Can we just end the 2016 presidential election already?
It seems more and more as though Americans are stuck in an endless loop that won’t allow anyone to move past Nov. 8.
Like the Bill Murray character in the classic movie “Groundhog Day,” every morning brings new hope for progress but quickly turns into a repeat of the vote and its aftermath.
Surprise: Nothing has changed.
Part of it is the failure of President Donald Trump’s detractors to acknowledge he won. Notice, though, the title that preceded his name in the last line.
He’s a dose of reality: Trump won. Yes, challenger Hillary Clinton received significantly more of the popular vote — 48.2 percent to Trump’s 46.1 percent — but Trump took the all-important electoral votes, which ultimately determine the winner.
Time seemed to ease the backlash against the Electoral College system just in time for Trump to reignite the anger and turn the calendar back with unfounded allegations of illegal voting.
“In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally,” @realDonaldTrump posted Nov. 27.
And it’s Nov. 8 again.
That, of course, resulted in every news organization — legitimate or otherwise — throwing logs onto the fire. Political pundits grasping to fill hours latched onto every statement past the point of anyone caring.
And it stayed Nov. 8.
The media are not solely to blame for perpetrating this national distraction that has sucked us all in. There’s been a whole lot of assertions of “fake news,” questions about Russian ties and personal lawsuits, debates about how much time is spent on the golf course, and embellished claims on all sides of the political chasm about what has actually been done or not done.
It seemed things were moving forward on the calendar with the approach of Trump’s first 100 days in office. There was actual discussion of things that mattered: the nation’s relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping and other world leaders, tensions between the United States and Russian President Vladimir Putin, that pesky little threat of nuclear war from North Korea.
But here we go back to Nov. 8.
In an interview with three reporters from Reuters, Trump steered the talk from his time in office back to the election. He gave each a map color-coding his Electoral College wins.
“[H]e had a copy for each of us. It was just clear that the election … remains very much on his mind,” Jeff Mason, the White House correspondent for Reuters, told CNN.
Trump was not alone. This week, Clinton spoke in an untypically unguarded manner about the presidential election, placing the blame for her loss on such things as an 11th hour letter by FBI Director Jim Comey about an investigation into Clinton’s campaign that ended up showing nothing and perceived intrusion into the election by Russia.
“If the election had been on Oct. 27, I would be your president,” Clinton said at the Women for Women International summit in New York.
And if the election had been March 24, 2015, Ted Cruz would have won.
It didn’t happen, but that provided just enough of a jab to set Trump’s fingers ablaze as he tweeted responses.
And it was Nov. 8 all over.
It’s understandable to some degree that the strange and unique circumstances of the 2016 presidential election will continue to provide fodder for debate and discussion.
But to allow it to become so all-consuming is dangerous. Instead of focusing that energy into the minutia of the particulars of what happened, it’s time to move on.
There are so many more pressing issues that should be addressed.
It’s May 11, 2017. Let’s catch up.
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