Opinion / Chen Weihua

No use crying over spilt milk, but oh what might have been

By Chen Weihua (China Daily) Updated: 2016-11-18 07:41

No use crying over spilt milk, but oh what might have been

Republican US presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic US presidential nominee Hillary Clinton greet one another as they take the stage for their first debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, US, September 26, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]

There is a Chinese saying, shihou zhugeliang, which means it's easy to prophesize after an event or to be a Monday-morning quarterback, as Americans like to say.

After businessman Donald Trump won the US presidential election, pundits and TV commentators who fervently supported Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton started to talk about what went wrong with her campaign.

I observed the election in several places in Washington on Nov 8. A young man I talked with at a polling place near the Duke Ellington Bridge told me he came to vote for none of the candidates but to vote against all of them. Such protest voters were not a small group this year, as many Americans felt they had to choose the lesser of two evils.

In the days since the election, many Clinton supporters or anti-Trump people took to the streets to voice their opposition to the president-elect. Many still had not realized that the failure of the Clinton campaign was that she represented too much of the status quo after aligning herself with President Barack Obama.

It literally means she could not genuinely criticize many problems in US society and address the concerns of many Americans. Those problems and concerns, such as income inequality and the role of money in politics, have become so dire that Americans were angrier than ever going into this election.

In that regard, an endorsement by Obama was both a blessing and a curse for Clinton, who lost many traditional Democratic working-class districts to Trump.

The election result might have been different if Clinton had embraced some of Bernie Sanders' campaign platform after she won the Democratic primary.

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