Here are some amazing things to think about with the Trump win.
1) It’s highly likely we will never hear from Hillary Clinton again! Yay! Can I get a 21-gun salute? She Who Would Be Queen has been silenced. Hopefully, she’ll crawl back to Chappaqua to lick her wounds and those of us who saw through her will never have to contemplate her existence again.
2) Trump won. Okay, I voted 3rd Party, so I had nothing to do with it, but let’s take a pause and note that the polls were wrong. The projections were incorrect. Trump’s victory was the most stunning repudiation of pollster models since Truman beat Dewey, but more, Republicans held the House and the Senate in a wave of change that the “professionals” didn’t see coming. The political professionals are going to be doing some deep soul-search for at least the next two years. How could they have missed it?
It’s called arrogance, pure and simple. The media fell back on their old adage that you shouldn’t pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel, but in the Internet age, that adage isn’t really holding up so well. They picked a fight with someone who knows how to use pixels by the gigabyte.
3) There was and is a Trump coalition. The white, working-class turned out like never before, overwhelming the Democrats “blue wall” of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. Democrats won urban areas, of course, but they lost the suburban areas and most all of the rural areas. The “about to be a minority” white voters supported Trump with amazing margins. Trump had claimed he had “hidden” supporters that the polls weren’t finding. I guess he was right.
A lot of them may be folks like my father-in-law … a traditional Democratic voter … who lost his business during the 2008 recession and couldn’t rebuild his retirement in Obama’s “recovery”. At 76, he’s never voted Republican before. He did this time (though, my husband Brad voted for Gary Johnson and snapped a cell-phone pic in the booth to prove it to me). When I spoke on the telephone with him about this, I teased him that it was because Clinton was a woman and he corrected me. “If it had been you running or that HP gal or even that ex-governor of yours … they’ve have had my vote. I don’t oppose women running the show so long as they know what they’re doing.”
Part of the reason for my father-in-law’s dramatic voting switch in his mid-70s has to do with Clinton labeling Trump’s supporters as irredeemable and “deplorable”. Some of those she was painting as evil were people he considers friends and he admired how they claimed the epithet as a badge of honor that just made them more determined to vote for Trump and bring others with them.
4) Clinton lacked a coalition. I think this shocked me more than anything else, because the Clintons have always been good at creating coalitions that make them stronger than they really should have been. Hillary was sure that Latino voters, blacks and college-educated women would turn out like never before to match Trump’s strength with white voters. She failed to recognize that as the Democratic Party has shifted further left, relying on a largely urban base, the “blue dogs” have been moving out of the Democratic Party to join the ranks of independents, Republicans and Libertarians. The formerly ill-informed working-class voters who supported Bill Clinton have discovered the Internet and no longer follow obediently after their partisan masters. Furthermore, they objected strongly to being told that our government must spy on them to make us safe while people like Hillary Clinton make us less safe by insinuating US troops into conflicts around the world. What’s more, Trump experienced a slightly larger percentage of support from blacks and Latinos than Mitt Romney did in 2012, suggesting that even the historically obsessed vote for the black community may be shifting.
4) Campaign tools can’t outstrip what people know for certain. Clinton’s campaign infrastructure was pretty impressive. It had targeted, identified and reached crucial voters in battleground states. She enormously outspent Trump on TV ads, set up many more field offices, and dispatched more staff to swing states and did this much earlier. Trump seemed amateurish in comparison, with his scattershot organization, entirely reliant on the Republican National Committee for all get-out-the-vote operations.
None of it mattered. Organization did not beat message and policy. People could look around at their lives and see that a third Obama term was not in their best interest.
5) There was no down-ballot damage
Republicans in almost all instances assumed Trump would be a drag on the party’s hopes of keeping Senate control. He wasn’t and in some states, Trump appears to have had coattails, outperforming the GOP Senate candidates in Indiana and Missouri. He ran roughly even with those in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, New Hampshire and Wisconsin.
I think this was mostly due to the arrogance of the Democrats, who believed they had the “golden ticket” when Donald Trump officially earned the nomination. “They worked to nationalize every race,” according to Ward Baker, executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. “[A]nd when the bottom fell out of Clinton’s candidacy, they had no message, no strategy, and no ability to pivot to local issues.”
I don’t think Trump’s victory is anything to celebrate, except … except for this one thing. Well, two … the first being that it is a rejection of arrogance among those who would be our rulers. Donald Trump … beware …
Second, Hillary Clinton represented (still does) the status quo in the country. For all her perceived inevitability, Hillary was precisely the wrong candidate for this election. She was everything people hate about politics — fundamentally dishonest Washington insider, more indebted to the corporate and foreign interests that enriched her family and the Clinton Foundation than to the people she was asking to elect her and running as a third term for the Obama administration. It’s historically rare for one party to hold power in the US for three terms when times are good, but economic anxiety is very real right now. People rightly feel displaced and scared and Obama and Hillary’s insistence that “everything is awesome” sounded tone deaf and stupid. Wake up and smell the economic swamp, blue backs!
And, cue the fireworks – the traditional left-right spectrum doesn’t seem to make sense anymore. Trump is half New Deal populist, half arch conservative. Bernie Sanders sounded like Ron Paul, except on trade, when he sounded like Donald Trump. What is the definition of a liberal? What is the definition of a conservative? Maybe we should start thinking of politics as it really exists — as a spectrum between liberty and authoritarianism.
I don’t think Trump’s victory means we’re moving toward liberty away from authoritarianism. He’s pretty authoritarian, ala FDR, who was one of our more authoritarian presidents. I think we may learn a lot of rough lessons about the dangers of unlimited executive power of the next few years. The results of any one election is not going to fix what is wrong in this country. Maybe 2020 will … maybe.
What is worth celebrating, however, is that the establishment got its bell rung on Tuesday. The people chose change and this time it wasn’t the cozy relationship between the insiders in politics, business, and the media that Obama represented. They chose an outsider. And, despite the overwhelming pressure on social media and elsewhere to pick one of the two evils, Gary Johnson received more votes than any third party candidate since 1996. People are fed up with the two-party duopoly and young voters are not set in their ways or propagandized yet. If Trump doesn’t pull at least a few rabbits out of his hat, I predict a Libertarian sweep and the increasing rise of other 3rd parties in 2020.
So what should we hope for in the next four years. I don’t hope for the “winner” to run roughshod over the “losers”. I hope we’ll adopt some simple rules that treat everyone the same so long as we’re not hurting someone or stealing each other’s stuff. In a deeply divided and diverse nation, tolerance and liberty are our best tools for coming out better on the far end.