I wanted to do a comprehensive roundup of analysis of last week’s election, so this post just grew and grew to its current Brobdingnagian size. So tuck in! There’s a lot to chew over.
Let me first note that all the pundits were wrong about this race, save two not normally regarded as pundits. Scott Adams said early on that Trump was going to win the nomination and the race through persuasion techniques (and also that human beings are fundamentally not rational, which gives me no joy at night), and Michael Moore said that Trump was going to sweep the rust belt due to blue collar anger. So props to them for getting the fundamentals right when so many others (myself included) got them wrong.
It was like looking at the lottery ticket and saying, “I think these are the winning numbers, but I’m going to go confirm them again.” . . . “Anthony Weiner.” “Underage sexting scandal.” “Hillary Clinton.” “FBI investigation.” There is no combination in which that word jumble comes up net politically positive.
Iowa: Trump by 148,000 votes (9.6 points)
Trump: 68,000 more votes than Romney
Clinton: 172,000 fewer votes than Obama
Michigan: Trump by 12,000 votes (0.3 points)
Trump: 164,000 more votes than Romney
Clinton 297,000 fewer votes than Obama
Ohio: Trump by 455,000 votes (8.6 points)
Trump: 111,000 more votes than Romney
Clinton: 511,000 fewer votes than Obama
Pennsylvania: Trump by 68,000 (1.2 points)
Trump: 223,000 more votes than Romney
Clinton: 155,000 fewer votes fewer than Obama
Wisconsin: Trump by 27,000 votes (1.0 points)
Trump: 1,500 more votes than Romney
Clinton 238,000 fewer votes than Obama
There were also states where Trump won votes, but not enough to win the state, where both lost votes, etc. Interesting wonky stuff.
Most devastating electoral defeats in United States history at least had some mitigating circumstances. In 1984, Walter Mondale got blown out by Ronald Reagan, a popular incumbent President presiding over an improving economy. Barry Goldwater lost the 1964 election by a large margin, but his opponent was another incumbent President with extensive resources to marshal.
Hillary Clinton’s stunning collapse is different. It’s hard to think of a historical analog that could come close to resembling the magnitude and depth of the failure. She had a popular incumbent President campaigning for her furiously; the popular First Lady did likewise. The economy is far healthier than it was eight or even four years ago.
The elite media almost universally loathed her rival — a conformity of opinion that we’ve never seen before in modern American politics. Wall Street was 99% behind her. The polling industry put out a constant deluge of bogus data pronouncing Donald Trump’s certain defeat.
With all these massive advantages, Hillary still somehow managed to lose to the guy from “The Apprentice.”
Six million, seventy-thousand, eight-hundred and two people voted for one of the many third-party candidates running for President. To put it into perspective, that’s more than the combined population of Houston and Chicago.
That means that the total number of people who voted against Hillary Clinton was 65,682,480 people.
In other words, Hillary Clinton received 47.6% of the popular vote.
For those keeping score, that means the majority of votes cast did not, in fact, go to Hillary Clinton.
(Hat tip: Director Blue.)
Back in Dayton, where Clinton never visited during the entire campaign, I had run into two more former Obama voters after Trump’s March rally there. Both Heath Bowling and Alex Jones admitted to having been swept up in the Obama wave, but had since grown somewhat disenchanted. Bowling, 36, a burly man with a big smile, managed a small siding and insulation business, and as he’d grown older he’d had gotten more bothered about the dependency on food stamps he saw around him, especially among members of his own generation, and demoralized by the many overdose deaths in his circle.
Jones, 30, who worked part-time at a pizza shop and delivering medicines to nursing homes, joked at first that his vote for Obama might have had to do with his having been doing a lot of drugs at the time. He grew serious when he talked about how much the Black Lives Matter protests against shootings by police officers grated on him. Chicago was experiencing soaring homicide rates, he said — why weren’t more people talking about that? He was upset that when he went out on the town in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine bar district, he had to worry about getting jumped if he was on the street past a certain hour — and that he felt constrained against complaining against it. “If I say anything about that, I’m a racist,” he said. “I can’t stand that politically correct bullshit.” He had, he said, taken great solace in confiding recently in an older black man at a bar who had agreed with his musing on race and crime. “It was like a big burden lifted from me — here was this black man agreeing with me!”
