It’s a well known fact that prior to any major championship game merchandisers print up two sets of championship gear for both teams involved in the contest. That way the merchandise of the winning team is immediately available for fans to consume in celebratory frenzy. Meanwhile, the pre-printed championship merchandise of the losing team is shipped off to people in need, creating a bizarre alternate reality of winners. For example, in Haiti the Indianapolis Colts are the 2010 Super Bowl champions — not the New Orleans Saints.
Likewise, journalists often prep articles about events before they actually take place. But, in the case of the 2016 presidential election, many more political pundits prepped for a Hillary Clinton victory than they did a Donald Trump victory. The result is a veritable treasure trove of half-written, never-published articles waxing poetic about a win that never was.
Here’s a small glimpse into that alternate reality, courtesy of Newsweek. Try not to laugh too hard.
JONATHAN CHAIT (writer and columnist, New York magazine)
Sparing the Republic from the whims of a twisted maniac is no small triumph. Clinton’s skeptics have already been denying credit for her expected victory by noting that she benefited from facing the least popular major party nominee in history, and that a normal Republican could have defeated her. This misses the extraordinary nature of the opposition that produced this unpopularity in the first place. Clinton has absorbed 25 years of relentless and frequently crazed hate directed at her husband, compounded by her status as a feminist symbol, which made her the subject of additional loathing. Her very real missteps were compounded by a press corps that treated her guilt as an unexamined background assumption. She is almost certainly the first president to survive simultaneous leak-attacks by both a faction of rogue right-wing FBI agents and Russian intelligence.
Not only did Chait assume Clinton would win, he also assumed how her detractors would try to undermine said win. Can we say “overachiever”?
MARIN COGAN (contributing editor, New York magazine, but this piece was prepared for Vox.com)
And yet: Hillary Clinton’s victory is historic—a triumph that should not be overlooked. It marks the end of centuries of exclusion of women from the nation’s top job. Even more remarkable was the way she won it: by running as a woman, who championed policies aimed at women, against an avatar of reactionary sexism. She won under politically tainted investigation, in spite of plenty of legitimate criticism, and in the face of an incredible amount of sexism. In voting for her, Americans rejected Donald Trump’s old, macho vision of leadership and embraced a new paradigm, one that values not only a new style of leadership but also a policy outlook that prioritizes women and children.
Actually, Americans embraced a policy outlook that prioritizes America and Americans. Period.
JON SCHWARZ (senior writer, The Intercept)
Okay. Okay. The 2016 election is over, and Donald Trump is not going to be president of the United States of America.
We’ve all hugged our children, husbands and wives, parents, siblings, neighbors, dogs, cats, parakeets, ocelots and so forth. Some of us may have cried with relief.
Now we have to figure out what to do next.
I highly recommend reading the rest of Schwarz’s excerpt if you want a good laugh. And afterwards, if you feel a sudden need to purchase a Make America Great Again hat with a side of smug FU, I won’t blame you.