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How the debate watchers voted.

November 11, 2016

Back an eon or so ago…no, wait.  It was only 15 months ago!

Anyway, what started out as a couple of dozen people that wanted to see what happens when a rank outsider challenges the strait-jacketed American political system grew into a fluid (sometime VERY fluid) group that agreed to suffer through every single debate and eventually got hooked on politics.

Because I already had a nonpartisan op-ed blog and I write business content for a living, yours truly got tapped to record the minutiae and put it online. I was never paid by anyone, which makes sense because this was and is my own blog.

The rules were simple.  No personally identifiable information, all quotes if used would be verbatim, no incitement to violence would be permitted, all the people had to be either outright independents or at least disenchanted people who hadn’t voted for a president since 2000 and they had to commit to watch and comment on all the debates.

As such groups do, folks kind of floated  in and out, but out of some 270 initial people there was a core group of about 75 people spread across the country that stuck with it.

They were young and old, male and female, black and white and brown, and if they shared any political characteristic at all, it was a wary and very slightly right of center bias.

Most were working class, but there were a couple of professors, a dozen or so small business owners, and even one or two people that could at least see the top 10% from where they sat.

They ranged in age from 18 to 84.  About half had at least two years of higher education, although for some that meant a trade or technical school, mostly in the tech field.  Some had at one time been registered with one or the other of the two major political parties, but some had never even voted before.

Of the ones that provided the information, 51.7% said they tended toward the Republicans, 46% said they were slightly more inclined toward the Democrats and 2.3% said they more closely identified with Libertarians.

In short, they were kind of like all of us.

The common tie was the desire to see if a total political novice, a true citizen candidate, had any kind of a shot at winning the nation’s top job.

After all, the last fully private citizen president we have had was George Washington, and that was mostly a matter of timing.

The American political class began with him, and everyone who came afterwards was some form of professional office seeker or career military officer. (Take it from me,  nothing is more political than the military.)

That made the Trump campaign an exercise in democracy no living American has ever seen before and quite possibly will not ever see again.

Great Britain has Brexit.  We have BreaksIt.

This has been said by many people in many ways, but this election was about shattering the status quo, not the glass ceiling.

People were and are tired of watching a moribund fat cat Congress composting on the Hill and never really doing anything their constituents wanted them to do.

It’s been quite a trek.

Sometimes the crap got so deep you needed hip waders to slog through it and along the way, a few people just gave up in disgust.

Just about everyone says they got an education in politics they aren’t sure they really wanted, and quite frankly, a lot of innocence was lost.

One woman said wistfully, “I can never again blindly place my faith in the government to do what’s right, or even what’s smart. I will miss that.”

Everyone agreed to say how or if they voted, but as of today, 11/11/16, only 81 have turned in their scorecards.

67 voted for Donald Trump. 2 voted for third party candidates and 12 voted for the down ballot candidates but did not make a choice for President.  No one that reported voted for Hillary Clinton.

A few people report that they will remain interested in politics, particularly watching to see what changes in the process, if any, this election causes.

Most say they will vote again, but so far no one has volunteered to ever, ever do this observer thing again.

For myself, I gained a whole new appreciation for breaking news reporters. Knowing when to sound off and when to be quiet is challenging.

For instance, when all the doom and gloom exit poll results were being aired, I was looking at the data at the bottom of the screen and saying “Hold it! He’s winning in a lot of places.”

As for the blog, I hope it can someday soon go back to its 2x weekly (Tuesday and Friday) schedule, covering general political doings and commenting on same.

But then again, if there’s breaking news…

____________________________________________________________

Celebrate Veteran’s Day!

Without our vets, none of this election stuff would be happening.

From the bottom of our hearts – Thank you.

From → op-ed

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