This week we witnessed another 21st century virtual coup in America.
Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by well over 600,000 votes and by the time all the ballots are counted, it will be a margin in excess of 1.5 million nationwide. Hillary lost the electoral college vote, an archaic institution fashioned by the founders to insulate the making of a president from the democratic will of the voters.
On top of this, the intervention of the FBI in the election just 10 days before voting, and then the finding by the FBI that there was nothing new, announced two days before the election, had a significant dampening effect on voting for Hillary Clinton.
Just 16 years ago, Al Gore won the popular vote for president by a margin of more than half a million votes, and lost the electoral college vote to George Bush. What did that bring us: war, privatization, money for the already monied, stagnation of wages and income, the pulling apart of America. But America survived and we survived. We will survive the Trump years, and rise again.
Most likely, only bad things will happen at the federal level, from health coverage to environmental protection to corporate regulation and accelerated privatization to trampling on workers’ rights and their organization into unions.
What this means for us is that we can progress, we must progress, and we will progress at the state and local level. Election results from Tuesday underscore this. Our minimum wage and statewide paid sick days initiative in Washington won with 59% support.
We must look forward, and we must realize our responsibility to the people of our several states. So already in Washington we have a host of proposals for the coming year. Family leave insurance is of highest priority for the state legislature. We will also be working on compensation for early learning teachers and caregivers, progressive tax reform, higher education affordability and accessibility, health coverage, and a state supplemental social security system to add to federal social security as private retirement plans wither.
Then we have a host of openings and opportunities at the city level, especially in Seattle, including a family allowance and local tax reform.
We don’t have much of a choice, do we? We must go forward, or we must go forward. I would suggest we go forward, for the well-being of our people and our democracy.