In the last three days, you’ve undoubtedly seen the crying, shouting, forlorn looking Americans who voted for Hillary Clinton. They’re grieving. Many Hillary Clinton voters are having a tough time accepting a loss that none of them predicted. After the 2008 election, GOP voters were upset, but they hadn’t had the same level of confidence in McCain that Hillary voters had in their candidate. Obama was a shoe-in. And Hillary’s voters thought she was too.
They couldn’t have been more wrong. You can see the signs of grief all across America, especially in big cities and on college campuses. Here’s a rundown of the five stages of grief, and how they are manifesting themselves.
- Denial: The most prominent display of denial has to be Hillary’s refusal to address the crowd Tuesday night with a concession speech, even though she did manage to call Donald Trump to concede. Various levels of denial could also be seen among liberal pundits and analysts watching the election. In 2012 during the Obama/Romney showdown, GOP denial was best epitomized by Karl Rove’s freak-out on Fox News when confronted with the call of Ohio for Obama.
- Anger: Protests across America and vitriolic rants on social media have displayed the anger of voters. There have even been beatings of Trump voters or supporters by angry Americans. This is the worst stage of acceptance for obvious reasons.
WARNING: GRAPHIC LANGUAGE AND VIOLENCE
- Bargaining: This is where many Hillary supporters are today. Bargaining is the most interesting phase because that’s when people get creative. Calls for “faithless electors” in the Electoral College, ballot measures to secede, and talk of how the self-avowed socialist Bernie Sanders would have won are all forms of bargaining. There were similar fantasies created by conservatives during the Obama years. Most notable was a vote by rural Colorado voters to secede.
- Depression: This phase will probably last a long time. If you spend the holidays with any Hillary supporters, prepare for some dreary Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner celebrations this year. The depression among conservatives caused by Obama’s 2008 victory didn’t seem to end until the wee hours of the morning on Wednesday. You can expect the same from ardent Clinton supporters.
- Acceptance: Acceptance is the final stage of grief, but you rarely see it in the political arena. Sixteen years after the fact, the left still argues that Bush stole the election from Gore. And conservatives have never accepted Obama. The major priorities of the Trump administration are to dismantle every executive order and major piece of legislation Obama completed. That doesn’t sound like acceptance. With another election four years down the road, and what promises to be a divisive mid-term half-way along, it’s unlikely Hillary voters will have time to accept Trump’s win.
What is most unfortunate about all the teeth gnashing over the outcome of the election is that it illustrates just how far America has strayed from the intent of the Founders. The Founders designed a system that put much of the power of government in the hands of the states. The federal government was intended to be of limited powers. Were the federal government’s powers still limited to only those enumerated in the constitution, there would be little left to grieve over.
Timothy O. Jones
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