A few days after the release of the tape, which was followed by a string of accusations from women saying they had been sexually harassed and assaulted by Trump, I checked back in with Tracie St. Martin to see if she still supported him. She was working on a new gas plant in Middletown, a working-class town near Dayton that was the setting of the recent best-selling memoir “Hillbilly Elegy.” Here’s what she wrote back in a text message: “I still appreciate the honesty in some of his comments. Most of his comments. I still favor what he says he may be able to do. I am voting against Hillary, come what may with Trump. It’s important to me that ‘we the people’ actually have political power. And electing Trump will prove that. I am AMAZED at the number of people voting for him. The corruption is disgusting in the press. Yes, as of right now I am voting FOR Trump.” She was sure he would win, she said: “His support is crazy! The polls have to be wrong. Have to be fixed.”
And she shared an anecdote that reflected how differently Trump’s comments had been received in some places than others. “I’m setting steel for this new gas plant…I’m operating a rough terrain forklift,” she wrote. “So today, I kept thinking about the debate and the audio was released…And I got underneath a load of steel and was moving it…I was laughing and laughing and one of the iron workers asked ‘what are u laughing at.’ I said ‘I grabbed that load right by the pussy’ and laughed some more…And said ‘when you’re an operator you can do that ya know’, laughed all fucking day.”
The problem for the left is that, when everyone’s Hitler, nobody’s Hitler.
At which point, enter the Teflon Pussygrabber.
As for the “divisive” policy positions – a wall to keep out Mexicans, a moratorium on Muslim immigration – “divisive” appears to be elite-speak for “remarkably popular”. As with Brexit, in any functioning party system the political establishment can ignore issues that command widespread public support only for so long. In that sense, the rise of a Trump figure was entirely predictable. Indeed, I see an old quote of mine has been making the rounds on the Internet in the last couple of days. I wrote it over twelve years ago in The Daily Telegraph:
In much of western Europe, on all the issues that matter, competitive politics decayed to a rotation of arrogant co-regents of an insular elite, with predictable consequences: if the political culture forbids respectable politicians from raising certain issues, then the electorate will turn to unrespectable ones.
At which point – all together now – enter the Pussygrabber. His supporters didn’t care about his personal foibles (anymore than Rob Ford’s did) because he was raising issues nobody else wanted to talk about.
What was forgotten in all this hysteria was that Trump had brought to the race unique advantages, some of his own making, some from finessing naturally occurring phenomena. His advocacy for fair rather than free trade, his insistence on enforcement of federal immigration law, and promises to bring back jobs to the United States brought back formerly disaffected Reagan Democrats, white working-class union members, and blue-dog Democrats—the “missing Romney voters”—into the party. Because of that, the formidable wall of rich electoral blue states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, and North Carolina crumbled.
Beyond that, even Trump’s admitted crudity was seen by many as evidence of a street-fighting spirit sorely lacking in Republican candidates that had lost too magnanimously in 1992, 2008, and 2016 to vicious Democratic hit machines. Whatever Trump was, he would not lose nobly, but perhaps pull down the rotten walls of the Philistines with him. That Hillary Clinton never got beyond her email scandals, the pay-for-play Clinton Foundation wrongdoing, and the Wikileaks and Guccifer hackings reminded the electorate that whatever Trump was or had done, he at least had not brazenly broken federal law as a public servant, or colluded with the media and the Republican National Committee to undermine the integrity of the primaries and sabotage his Republican rivals.
Finally, the more Clinton Inc. talked about the Latino vote, the black vote, the gay vote, the woman vote, the more Americans tired of the same old identity politics pandering. What if minority bloc voters who had turned out for Obama might not be as sympathetic to a middle-aged, multimillionaire white woman? And what if the working white classes might flock to the politically incorrect populist Trump in a way that they would not to a leftist elitist like Hillary Clinton? In other words, the more Clinton played the identity politics card, the more she earned fewer returns for herself and more voters for Trump.
