Donald J. Trump is going to be the 45th President of the United States. I have been wrong about Trump throughout the entire run of this election. I thought his lead in the primary polls would evaporate once actual voting had to be done. I did not think he would secure the GOP nomination and when he did I didn’t believe he would be the next President. I’m telling you that I was wrong and comicly wrong at that so that you can determine how many grains of salt to take with the rest of my post. But this post is my analysis of what happened.
I will also, in the interest of full disclosure, tell you that when I voted a few weeks ago, I left the Presidential section of my ballot blank. I did not like Trump, I did not like Clinton and for awhile I was intending to vote for Gary Johnson. His lack of knowledge of foreign policy prevented me from doing so. I’m telling you this because I want you to understand that I had no dog in this fight much like when I watched game 7 of the world series last week.
First and foremost I believe a lot of people made one big mistake when underestimating the appeal of Donald Trump. I don’t think a lot of people involved in the Clinton campaign or her supporters did a good job of getting to know or attempting to relate to the Trump voters. In particular, they failed to really attempt to understand people who were going to vote for Trump that had either never voted before atall or had never voted Republican before Trump.
Like most people, I was appalled at what my Facebook feed had turned into as the election drew closer. I saw crazy links from both sides and enough name calling to last a thousand lifetimes. ButI did notice a pattern. My friends who supported Trump were more likely to be critical of Hillary than of her supporters while my Clinton supporting friends were more likely to criticize Trump supporters than they were the man himself…which says a lot since there was obviously no shortage of criticism for Trump.
Even as results came in, I saw a lot of people saying that America was full of ignorant racists. I submit to you that the ignorant ones were those who were unwilling to hear out the Trump supporters. Even if Donald Trump himself is a racist it does not follow that all of his supporters have to be racists as well. You can vote for a candidate without agreeing with that candidate on every issue. I believe that Hillary Clinton is a bully but I don’t think that everyone who voted for her is a bully simply because she happens to be one. I’ll come back to this bully thing in a bit.
The media painted the worst possible picture of Trump supporters. That’s what the media does. If we’re not afraid of something or someone then we’re not watching the news and they’re not making money. But I think that if a lot of my friends who called Trump voters racist biggotted klansmen actually sat down with them and asked them why they felt like they were without a voice in Washington and felt disaffected that they would have been surprised to learn that they probably had more in common with Trump supporters than they ever would have imagined.
As for the bully mentality issue. I said above that I believe Hillary Clinton is a bully. It does not take a lot of research to reach that conclusion, assuming that it is a conclusion you are willing to hear. But Donald Trump is also a bully. I tried to stay away from as many campaign ads as I could during this election but watching game 7 of the world series last week blew that plan all to hell. The most memorable ad for me was the Clinton ad that was just Trump saying horrible things. So his status as a bully isn’t in dispute with me either.
And this is where I was annoyed quite a bit by Trump supporters. I had one tell me that I was falling for media spin because I called Trump a bully. That would be a perfectly reasonable accusation to level in my direction except for the fact that I didn’t reach that conclusion by watching the news. Original research is something you get used to doing when you take debate for three years in High School.
So both candidates are bullies so isn’t it a wash? Well, I saw one exit poll result that said that Donald Trump faired better among people who hated both candidates and given the way this election played out there were plenty of people in that group.
I think I know why Trump did better in that group. As uncomfortable as it is for me to say this because of how much I dislike bullies, Trump was at least an honest bully. Hillary is a bully who tried not to be a bully. Is the wolf more dangerous or is it the wolf in sheep’s clothing?
If Hillary had come out and said that she was a hard ass and that she understood why people didn’t like her but that’s who she was, people would have given her credit for honesty. And Hillary Clinton has always had an honesty problem because when people perceive you to be dishonest that matters more than if you actually are. I’m not saying that’s how the world should work just that it is how the world does work.
So yes, I believe a lot of people voting thought to themselves that they didn’t like either candidate but figured that at least Trump had no problem showing his true colors. In that respect he was the more honest of the two candidates in this campaign.
Back in July, I had a conversation with my friend Amanda. During this conversation, I told her that there was one question I thought they should ask during every Presidential election poll. I think every time there is a Presidential election, pollsters should ask voters which candidate they would rather have a beer with. I explained that people would pick the candidate they would most rather spend time with on a personal level.
