This is an archived article that was published on in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The outpouring from the left since Nov. 8 has been overwhelming in its mixture of outrage, shock, grief and fear. There are good reasons for each emotion, as no one can truly predict how the next four years will unfold or how the balance between Donald Trump's campaign rhetoric and actual policy will shake out.

I confess to finding myself going through many of the same feelings. But if there's one thing I feel more than anything else, it's anger. Not anger at the president-elect, not anger at his supporters, not anger at the right-wing media that stoked the nativist flames that produced the president-elect, but anger at a Democratic establishment that seems to have done everything it could to hand him the election on a platter.

Since the 1980 shellacking Democrats took from Ronald Reagan and the so-called moral majority, the Dem establishment has been in a perpetual state of fear. It doesn't seem to matter that the Democrats have won handily several times since then, something fundamentally changed. Gone are the days of FDR and John Kennedy's liberal populism and the mighty defenders of economic egalitarianism in the White House.

For 36 years, it seems the lesson embedded in the upper echelons of the Democratic establishment is that the country has rejected such policies, and what must instead be embraced is the startlingly unequal distribution of wealth and power of neoliberalism.

Thirty-six years of these policies from both the left and the right has left us with a devastated middle-class, and a rapidly growing working class that's tired of listening to promises that things will get better while so-called "free trade" deals with virtually no labor safeguards ship our jobs overseas and keep wages low. We're tired of watching our prison population burgeon, of the constant wars that seem to be entirely shouldered by the working classes.

The year 2016 was, like 2008, a year of change, a year of the middle and working classes standing up and shouting enough.

President Obama won his election eight years ago on those grand promises of being willing to turn the system on its head, undoing the massive powers that had been given to the executive under the George W. Bush administration, and putting the country back to work.

Sadly, that's not what happened. To be clear, I'm not laying all of this at the president's feet. There have certainly been some great accomplishments and improvements. But our wars are expanding, those same anti-worker trade deals are increasing and, while the economy as a whole has slowly recovered (although primarily for those who work on Wall Street), it remains bottom-heavy as the fruits of workers' labor seem to be feeding the establishment while social mobility has all but disappeared.

So when people say they voted for Trump because they're hoping he'll burn down the establishment's house of cards, I get it. I think they're in for a rude wakeup when they see the results of a right-wing nativist in the Oval Office, but I get the hope.

By contrast, in this year of change, the DNC ignored every neon-flashing warning sign of the meaning behind the firestorm of excitement around Bernie Sanders (the progressive system-flipping character), choosing instead to nominate the person who seemed to embody what the country saw as the problem: a corrupt establishment beneficiary.

For the DNC and Democrats to now turn around and try to blame their loss on third-party candidates and voters, or on FBI Director James Comey, or the Electoral College, or anybody other than themselves, is laughable — as if it is the voters' responsibility to get in line with a candidate or party, rather than that party and candidates' responsibility to connect with the voters.

So how to proceed? Well, in the months before he leaves office, every responsible citizen should be demanding that Obama immediately curtail the powers of the presidency expanded under George W. Bush and then broadened further under Obama. No longer can that office claim the authority to secretly declare an American citizen an enemy of the state and order their death without judicial oversight. We must demand an end to the president's ability to wage secret wars with the most powerful military in the history of the world, and the most egregious violations of privacy through mass data collection.

Will that solve everything? No. But it would mitigate some of the potentially disastrous abuses by President Trump. But most importantly, it's time for Democrats to wake up and reclaim what it means to be the party of the left.

Eric Ethington is a recovering Utah politico who lives in Logan with his partner and child.