At the start of the 2016 presidential race, there was widespread speculation our nation was headed towards a contest between two political dynasties. It was going to be Bush vs. Clinton. But this time it would be Jeb Bush taking on Hillary Clinton.
The Republican and Democratic establishments seemed to have had their dream matchup. Jeb Bush was the moderate conservative and the only twice-elected governor of the important swing state of Florida. Hillary Clinton was the Democrat with the most political experience having served as First Lady, New York senator for two terms and Secretary of State.
In a wide-open primary, Republicans fielded a team of 17 mostly experienced, career politicians. But neither the establishment favorite, Jeb Bush, nor any of the other “Inside the Beltway” types caught on with the Republican base quite like the outsider Donald Trump.
Trump talked about the corruption and incompetence within our political system. He told voters he was the only one who could fix the mess in Washington D.C. because he alone was above “politics as usual.” He would be a president beholden to no one as he, a billionaire, was self-funding his campaign.
Though they tried to thwart his presidential run, we know Trump went on to obliterate his competition in the primary and was selected the Republican Party’s presidential nominee at their convention in July.
The Democrats, on the other hand, only had five candidates seeking their party’s presidential nomination. Clinton was such an odds-on favorite of becoming the Democratic Party’s nominee that only Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley, Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee challenged the heir apparent. The Democratic contest soon turned into Clinton versus Sanders.
Unlike the level playing field on the Republican side, the Democratic Party was hell-bent on seeing their favored candidate, Hillary Clinton, win the primary. Hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC), published by Wikileaks, showed chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and her committee members doing all they could to stymie Sanders and tilt the nomination towards Clinton.
As their primary dragged on, the Republican Party reluctantly learned the presidential contest of 2016 was shaping up as a “change election.” There was no stopping what their voting base wanted. And they wanted the political maverick, Donald Trump.
The Democrats didn’t realize, or want to acknowledge, a revolution was also taking place with their very own party. The wild enthusiasm generated by Bernie Sanders was a clear signal that liberals and progressives were also sick of politics as usual.
Could the Democratic Party have nominated someone more of a political insider than Hillary Clinton? A person who has been a political figure on the national stage for nearly 25 years? Justly or not, with Clinton it seemed like one scandal after another. As a result, her unfavorability ratings almost matched Trump’s.
A large chunk of the Democratic base tried to tell their party they were suffering from “Clinton fatigue.” But no one was listening. Many Democrats were so offended by the DNC playing favorites in the primary that they vowed to either skip the election, vote third party or vote Trump. But no one took them seriously.
Democrats are quick to point out that Trump’s presidency is a product of the Republican’s own evil doings.
The truth is that by pushing a deeply flawed candidate like Hillary Clinton from the get go, and then thwarting the growing momentum of the Sanders’ revolution, President Trump is as much a creation of the Democratic Party.
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