Monday, November 14, 2016

Trump Victory: Why and How?

The Woman Who Beat Hillary

Did Donald Trump win the election of 2016 or did Hillary Clinton lose it, or was it a combination of both? To answer the question let’s first get past the Electoral College business. It is true that Clinton actually beat Trump in the popular vote by less than 1% of the more than 120 Million votes cast. But Trump won the election by carrying enough states to win by a good margin in the Electoral college. 

In the seven games of the recent World Series the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians both scored the same number of runs but no one would ever suggest that the hard fought series ended in a tie. The Cubs were clear winners because their dramatic victory in the seventh game of the series gave them a clear margin of 4 games to 3. If the World Series had been decided on the basis of total runs scored, it would have been a completely different ballgame.

In the same way if the Presidential election was based on the total popular vote count, the whole election process would have been a completely different ballgame. Both sides would have mounted different campaigns with markedly different strategies. No matter what one thinks of the Electoral College, it is completely bogus to suggest changing the rules after the game has been played, especially since both sides had agreed to play by those rules. In fact, no Democrat ever complained about the Electoral College as long as Hillary Clinton was leading in the polls.

So, what explains the dramatic result that hardly any poll or pundit had predicted? Democrats are offering a number of explanations. Hillary Clinton seems to blame her loss on James Comey, the director of the FBI. She claims his surprise announcement that he was going to reopen the email investigation after earlier indicating that it was no longer worth pursuing stopped her momentum in its tracks.

However, as the results were coming in on election night distraught Democrat sympathizers were putting the blame on Clinton herself. The vote counters at CNN were forced to admit that Clinton was running well behind President Obama’s 2012 totals among Blacks, and Hispanics. She was also not getting the high percentage of votes she needed among women voters. Some commentators even began to admit that Clinton was a weak, flawed candidate to begin with. This was a startling admission for throughout the campaign none of her supporters had ever expressed the least doubt.

I stayed up till 1:00 on Election night and flicked between channels but failed to find anyone who would credit Trump and his strategy for the victory. Yet, he had campaigned hard and enthusiastic crowds appeared at all of his rallies. At a last minute rally in Michigan 30000 people waited to hear him address them at 1:00 in the morning. He had spent all that day appearing before enthusiastic crowds in five or six separate states. Despite his tarnished reputation, I don’t think I have ever seen a candidate generate such enthusiasm.

One commentator did admit that maybe in this election, enthusiasm counted for more than political organization. In key battleground states it is clear that more Republican and Independent voters came out for Trump than came out for Mitt Romney in 2012. At the same time, Hillary Clinton fell short of the votes gained by Barack Obama in 2012.

In the end, I believe that historians will look back and find that Trump, despite his flaws, was riding a great wave that began in 2010 when Republicans won back the House of Representatives only two years after Obama’s overwhelming victory in 2008. The House of Representatives is still the most responsive part of the Federal government, especially since each Representative must run every two years. Even with President Obama’s repeat victory in 2012 the wave continued to gain momentum when the Republicans gained control of the Senate in 2014.

Democrats and their many supporters in the media think that demographics are on their side but they largely ignored this populist groundswell though out the country. As I watched CNN throughout the campaign I was amazed at how much commentators talked and how little they listened. It was not just that pundits on both sides shouted down their opponents, but also that they failed to use their own eyes. Viewer got opinion but little actual reporting.

For example, on almost the eve of the election one panel worried about voter suppression tactics that they thought Trump supporters would use to keep the Black and Hispanic vote down. During the discussion the moderator asked a CNN reporter on the scene in either Florida or North Carolina whether he observed any voter suppression. He said that he had not seen any and that the presence of so many poll watchers meant that anyone who wanted to vote would be able to. The panel brushed aside this report and continued to bemoan voter suppression.

I don’t think that the wave that began in 2010 is necessarily Republican or Conservative. I think it is a wave of the under-privileged against the privileged. By under-privileged I mean those who have come to believe that they work and pay taxes to support those who get government benefits and privileges often without working. These people have to pay for their own medical insurance and receive no subsidies. They do not have the pension benefits that government employees and public service union members enjoy. They only have Social Security.

Perhaps the most shocking statistic coming out of the election was the vote in Washington D.C. where the nation’s Capital gave its three electoral votes to Hillary Clinton by a 96% to 4% margin. I know that there is a large Black population in Washington but it also appears that the overwhelming majority of people who work for the Federal Government are Democrats. Almost as revealing was the fact that more than 90% of the media covering the election were contributors to the Democrat party.

The new under-privileged are caught in the middle. They pay for the benefits enjoyed by wealthy Congressmen and well-to-do government employees, and also pay for the benefits and subsidies that go to the increasing number of those who do not or cannot work. They do not get food stamps, Medicaid, or housing assistance.

During the election campaign they saw Wall Street billionaires and hedge fund managers contributing massive amounts to the Clinton campaign. They saw wealthy entertainers and athletes campaigning for Hillary Clinton. Moreover, despite their hard work and patriotism they have to stand by and hear themselves called bigots, racists, and homophobes.

I don’t believe that Hillary Clinton lost the election because of her lies and emails. She lost the election when she spoke one line straight from the heart. She really meant it when she called Trump supporters “deplorables.”



  1. Claire comments from CT:

    Good analysis. You didn't mention the demonstrations after the election. The media is justifying them by invoking the first amendment. However, if the election had gone the other way and Trump supporters were doing the demonstrations, you can be assured that the media would not mention the first amendment but would say that the demonstrators were not accepting the results and were undermining the democratic process.

  2. Jim comments from CT:

    Yes, yes and yes. Good piece. All during the campaign we heard about the Clinton ground game but nothing of the work that Priebus, Bannon and Kellyanne were doing. His team was considered second-rate. It was a great win. The spurned white voters of the rust belt have spoken. They never felt included in Obama's America.

  3. Jim from CT comments again,

    So many moral maxims afforded to us from this November surprise. Never arrange a fireworks display on the Hudson before the polls close in the blue states. If you don't visit your ground game in Wisconsin, prepare to punt. Beware the other candidates campaign manager (kellyanne), she picked blueberries in the fields as a teenager - paid by the berry. Trump's campaign chief sweated like an immigrant with a rake in her hand and her knees in the bramble. Hillary's loser status is now imprinted in American political folklore. She was twice-dubbed entitled to the office and twice upended. Dems now make Comey the villain, but they fail to note that SHE was the one with the home brew server and the classified materials muddled in. She treated the Chappaqua house as an outbuilding to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Not so fast, Lady.