The Democratic Party is now neither a centrist nor a coalition party. Instead, it finds itself at a dead-end: had Hillary Clinton emulated her husband’s pragmatic politics of the 1990s, she would have never won the nomination—even though she would have had a far better chance of winning the general election.
Wikileaks reminded us that the party is run by rich, snobbish, and often ethically bankrupt grandees. In John Podesta’s world, it’s normal and acceptable for Democratic apparatchiks to talk about their stock portfolios and name-drop the Hamptons, while making cruel asides about “needy” Latinos, medieval Catholics, and African-Americans with silly names—who are nonetheless expected to keep them in power. Such paradoxes are not sustainable. Nor is the liberal nexus of colluding journalists, compromised lobbyists, narcissistic Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, family dynasties, and Clintonian get-rich ethics.
The old blue-collar middle class was bewildered by the leftwing social agenda in which gay marriage, women in combat units, and transgendered restrooms went from possible to mandatory party positions in an eye blink. In a party in which “white privilege” was pro forma disparagement, those who were both white and without it grew furious that the elites with such privilege massaged the allegation to provide cover for their own entitlement.
(Hat tip: Director Blue.)
3. Clinton campaign targeting: staggering incompetence. In an excellent Washington Post article, Jim Tankersley points out that in the closing weeks of the campaign, the Clinton campaign put more ads on the air in the Omaha market (aiming, presumably, at the 1 electoral vote of Nebraska 2, since Iowa’s 6 votes were clearly already lost) than in Michigan and Wisconsin combined (26 electoral votes). By one metric, during one period Republicans ran 405 ads in Michigan and 2,319 in Wisconsin while Democrats ran only 31 in Michigan and 255 in Michigan. This, despite the fact that the Clinton campaign had lots more money than the Trump campaign.
This wasn’t the only example of campaign malpractice. The Clinton campaign spent time and money on winning Arizona and Georgia, and while it performed better there than Obama had, it was not by enough to carry their 11 and 16 electoral votes, respectively. At the same time, Clinton didn’t set foot in Wisconsin (10 electoral votes) after its April 5 primary. In effect, Clinton was aiming for her 340th electoral vote and ignored the need to campaign for her 270th, which is the one that counts.
The 70-year-old Bill Clinton apparently repeatedly advised Clinton campaign chairman Robby Mook and others to campaign in white working class areas. The 36-year-old Mook spurned — perhaps ridiculed — his advice. None of this going after men who wear trucker hats unironically; let’s show Brooklyn-type Millennials that supporting Hillary is really cool.
Isn’t it just a little too pat that a guy named “Robby Mook” is being set up as the scapegoat for the Clinton campaign? Are we sure they didn’t just invent him last week just to take the fall?
“Since 2008, by our estimates, the party has shed 870 legislators and leaders at the state and federal levels — and that estimate may be on the low side. As Donald Trump might put it, that’s decimation times 50.”
“I had faith that the country had to change. It was about working-class people that rose up against the system—against both parties. I had hoped for something that would immediately bring jobs, or at least stop the bleeding, and overregulation can be stopped with a stroke of the pen. I’m excited that Obamacare could change—that’ll be a big benefit to us if we get a better health system. I’m excited about the Supreme Court. I don’t think Roe v. Wade needs overturning, but I think there are reasonable restrictions that could be put in place. This is the biggest political event in my lifetime, and I’ve lived through a lot of elections. I couldn’t be happier.”
That increase in middle-income households meant a mere $2,798 extra in annual income, and was 1.6 percent less than in 2007. The top 5 percent of earners saw a stratospheric jump of 21.8 percent in income, while the poorest Americans, a cohort of 46.7 million, are poorer than they were in 1989.
Four days before the Census Bureau’s report was released, Clinton called half of Trump’s supporters “a basket of deplorables” — something J.D. Vance, author of the best-selling memoir “Hillbilly Elegy,” told The Post was “incredibly reductionist.”
“Like a lot of people on the left, Hillary seems to want to put the Trump phenomenon on racial anxiety,” he said. “It’s a really oversimplified way to address the concerns of millions of people who feel invisible to elites.”
