The failure known as political moderation


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According to Bernie Sander’s official website, “Bernie Sanders is running for president to defeat Donald Trump and transform our economy to one that works for all of us and not just the one percent.”

Thompson Wakefield, Journalism Student

Hillary Clinton, one of the most famous American politicians of all time and former first lady lost to America’s laughing stock Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election, despite having an advantage in nearly every poll. How on earth did this happen?


The answer to this question differs from person to person, ranging from weird conspiracy theories to… weird conspiracy theories. Democrats will blame the Russians, Bernie Bros, voter suppression and pretty much anything under the sun except for Hillary herself. To me, the answer’s obvious. I’ve never met a single person who was excited to go out and vote for Hillary.


Both Republicans and Democrats, progressives and conservatives, socialists and libertarians agreed that “President Clinton” was something that belonged in the past. In fact, this wasn’t the only time Americans unified behind the more radical candidate. Moderate Democrats lost in the presidential elections of 1980, 2000 and 2004 to their more radical Republican opponents. 


Which brings us to why Hillary and likeminded moderates fail when it comes to modern American elections. 


For the last few decades, Americans have been unsatisfied, to say the least. A Gallup poll taken every month for the last 40 years shows that the last time the majority of Americans were satisfied with the state of American was January of 2004. These Americans want a fundamental change in our society and a candidate who promises them that change. Donald Trump won the 2016 election because he promised to make a radical change.


This, in turn, created voters who were more than excited to vote for Trump. They bought merch, went to rallies and shared with the entire world how much they loved their new Reagan. Meanwhile, Clinton was advocating for the same old faux progressivism that we’ve seen in every other Democrat for the last 100 years.


Clinton was boring, old and lame. Trump was original, crazy and promised a new America to those who wanted it. That was all that mattered to American voters. That is why the first female senator from New York, former first lady and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lost to self-admitted rapist, barely literate and fraudulent reality TV host Donald Trump (The New York Times, “Transcript: Donald Trump’s Taped Comments About Women,” The Atlantic, “The President Who Doesn’t Read,” Vanity Fair, “Trump Ordered to Pay $2 Million Over Scam Foundation”).


But it’s not just Clinton that fails when it comes to this type of “safe vote” politics. Right now the Democratic frontrunner is former Vice President Joe Biden, a man who stands for everything Clinton did: nothing. If Democrat voters choose Biden to be the nominee there will be another four years of Trump for all the same reasons.


The only way candidates can win modern American elections is to be radical, new and different. A Business Insider poll shows that around a third of Democrat voters fear that unless the nominee is a progressive, they will lose the 2020 election. A third of voters, however, is not enough. No matter who the candidate is, what party they belong to or what beliefs they hold, Americans will always choose the one who advocates for a serious change, and Democrats need to learn this to beat Trump and future far-right candidates.