It’s been a crazy year. That can’t be overstated. Everyone knew from the start that this election was abnormal and that things would change, one way or another. When the dust settled, it was Trump who won the election-sending ripples throughout the entire country and the world.
No one knows that better than the highly invested insiders of the two major parties. This election was a direct measure of how the American people feel, and those feelings have already reshaped both parties in major ways.
You’ve surely heard the term, “political response” at some point. It used to refer to a way of speaking that carefully skirted faux pas, catered respect towards opposing views and maybe even avoided clearly answering or stating anything at all.
For the past 60 years, or longer, politicians have thrived on careful speech and sticking to comfort zones. Donald Trump has completely destroyed this notion. He was elected through blunt, and sometimes brutal discussions. His refusal to shy away from uncomfortable ideas helped him systematically destroy “politically speaking” opponents throughout the primaries.
Clinton was the only opponent who even came close to firing back, but, in the end, she too backed away from Trump’s level of directness. The people have made it clear that they would rather hear an uncomfortable, even inappropriate, discussion of problems than continue to tolerate politicians who dance around the topics.
Trump has openly said many things that scare a lot of individuals and he has done a better job than any politician in the modern era to bring issues into the open. America cannot sweep its dirty laundry under the bed anymore, and both parties have learned from this.
This leads to an interesting point. Trump has more successfully shifted America towards progressivism than his most staunch opponents: the progressives themselves. While they have become the loudest political group in the country, the election results show that they are not the most powerful range of voters.
Clinton ultimately received significantly more votes in the primaries than Sanders did, showing that even on the left, progressives are a voting minority. Then they joined the Democratic Party in total opposition to Trump, and they still lost. It is one of the most convincing pieces of evidence that the loudest groups are rarely the most powerful.
So, if the often protesting and always visible progressives aren’t the major voting force in the country, who are? Grassroots America, long decried as a dying breed, have effectively chosen the United States government. They didn’t just elect the president. They spoke loudly in electing conservative House, Senate and Governor majorities.
In a complete flip, the Democrats, built on the premise of upholding the interests of grassroots America, were defeated by the demographic they have abandoned. But, this is more than just a party reversal. It shows that the lines separating the major parties are now completely, decisively redrawn. What was originally North versus South is now clearly rural versus metropolitan. The election results were more extreme by this measure than any before, and the parties are effectively realigning according to this shift.
Even more to the point, the platforms voted into office show another major trend shift. For decades, policies have trended towards better inclusions for minorities, and a lot of good has come from it. Despite the imperfection, many measures of disparity between groups separated by race, gender, age, or beliefs is at an all-time low.
What came as a shock to mainstream media and established politics is that this trend has left a surprising group feeling ostracized: the majority. While so much effort has gone into helping those who need it most, blue-collar America has been forgotten. In this election, they rallied behind the first candidate to appeal to them in ages, and the results speak for themselves.
More important than any other change, the blue-collar voice has delivered an ultimate message. The parties are no longer in control. The Democrats and Republicans both invested heavily in their prized champions, and none of those picks succeeded.
While Clinton narrowly defeated the underdog that was Sanders, Trump completely destroyed his opposition. The Republicans first backed Jeb Bush, so Trump took him down first. Then, one by one, he eliminated every candidate that the insiders pitted against him.
The voters have taken an unprecedented stance, and they have made it unmistakably clear that they are in charge. American politics are more truly democratic now than ever before.