The "Participation Trophy Effect" on the Election
On November 8, 2016 the United States conducted an election that was historic in many ways. This was the first time in the 240 year history of the US that a woman was nominated by a major party as a candidate. Hillary Clinton won her parties nomination (Democratic Party) after a defeating candidate Bernie Sanders in the primary election.
The Republican party (GOP) made a historic nomination as well. The GOP nomination billionaire businessman Donald Trump. He was the first nominee that hadn't either held a public office or served in the military. He defeated 17 different candidates in the primary election process.
The third party candidates were Gary Johnson and Jill Stein.
The US election process also allows for voters to "write-in" any name they choice who is not on the ballot.
Despite being heavily favored to win, Hillary Clinton lost to outsider Donald Trump. While Clinton won the popular vote Trump won the electoral votes which actually determines the election. These results were not expected by many including pollsters and media pundits. On Tuesday afternoon I even seen one poll suggest Clinton had a 83% chance of winning.
So what happened?
For one thing, bad modeling. Pollsters and media pundits rely on past election results to predict future results. Problem is that Americans have been more mobile than ever before and looking at election data from 4 years earlier just doesn't show a complete picture of who likely voters were. Another issue was exit polls are only as good as the information they receive from the voters. If some of these voters are not forthcoming with the information it will skew the numbers.
This election was filled with controversy from the start. Both sides had their own share of it.
These were 2 of the most hated candidates of all time. Regardless of the winner, a majority of the voters would not be happy.
After the results of the election were released, there was an immediate response on social media. On Twitter for instance, a hashtag called #NotMyPresident started trending. A lot of people starting using this hashtag to express their displeasure with the election results.
A concession speech made by Hillary Clinton on Wednesday morning telling her supporters that everybody needs to support President-Elect Trump didn't ease the feelings that many people had. President Obama also made a speech encouraging unity. Despite these speeches, social media was filled with propaganda both true and false.
I fear that a whole generation is too reliant on social media as their only source of news and information. This can have dangerous consequences. A large number of social media users are young people (Millennials). In general, young people are easily influenced. If they are being influenced with the wrong or misleading information it can have damaging consequences.
By mid-day Wednesday, the outrage about the election had grown even larger. Protest broke out across a number of large cities. These were mostly peaceful protest but I have to admit that I was a bit taken back by them. I have lived through 11 elections in my lifetime. I haven't agreed with the politics of all the winners but I have always supported the President because it is my duty as an American.
Supporting a President does not mean that you agree with his policy's. It simply means that you accept the will of the people and that you will give the new President a chance to prove you right or wrong. I have sent letters to each of the Presidents I didn't vote for expressing my support for them despite voting for their opponent.
We have a tradition in this country to come together after an election and ensure the peaceful transfer of power. The Protests that broke out Wednesday evening showed large crowds of mostly millennials holding signs that had profanity all over them and chanting "Not My President."
It was at this moment I realized that we had raised a generation of people who didn't know how to loose with dignity (Millennials). This is the generation of the "participation" trophy's. If you don't know what a participation trophy is, it is a trophy they give to losers. During my generation only winners received trophy's. We learned the agony of defeat and the glory of victory.
These are important lessons that will shape the character of a child and eventually the character of a nation. Nobody likes defeat but it is easier to deal with when you have experienced it before.
The unwillingness to accept Donald Trump as the President is merely an exercise in poor sportsmanship. To ignore the long standing tradition of accepting the will of the people is like dismissing the Constitution.
The argument about Trump not winning because he didn't win the popular vote is not a valid claim. He is not the first President to win an election by loosing the popular vote while winning the electoral vote. Both of these candidates understood the rules of the election prior to entering the race and they still choose to enter.
The sky isn't falling, the world isn't coming to an end and black clouds don't last forever. Despite all the division that has plagued this nation, I am hopeful that we find a way to come together and unite. Our democracy depends on unity. We are stronger together!