: Gen Z’s pragmatic politics could be a key to ending polarization in America
As a new report predicts that the American electorate will soon be unable to recall the past two presidential election cycles – and then have a chance to vote for the first woman and the first person of color running on a major party ticket – I wrote this year’s election preview in advance of Election Day. The first two issues I tackled were whether the election would be a referendum on our current political order or a new beginning.
For the record:
In this election cycle, Trump won a narrow victory over Hillary Clinton – 52-48 percent. The fact that Clinton won by nearly four million votes makes Trump’s victory feel a little more like a “wave” rather than an established electoral trend that would lead into the general election. Because Clinton’s margin was so wide, it’s possible to argue that this election was a two-party affair – a sort of super-natural turning point that would usher in a new consensus.
Instead, this election was more like the Great Bull Run we just ran through: a long, drawn out march of the forces of the status quo. From the moment Clinton was declared the victor, and the media gave her full media coverage, it was clear that the election was going to be about Clinton’s campaign.
The press and the Democratic Party have worked hard these past two years to make Clinton the defining political figure of the election – much in the way that President Obama was the defining figure of the 2008 campaign and the 2012 campaign. To be clear, Clinton was never a front-runner in either of those two White House campaigns because she did not have a clear plan to get the progressive agenda off the ground or a defined economic policy (although she did not have a single good economic idea on the table for voters to reject).
Instead, the Obama team ran a campaign of hope, of progressivism, and of progressive policy. This was