Plus celebrity election reactions that, once again, make them sound like smug, entitled pricks.
Had the paper actually been fair to both candidates, it wouldn’t need to rededicate itself to honest reporting. And it wouldn’t have been totally blindsided by Trump’s victory.
Instead, because it demonized Trump from start to finish, it failed to realize he was onto something. And because the paper decided that Trump’s supporters were a rabble of racist rednecks and homophobes, it didn’t have a clue about what was happening in the lives of the Americans who elected the new president.
Trump indeed was challenging, but it was [executive editor Dean] Baquet who changed journalism. He’s the one who decided that the standards of fairness and nonpartisanship could be broken without consequence.
After that, the floodgates opened, and virtually every so-called news article reflected a clear bias against Trump and in favor of Clinton. Stories, photos, headlines, placement in the paper — all the tools were used to pick a president, the facts be damned.
Now the bill is coming due. Shocked by Trump’s victory and mocked even by liberals for its bias, the paper is also apparently bleeding readers — and money.
I’ve gotten letters from people who say they canceled their Times subscriptions and, to judge from a cryptic line in a Thursday article, the problem is more than anecdotal.
Citing reader anger over election coverage, Rutenberg wrote, “Most ominously, it came in the form of canceled subscriptions.”
For starters, it’s important to accept that the New York Times has always — or at least for many decades — been a far more editor-driven, and self-conscious, publication than many of those with which it competes. Historically, the Los Angeles Times, where I worked twice, for instance, was a reporter-driven, bottom-up newspaper. Most editors wanted to know, every day, before the first morning meeting: “What are you hearing? What have you got?”
It was a shock on arriving at the New York Times in 2004, as the paper’s movie editor, to realize that its editorial dynamic was essentially the reverse. By and large, talented reporters scrambled to match stories with what internally was often called “the narrative.” We were occasionally asked to map a narrative for our various beats a year in advance, square the plan with editors, then generate stories that fit the pre-designated line.
Reality usually had a way of intervening. But I knew one senior reporter who would play solitaire on his computer in the mornings, waiting for his editors to come through with marching orders. Once, in the Los Angeles bureau, I listened to a visiting National staff reporter tell a contact, more or less: “My editor needs someone to say such-and-such, could you say that?”
The bigger shock came on being told, at least twice, by Times editors who were describing the paper’s daily Page One meeting: “We set the agenda for the country in that room.”
Having lived at one time or another in small-town Pennsylvania, some lower-rung Detroit suburbs, San Francisco, Oakland, Tulsa and, now, Santa Monica, I could only think, well, “Wow.” This is a very large country. I couldn’t even find a copy of the Times on a stop in college town Durham, N.C. To believe the national agenda was being set in a conference room in a headquarters on Manhattan’s Times Square required a very special mind-set indeed.
(Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
Too many of my progressive friends seem to have forgotten how to make actual arguments, and have become expert instead at condemnation, derision and mockery. On issue after issue, they’re very good at explaining why no one could oppose their policy positions except for the basest of motives. As to those positions themselves, they are too often announced with a zealous solemnity suggesting that their views are Holy Writ — and those who disagree are cast into the outer political darkness. In short, the left has lately been dripping with hubris, which in classic literature always portends a fall.
(Hat tip: The Other McCain.)
Donald Trump is going to be the President of the United States.
In July I wrote the piece I put up this morning acknowledging a Hillary Clinton win. It is fitting that it is the ultimate bit of being wrong after a year of being wrong about the election. I genuinely presumed Donald Trump could not win. All of the data agreed. And I and the data were wrong as were so many others.
Democrats overplayed their hand on cultural issues. They had a Supreme Court impose gay marriage on the country and then tried to force men into women’s bathrooms. On top of that, they ruined healthcare for many Americans and drove up premiums. Then they nominated the worst politician in American history. Within the next 12 hours they will take off the mask and show just how much contempt they have for the very white working class that just kicked their ass.
This piece was published the day after the election and, boy, did he get that one right.
