When Barack Obama first ran, he started something amazing. He was someone we liberals could look up to. We didn’t care about his party. We cared about him and what we believed he could do for us. Then we (and the Democratic party) forgot about, or perhaps dismissed, the power that such depth and charisma bring.
We didn't get it when Bernie started galvanizing support and attracting huge crowds, exemplifiying the very reality that was happening on the Republican side. We didn't get it, even as Trump, a man who was aligned with his party in name only, was growing in popularity before our eyes.
Instead, we shoved Bernie aside to make way for Hillary, a woman who shared our ideals but who, as a candidate, was entrenched in the Democratic party and could not separate herself from it. Unlike Obama, Bernie, and Trump, she could not rise above her party and be that person we believed spoke for us.
Our ideals remained strong, but they alone were not enough. As Hillary went about campaigning the tried and true way, fundraising like crazy and blanketing the airwaves with ads, and yet failed to draw the same stadium-sized crowds that her opponent did, we should have seen where this was heading.
Of course, the polls misled us and helped suspend our feelings of hope and denial. (And when Trump said he didn't trust the polls when they didn't favor him, we had all the more reason to believe the polls were reliable.) And then there was Trump himself and our basic faith in human beings. How many times did we convince ourselves that someone so despicable would ever gain enough support to be President?
Could Bernie have defeated Trump? Would Hillary have won had it not been for Comey's devastating letter to Congress? That's hard to say. But I do think we may have been doomed given that the candidate opposing Trump relied on a system that reaches voters in a way that just no longer works.
What now? It's pretty simple. The Democratic party has to come to grips with the fact that we Americans no longer care about party. What we do care about is electing someone we believe speaks for us. As Michael Moore said, the Democratic party should support a candidate who is beloved.
Hopefully, the party will now find and support candidates whom we can enthusiastically get behind.