If I had somehow appropriated Ethan Coen‘s witty, mordant humor and written his N.Y. Times “2016 Election Thank You Notes” piece myself, nearly the exact same article would have resulted. I would have, however, added four extra “thank you!”s to the eight Coen listed.
9. Low-information black voters who stopped Bernie Sanders’ momentum and more or less ensured Hillary Clinton’s victorious lead in the Democratic primary race. We can argue the reasons for Hillary’s dark electoral fate, but we now know for sure that losing was in the cards all along. Millions of us believe that Sanders, who caught on bigly because he spoke to the same working-class frustrations that Trump did, could have won in the end. (A Presidential race between two change candidates would have been tight, but I really think Bernie would have edged Trump out because of his obvious moral decency and intellectual superiority.) But his campaign died when southern African American voters shunned him at the polls. The reason was that they weren’t “all that familiar” with Sanders, and that they felt a natural kinship with Clinton because she’s associated with the liberal largesse of her husband’s administration. Nobody wanted to say that “aren’t all that familiar with” was code for (a) lazy, incurious, low-information attitudes and (b) a brilliant presumption that despite Sanders having gotten arrested for demonstrating for civil rights in the mid ’60s, a U.S. Senator from a mostly all-white state (i.e., Vermont) can’t be trusted to understand or respond to the concerns of black voters. Well done, fellas!
10. Jon Stewart for his refusal to launch his own Presidential campaign in the wake of his retirement from The Daily Show. Don’t kid yourself — the first serious Jewish presidential candidate would have beaten the pants off Trump. People don’t care if you’re a professional politician or not — they just want to vote for someone they like and trust and can relate to. Stewart is smart, passionate, personable, knows his stuff. If he’d had gone all-in, he could’ve done it. I’m not joking — he really could’ve saved us from a Trump presidency. But he decided to spend time with his kids instead. Final thought: Spending time with your kids at the breakfast table is well and good, but kids learn and grow by their parents’ example.
11. Elizabeth Warren for obeying the Democratic power brokers by not challenging Hillary for the Democratic nomination. The main reason why Bernie ran was because Elizabeth chickened out. Without the Hillary baggage, Warren could and probably would have beaten Clinton for the nomination, I believe, and she would have beaten Trump for for the same reasons Sanders might well have won. She’s a genuine change agent, a firebrand, is more likable than Hillary, is more open-hearted and is a generally a better campaigner, etc.
12. Sasha Stone and other rabid Hillary-bots for generating adversarial stink-bomb clouds in the blogosphere in their attempts to bludgeon and shame Sanders supporters for not chanting “I’m with her!” The anti-male hectoring and lecturing, the angry finger-pointing, the dismissal of Sanders as an unelectable candidate, the insistence that Hilary was the only consensus candidate who could win and the insistence that Hillary’s candidacy was a huge glass-ceiling opportunity & that a historical moment was about to happen, etc. All of which we now know was mostly bullshit. (I agree with Sasha’s attempt to shame and ridicule Jill Stein and Gary Johnson voters.) It wasn’t a female Presidential candidate whom voters failed to support in sufficient numbers — it was Hillary they didn’t like.
My three favorite Ethan “thank you!” mentions: