I woke up on the morning of the 9th, anxious. A weird sensation coursed through me whole; an unease which I couldn't shake. I reached for my phone to see what havoc the night had wrought, and learned that Donald Trump was leading Hillary Clinton in all the projections news portals were casting/constantly revising in real-time. Not by much, initially, but leading he was. Even as we read the numbers coming in, no one wanted to believe what they seemed to be saying. This couldn't possibly be. Trump might have the lead on Clinton, but surely it would dissipate soon? Surely, when it came to it, people were going to vote for the admittedly uninspiring status-quoist who embodied the establishment they had declaimed loudly - and repeatedly - they despised, right? Because what real option did they have? A misogynistic and racist sociopath whose candidacy almost everyone had failed to counter seriously because they had dismissed it as a joke? Surely voters were going to go with the known evil; the warmonger over the loose cannon?
Some of you may have deduced from my tone that I'm not exactly an enthusiastic Hillary Clinton supporter. Well done. I'm not. Let me spell out why. I identify as feminist: to my core. This has been the one constant non-negotiable tenet of faith around which all my experiments with truth, identity, sexuality - being, in a word - have long unfolded. It angered me endlessly that sections of the media held that not getting behind Clinton's candidacy somehow 'dented' anyone's feminist credentials. Er. No. Because it is precisely feminism that does not allow me to look away from the right royal mess and godawful loss of life in Syria, Iraq, Libya, and anywhere else the US has persisted in pushing its pathetically self-serving (neo-imperialist) foreign policy. Then there's the painful fact that even if we recognise that capital is nameless and faceless, if you squint a little bit, it begins to look a little like the Clinton Foundation and others of its ilk. Paid speeches to the goons on Wall Street? It's hard to curry favour with the 99% after something like that, think you not?
And this is why calling this election has been so bloody complicated: there is clearly a serious amount of misogyny powering how these results have panned out. For anyone looking, this much is clear from even continents away: there was no way America was about to vote a woman into power. But this wasn't just any woman: this was a woman who was an adept player of the 'game' that animates Washington DC. This was a woman who had an 'emic' or insider's perspective when it came to the workings of power and the close nexus between politics and capital.
Were the Democratic party less invested in maintaining status quo itself, it would have known that fielding Clinton - and pushing her candidacy over Sanders in as obviously partisan a way as they did - was a terrible idea. The call that had gone out was a loud and clear one: the people had made it known that it was 'change' they were after: enough of the establishment, and whoever they thought embodied it. This is why, as I've been saying all year through, Trump and Sanders needed to be read, at least structurally, as companion pieces; alike in more ways than we countenanced. Whether they were or not (for I hold that Trump is the farthest thing from anti-establishment in one sense; more on that soon), they were both perceived as outsiders who would mount a challenge to the power structures that exert and perpetuate hegemony.
I remember being astounded by the numbers Sanders' rallies were drawing nation-wide when I was in America over the summer. So many people I spoke to were convinced he was the 'change' candidate America needed. What struck me then was how, much like with Corbyn in the UK, sections of the media attempted to malign Sanders by making out that he leaned far Left. How ludicrous a world do we have to live in for this to be considered an insult? More, how far Right of Centre has political discourse shifted when a Social Democrat, to most ears, begins to sound like someone on the Radical Left?