We did it! We made it through the 2016 election and all we had to pay for it was David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Gene Wilder, Prince, Glenn Frey, Abe Vigoda, George Martin, Garry Shandling, Kevin Meaney, and Muhammad Ali to get here! What a small price to pay, yeah? I’d really like to think that this year wasn’t a complete shit show for no reason, I really would.

Then again, both political parties are so self-assured that I highly doubt either will be inclined to take the long, hard look at themselves that they need to. Even if the Democrats see big gains in the Senate and Hillary wins the White House, they have a lot to glean from their primary season and the General Election. The Republicans…well, they’re the Republicans so they’ll probably do a deep-dive report right after the election, then chuck it and nominate a literal burlap sack full of diarrhea that’s hooked up to a Bluetooth speaker blaring Bretbart headlines at a hundred decibels.

Just remember: I’m a clown. A joke monger. A ha-ha creator.  It says right in my bio that you should definitely not give that much a shit about my opinions. So take all of this with whatever size grain of salt most delights your palette.

The Democrats’ Takeaways

The Democratic National Committee, hopefully, has learned that it can’t just ram any candidate down the electorate’s throats without it having ramifications. Maybe they’re not too worried about the outcome of this election, but a few years down the line when they’re facing the same generational dwindling that is currently killing the GOP, what will they think? I think they’ll think that they should’ve thought long and hard about an honest primary instead of a coronation, that’s what I think.

The Dems should probably also take a long, hard look at how they’re going to win over white working class, non-college educated voters. I’m not saying you need every Jethro, Clem, and Cletus to switch parties to have a chance. However, when a party immolates, voters can scatter. What if the Democrats were the big tent party and started letting the non-racists and non-Islamaphobes into their fold?

Finally, if the Democrats don’t listen to the groundswell of support that Bernie Sanders got, they’re fucking up…royally. Bernie didn’t stoke the fires of change by hanging onto neoliberalism like it’s the only way left-wingers can prevail. Instead, he spoke plainly about the financial divides in this country, and how they impact every part of our society. Sanders showed there’s still plenty of room on the Democrats’ plates for some honest-to-God actual progressivism, and platform changes he got through at the convention this summer show the DNC is willing to listen, at least a little bit. But if they don’t embrace that progressivism they risk alienating a generation of voters who would otherwise likely keep the donkeys happy another decade or two.

The Republicans’ Takeaways

To be perfectly honest, there’s not enough time or space in this column to remotely touch all the things the Republicans need to learn from 2016. The quick and dirty of it is this: Take everything you should have learned in 2012, multiply it by 50, and then add, “Don’t nominate a vapid, rich, entitled, racist, sexist, Islamaphobe in a shitty hair piece next time,” on top.

Sure, there were no binders full of women talk this time around. Instead, their nominee said there should be punishments for women who seek abortions. The same guy was telling reporters he was okay with preventing refugees from entering the country if they were of a certain religious group — clearly in violation of the spirit of the Constitution’s Freedom of Religion. He was also in favor of “extreme vetting” of Muslims entering the U.S.; a Reichstag-esque term if ever there was one.

Had the GOP heeded its lessons from 2012, we’d probably be preparing ourselves for a Clinton defeat. Instead, they ran the one guy who couldn’t beat someone with unfavorables like Hillary’s. Just today a lifelong Republican strategist said she’s voting for Hillary and against Trump. The party is falling apart at the seams, all because they refused to stop saying and thinking horrible things about Hispanic and Latino voters, which was the number one recommendation their famous autopsy report from 2012.

Simply put, the Republicans can’t get out of their own way. Their biggest takeaway, which I’m almost positive they’ll ignore, is that their 30-plus year alliance with racists, homophobes, and religious kooks needs to end. They never figured out that the group in history that allies itself with the forces of discrimination and hatred almost never prevails. If the Republicans were paying attention and had any real desire to get back into the Oval Office, should Trump lose, they’d immediately disavow the David Dukes of the world. Instead, they defend his right to be racist…which is certainly his; but that kind of argument will never fly with thinking Americans.

BONUS ROUND: America’s Takeaways

It’s not just Democrats and Republicans that need to learn things from this election. We all do.

For starters, can we puhlllllllleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeezzzzzz have shorter election seasons? That bewigged, braggadocious bucket of butt plugs rode down the escalator and announced his presidency about eighteen months ago. He could have gotten his daughter pregnant twice in that time frame. We’ve been doing this year’s election since 2015, if not further back, because as soon as Obama beat Romney we had to start guessing whether it would be Jeb Bush (LOL, Jebby) versus Hillary four years later. Other countries can hold successful elections in a fraction of the time, and we need to learn how.

Two years of protracted bitterness isn’t going to unite us any time soon.

Secondly, Americans need to come together and really figure out how much corporatism they want in their government. Honest people I think can admit that both candidates represent what our government has become in our modern age — primarily a tool of big business to help carve out the special rules they want in place. That’s not to say there’s no differences between the two; of course they are. Clinton is immeasurably better than Trump, but between Wikileaks, and what we already knew about her ties to Wall Street, no one better be surprised when she turns at least a little bit away from the Sanders/Warren wing of the party.

The biggest takeaway for every American? The truth has to matter again.

We have to get back to a point where we don’t have competing cable news networks providing competing realities. We can and should have a healthy argument about what our reality means and what to do about it. But we should stop having two Americas, like…right now…ish. Let’s make our arguments about what the tax rate should be, not whether Hillary Clinton is trying to bring down America from within. This kind of conspiracy theory drivel has castrated the right, and I see nearly as stupid obviously bullshit from liberal websites too. If we don’t have a common reality, we’ll never have compromise or solutions, ever. Let’s make 2016 the last election where we have to argue the wetness of water with each other.

Of course, what the hell do I know? I’m a clown, remember? And I’m going to do my stupid little dance no matter what, so God Bless America…or something.

Follow James on Twitter @JamboSchlarmbo.


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