I have never seen anything like this election. The disdain for Hillary Clinton is obvious, but the real struggles and hurt of many voters went unregistered. The data that I have long relied on to help shape my opinions is no longer reliable and, frankly, a lot of people I thought were full of crap turned out to be as right as I was wrong. There are really two Americas and I have to do better relating to one I thought I knew already.
I’m still a conservative. I still believe limited government is best and a strong man in Washington is a dangerous thing. I think protectionism is a bad idea. But I think the #NeverTrump Republicans need to do a reset and give Donald Trump the chance we did not give him up to now. There clearly were voters who would not admit to supporting Trump and they have sent a strong signal that they should be listened to.
I was wrong about so much about this election and so were so many others. The sooner we get over our pride, eat some crow, and realize we missed the mood of the country, the sooner we can move on. The Brexit polling was more accurate than the American election polling this year. That is stunning. But it is also somewhat exciting to be flying blind into the future knowing the gauges we’ve always used to see where we are going no longer work.
The media mocked him ruthlessly for putting undue weight behind rallies over polling — a fatal error, according to Mitchell. “Rallies equal newly engaged voters,” he said. In 2008 Obama had tens of thousands who stand in line for six hours because they want to experience and taste and feel all this.” Mitchell refers to them as the “monster vote” and suggests that it’s these perhaps previously disenfranchised voters who aren’t on pollster call lists. “And so the big question was, will the 20 million who didn’t vote in 2012 come out for Trump? I kept saying it’s going to happen, no question — it’ll be something like 2008 where the previously quiet black vote came out for Obama. And it did.” It’s also worth noting — while his predictions were overly enthusiastic — that Trump would do better with Latino and black voters, and there’d be a low black voter turnout.
You found the taste of defeat so novel and exciting that you’ve become intoxicated by it. Indeed, you’ve done everything you possibly could over these past few days to ensure that your losses are magnified and replicated in the future. Not satisfied to simply lose in 2016, you’ve now begun the project of losing in 2020 and beyond.
Truly, your performance since Tuesday has been astounding in its tone deafness. It’s hard for me to believe that anyone could paint such a masterpiece of ineptitude and self-destruction by accident. I can only conclude that you’re doing it on purpose because, for whatever reason, you are not satiated by just one stunning, historic loss. You want more. And if that is in fact your aim, I would like to make a few suggestions to help you accomplish the goal.
5. Continue calling everyone who disagrees with you racist.
It’s a settled fact on the Left that Trump won because 60 million people are slobbering, inbred racists. On that point, I’d like to arrogantly quote myself from a piece I wrote last week:
It turns out that white people don’t like being called racists every second of the day. It seems that guilt, shame, and self-loathing are not the best ways to generate electoral turnout. Evidently, “Repent, you bigots!” is not the most effective rallying cry.
On a related note, it’s not true that all white people are racist. Of course it isn’t true. Again: stop being ridiculous. You can’t take some random sin or vice and assign it to an entire group of people based solely on their skin color. In fact, do you know what it’s called when you accuse everyone in a certain racial group of possessing some negative characteristic? Racism, by definition.
The other problem with writing off all of your political opponents as racist is that, if you come to believe your own propaganda, you’ll quickly develop a deep hatred for the half of the country that disagrees with you. And if you hate people, you tend to alienate them. For example, take the Democrat strategist on CNN who sarcastically blurted out, “Oh, poor white people” when she was asked about the white Trump voter who’d been savagely beaten by a group of black protesters.
If you really believe that all white people are despicable racists — or at least the white people who don’t vote Democrat — you will not be able to muster even the pretense of empathy or concern when white people are attacked. White middle class voters have taken note of this, understandably. And now they are a bit hesitant to vote into a power an ideology that detests them.
Plus this great line about the perpetually clue-deprived Lena Dunham: “A regular woman doesn’t wake up the morning after an election and declare that the results made her vagina hurt.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
Beltway chin-pullers expediently focused on Trump’s white and conservative supporters who are rightly sick and tired of social justice double standards. But they ignored the increasingly vocal constituency of hyphen-free, label-rejecting American People Against Political Correctness who don’t fit old narratives and boxes.