She asked me about this election and I wasn’t immediately certain of the answer. I freely admitted that this particular election would try my theory because of how unlikeable both candidates are. But when pressed to make my personal pick, I went with Trump.
I could see myself having fun with Trump in a bar and I’m quite confident that the evening would be on him. In Hillary’s case, I have no problem invisioning a scenario in which she thought it would be my privilege to pay for her drink.
So using this rather unscientific method I guess I predicted a Trump win. But since I never actually said that he was going to win, it doesn’t count. But the theory did hold last night.
Hillary Clinton did not lose the election because she is a woman. Hillary Clinton’s loss does not mean that a woman will never be President of the United States as some on my Facebook feed would suggest. She was just not the right woman. Likeability hurt her incredibly but if she were a man I don’t know that she would have been any more likeable. I have always said that one of Hillary’s problems, at least for me was the fact that whenever she gave a speech, it felt like she was yelling at me for something I didn’t do.
I believe a woman will be President, sooner than you think. I even know of one that I would love to see run. She’s currently doing a great job as the govoner of South Carolina.
There are other small factors. Donald Trump garnered 22% of the vote from those who believe that the country should continue Obama’s policies or become more liberal. Obviously that’s not a majority of that catagory but it is probably higher than you would have predicted.
Polling is unreliable and the mainstream media has no credibility. These aren’t really reasons Trump won as much as they are things that we need to consider going forward.
Wikileaks hurt Clinton. As a pretty conservative person in general, I thought Wikileaks was the gift that kept on giving when it came to Clinton. One of the more recent revelations was that while Clinton was publicly in favor of gay marriage, privately she was still opposed to it. The mainstream media might not have hit Wikileaks and those revelations very hard but they weren’t hard to find thanks to social media.
By the way, when I refer to the mainstream media, I include Fox News. Some don’t because of the fact that Fox News gives a stronger voice to the right than other news networks. But I consider them mainstream media because the TV ratings they get compared to their competitors proves that they are.
If my liberal readers and friends need some encouragement, I will now offer it. Once it became clear that the Senate wasn’t going to change hands, you might have been better off with a Trump Presidency. The reason is that the party of the President tends to do worse in mid-term elections and if Trump is as bad as you all think he’s going to be, then it is a virtual lock that you gain both houses in 2018. But a Clinton win would not only have likely guaranteed Republican gains in 2018 but those gains wouldn’t have resulted in the House and Senate flipping but would have strengthened their majority. At that point nothing she would have wanted to do would have gotten done. If Trump is as bad as you all think he’ll be a one-term President and democrats will control the two chambers of Congress and the White House in early 2021.
You could lose in the short-term and I know that the Supreme Court could see many shifts in the next four years but this might have turned out better for your party over the long hall than a Clinton Presidency. Marathon vs. sprint and all that jazz.
I liked Trump’s speech. I even clapped once despite being by myself. I really liked the fact that he thanked the Secret Service. As far as I am concerned, those guys and gals cannot be thanked enough. I’ve been critical of the Obama administration since almost the beginning but all reports say that he and Michelle treat the Secret Service very well and I like and respect him for that. Those same sources say Hillary treats them poorly and I feel like how the candidates treat the Secret Service is one of those things that should matter more than it does.
The funniest part of this whole thing for me is the realization that a Trump victory is part of Barack Obama’s legasy. I believe Obama has done quite a bit to divide this country over the past eight years and that did a lot to get Trump elected. In fact, one reason Trump was victorious is because he used an Obama campaign strategy. He reached out to voters who felt like their voices had been silenced and their views marginalized and it worked. The irony is that Obama is probably having a hard time understanding how Trump won but he really shouldn’t since Trump won with his message. And I know the man woud never admit it but since he never liked Hillary either, there’s probably a part of him okay with her losing.
The 2016 election cycle has been a trip to the worst circus ever. But it is over now and we probably won’t start the 2020 race until some time next week. If I can say one thing good about this race it is that it will make for one awesome book. The audiobook version of which will probably be 50 hours long so buckle up.