2016 will be remembered by its losers, not its victor.

Cyril Burchenal, Columnist

The 2012 presidential election was hailed at the time as the most contentious and unpleasant campaign for the electorate in history. Four years later we can look back with nostalgia at a time when the worst thing a presidential nominee did was put his dog on top of a car. The 2016 election will almost certainly be remembered more by its losers than its victors. This will almost certainly be the case in the event of a Clinton win.

The electoral success Bernie Sanders is indicative of frustration with the establishment. Sanders is still significant for a few reasons. Firstly, he has challenged several long held, but unspoken, American political laws. The most obvious of these nuances is Sanders’ self described socialism. Few words in the American lexicon are as politically toxic as socialist. Sanders went farther on a socialist platform than anyone in history. His success is representative of changing perceptions of socialism and role of government. Sanders campaign platform of being anti big money, emboldened by the perceived corruption in other presidential campaigns, shattered the notion that big money backing was necessary to win state primaries and have a shot at the party nomination.

Significant also, is the volatile response to the Sanders campaign from the party whom he was running for the nomination of. Sanders supporters were in active revolt upon the Wikileaks reveal that party officials had colluded to undermine the Sanders campaign. This revelation prompted the resignation of several high ranking party officials. There is little doubt among Sanders supporters that the democratic process was hijacked by Clinton backers inside the party. Also contested was the role of superdelegates, party officials with larger votes than regular delegates unbound by votes in primaries. Many have argued that superdelegates are undemocratic, and should be removed from the election process. These revelations will not expire with this election. The trust of many liberals and progressives in the the Democratic party has been sincerely and severely damaged. Just as I believe it will take the Republican party year to repair its image after the Trump campaign, I believe it will take the Democratic Party a long time to regain the trust of many disenfranchised voters.

Beyond Sanders, the conservative side of the isle is certainly defined by who did well during the 2016 presidential campaign for party nominee. The categoric failure of party favorites such as Kasich and Rubio to firebrand such as Cruz and Trump demonstrates both a failure of the Republican party to understand its electorate and a great deal of frustration among conservative voters.

In the case of a Clinton victory 2016 will be defined by who lost the election, not who won. While it is simplistic to say that Clinton’s first term will be the same as a third Obama term, Clinton does not appear to be a great reformer in her party.