And the same “Never Trump” pundits and establishment political strategists who gabbed endlessly about the need for “minority outreach” after 2012 were flummoxed by the blacks, gays, Latinos, women and Democrats who rallied behind the GOP candidate.
The most important speech of the 2016 election cycle wasn’t delivered by one of the presidential candidates. It came from iconoclastic Silicon Valley entrepreneur/investor and Trump supporter Peter Thiel who best explained the historically significant backlash against the intolerant tolerance mob and phony diversity-mongers.
“Louder voices have sent a message that they do not intend to tolerate the views of one half of the country,” he observed at the National Press Club last week. He recounted how the gay magazine The Advocate, which had once praised him as a “gay innovator,” declared he was “not a gay man” anymore because of his libertarian, limited-government politics.
“The lie behind the buzzword of diversity could not be made more clear,” Thiel noted. “If you don’t conform, then you don’t count as diverse, no matter what your personal background.”
Trump’s eclectic coalition was bound by that common thread: disaffected individuals tired of being told they don’t count and discounted because their views do not properly “match” their gender, chromosomes, skin color or ethnicity. That is exactly why the more they and their nominee were demonized, the stronger their support grew.
Trump needs help, she says. And these people need jobs and power, she doesn’t say. The elite, her people, lost the election, but they should have the victory anyway, because a “young man” and a “beautiful lady” spoke of fear. Throughout the whole political season, Trump was battered with the fear of fear, and now he’s won and he’s told to pander to the people who said whatever they could to oppose him, the people who stoked the fear that he needs to prioritize calming. As if it could ever be calmed, as if his opponents will ever stop stoking it.
The Democrats will now control next to nothing above the municipal level. Donald Trump will be president. We are going to be unpacking this night for the rest of our lives, and lives beyond that. We can’t comprehend even 1 percent of what’s just happened. But one aspect of it, minor in the overall sweep, that I’m pretty sure we can comprehend well enough right now: The Democratic Party establishment has beclowned itself and is finished.
However, he also says that those rebuilding the party “have to do so in a way that doesn’t erode the anti-racist or anti-sexist planks of the modern party, which are non-negotiable.” So, in other words: Though Shalt Not Question the Holy Social Justice Warriors, and we’re going to keep calling our political opponents racist, sexist bigots, because that worked out so well this year. (Hat tip: Ann Althouse.)
— Brian Fraser (@bfraser747) November 12, 2016
“You are the exact reason Donald Trump won the election. We’re tired of you crybabies!”
From reading the various mainstream media accounts of these events, one comes away with the distinct impression that they are grassroots actions that began organically among ordinary, concerned, well-meaning citizens.
But alas, if one were to think that, one would be wrong.
Contrary to media misrepresentations, many of the supposedly spontaneous, organic, anti-Trump protests we have witnessed in cities from coast to coast were in fact carefully planned and orchestrated, in advance, by a pro-Communist organization called the ANSWER Coalition, which draws its name from the acronym for “Act Now to Stop War and End Racism.” ANSWER was established in 2001 by Ramsey Clark’s International Action Center, a group staffed in large part by members of the Marxist-Leninist Workers World Party. In 2002, the libertarian author Stephen Suleyman Schwartz described ANSWER as an “ultra-Stalinist network” whose members served as “active propaganda agents for Serbia, Iraq, and North Korea, as well as Cuba, countries they repeatedly visit and acclaim.”
Since its inception, ANSWER has consistently depicted the United States as a racist, sexist, imperialistic, militaristic nation guilty of unspeakable crimes against humanity—in other words, a wellspring of pure evil. When ANSWER became a leading organizer of the massive post-9/11 demonstrations against the Patriot Act and the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, it formed alliances with other likeminded entities such as Not In Our Name (a project of the Revolutionary Communist Party) and United For Peace and Justice (a pro-Castro group devoted to smearing America as a cesspool of bigotry and oppression).
(Hat tip: Director Blue.)
There's wisdom in this. –> pic.twitter.com/E7pKroa835
— Brit Hume (@brithume) November 10, 2016