- Obama. Barack Obama rode a complete economic collapse into office. He fancied himself a transformational president, and he was right. As party leader, he led the Democrats from control of the Presidency, House, and a super-majority in the Senate, to a country where the Republicans control everything from dog catcher and state houses to Congress, POTUS, and SCOTUS.
Democrats love Obama, but Obama couldn't have cared less about the Democratic Party. He built a huge, energized organization in 2008 that he then let wither. He cared about short-term victories at the expense of the long-term health of the party. His legacy will be undone (and then some) by the unified Republican government he's leaving behind. Viewed in the long run, I don't know how anyone can rationally view him as a success.
It pains me to say this, as I, too, am enamored with him.
- Democratic fickleness. Republicans fall in line, even with an indefensible cretin who brags about sexual assault and lies every time he opens his mouth. For Republicans, it is about winning and power.
For Democrats, it is about passion and purity. We loved cool Bill Clinton, but were complacent and not "inspired" by wonky Gore. We loved cool Barack Obama, but were complacent and not "inspired" by hard-working real-world Hillary. So a lot of us just stayed home, dooming the poor, people of color, etc. We also stay home when not inspired by someone we love (e.g., midterms, local elections), leaving Republicans controlling everything.
- Related to that: Bernie. To quote Kevin Drum: "He started out fine, but after his campaign took off and he realized he could actually win this thing, he turned harshly negative. Over and over, his audience of passionate millennials heard him trash Clinton as a corrupt, warmongering, corporate shill. After he lost, he endorsed Clinton only slowly and grudgingly, and by the time he started campaigning for her with any enthusiasm, it was too late. I understand that Bernie fans want to deny this obvious reality, but honestly, is it any wonder that Clinton lost a big chunk of the millennial vote?" To this day, I still have Bernie Bros hollering at me that Hillary is "corrupt."
- James Comey. Yes, he was the straw that broke the camel's back. One person can make a difference. 😓
- The media. Comey only made a difference because the media had to keep the race close in order to get more eyeballs and more clicks. I've said for many elections that the media will do anything to make sure it is a horserace, and the media kept Donald Trump alive. The head of CBS, Les Moonves, spoke for the entirety of the media when he said that the Trump campaign "May Not be Good for America, but It’s Damn Good for CBS."
Facebook spreading actively false stories aside, you can see this in the obsession with Hillary's email server. This is, of course, a nothingburger. How do we know it is nothing? Because the media never covered it when Colin Powell or Condi Rice used private email servers. They basically never covered when the GWB White House "lost" millions of official emails. There are many other similar stories that were ignored (Romney, etc.), up to and including Mike Pence.
Did any of these "scandals" make it to the public's consciousness? No. But the media needed something to tear down Hillary to keep the race close (showing anything and everything Trump said wasn't enough), so they literally spent more time saying "emails!" than actually discussing issues. Meanwhile, women and people of color are being attacked, and a the Neo Nazis are opening celebrating.
- The Electoral College (the real number one reason). Even after winning, Donald Trump knows the EC is horrible and undemocratic. Like much else our beloved founders did, it was put in place to protect slavery.
In two of the last six elections, the person who got the most votes did not end up leading the country. This is simply, indefensibly undemocratic. Everyone's vote should count equally, regardless of their skin color, gender, religion, or location. Anything else is simple discrimination.
National Popular Vote is really our only hope in this respect, but even though most support it, I'm not optimistic. Because of #2 above, Republicans control the vast majority of the states, and they know that as liberals continue to move to a handful of states (CA, MA, NY), their only chance to win the presidency going forward is continued voter suppression and the Electoral College.
A side note, pointed out by Bill Maher: This election proves, once and for all, that "evangelicals" and "Christian family values" voters are lying hypocrites, driven by hate.
Our only chance is to get real, get focused, and vote every goddamn opportunity we have.