Wednesday, November 09, 2016


So... How did that happen?

The polls were wrong. Most of the people I know who care about politics were wrong. Donald Trump won Florida. He won North Carolina. He exceeded expectations nearly everywhere.

So, what happened? Why did the "experts" fail to see this coming?

Many people are going to say that misogyny has something to do with it, and probably it did with some voters-- the things that bugged them about Clinton came down to her being a "her."

Certainly, though, there was more than that going on. I suspect that each of the following also had something to do with Trump's success yesterday:

1) Clinton did not win back all of the Bernie Sanders supporters. They were drawn to an outsider, and she could never be that.

2) Some people simply detest political dynasties. They just did not want another Clinton or Bush.

3) As many people have argued (including Bernie Sanders), a lot of Americans feel left out of America's prosperity. Donald Trump appealed directly to this with his trade policies and hostility to immigration.

4) Rural people turned out to vote in higher numbers than expected, while people in the cities did not.

5) FBI Director Jim Comey's brief re-opening of the email investigation may have planted doubt in the minds of undecided voters about Hillary Clinton.

What do you think mattered?

I think Comey affected the down-ballot races, but not the presidential one.

Much like I saw in the US Senate race in NC in 1990 (Gantt v. Helms), I think many voters just flat-out lied to the pollsters. People who said they would never vote for Trump actually did so, exp. women.

I think a lot of people loathe Hillary Clinton because she's a woman.

I think voter suppression is a real thing... Look at NC: Fewer polling places, farther apart; no Sunday voting; one week less of early voting. AND photo ID requirements. This was all done "with surgical precision" to keep African-Americans from voting.

(I heard a poli-sci prof on KRLD-AM tonight who said that "blacks didn't vote for Hillary like they did for Obama, 8 and 4 years ago." My response: "That's because the Republican legislature and the Republicans at the local election boards did all they could to keep them from voting!")

The real gap may well be more about rural v. urban than about race, though race cannot be discounted.
I think Comey had a big impact although we voted out our Republic Governor in NC and also ousted a very right wing NC Supreme Court judge.

They loathe Hillary because she is Bill Clinton's wife; they think she killed the good folks in Benghazi and belongs in jail.

Voter suppression is real, the games that they played during the spring and summer in NC took there toll when the election finally came around. All 100 counties here in NC have Republican election boards based on who controls our legislature: 2R to 1D on each board.
Each county had different rules and some of the attempted suppression got tossed by our State Supreme Court and some didn't.

In NC the Voter ID rule got tossed but the early voting limitations were real. Consider Mecklenburg County (Charlotte) biggest population base in the state had only four early voting locations. In Durham where we live we had five locations the first week and eight the second week. We also had Sunday voting but this was not the case as each of the 100 counties they all had different rules.

I would like to think rural versus urban matters but again in northeastern NC (rural and very poor) they didn't drink the kool-aid and had Sunday voting - they drive everyone to the polls to vote right after church. They voted for HRC as did Fayettville (Fort Bragg) and three rural counties bounding SC. The other blue counties in NC were all expected.

Our county voted 75% for Hillary and the lines were long during early voting. With a county population base of close to 300k (not sure how many are of voting age) about 150k voted.
There are any number of reasons Clinton lost. I don't think the following are the only reasons, but here are two: a failure on the part of Democrats, starting with Obama, to lead policy change, rather than dictate it, which carried over to Clinton, at least at the perception level. And second, a lack of awareness of how the people feel as a result.

First on policy: There has been almost zero discussion of the issues and those issues matter. As just one example, at least for the evangelical vote, it is hard to estimate the staying power of the issue of abortion. If you believe that abortion is murder or something similar, there is a logic to voting for a racist misogynist over a murderer. That doesn't mean you "support" him, but the vote has logic. That is NOT the way I see it, but that is the way that millions of evangelicals, catholics, and others see it. There was zero discussion of that or a myriad of other issues last night on CNN. The same on religious freedom issues, the supreme court, and the like.

The American people are simple not on the same page with the liberal elites on many of the issues. Liberal elites (which I like to fancy myself, but am not) are out of touch with middle America, and have fundamentally misunderstood how to lead. Pulling the strings of power is one thing. Obama got the ACA passed, somehow, but he didn't sufficiently convince the American people it was a good idea. And he definitely didn't convince Congress, who could have worked with him to make it better. In Obama's defense, Congress refused to work with him. But that doesn't change the fact that he didn't lead.

Clinton represents a continuation of Obama's policies. More people than not, like Obama... now. That happens to every former president. But they don't like his policies, because he didn't lead the change he created. He dictated it.

Because Democrats have not lead, the majority of the people are not with them. The American people may be juvenile in their response to being told what is in their best interest. (i.e. being told what to do) But politicians have to know and understand that. They have to lead in spite of that. If free trade, Obamacare, and any number of regulations are in fact a good idea ( and I think many of them are) then in a democracy, you have to convince the people this is true. Democrats have largely failed to do that. Some political operatives would say that is impossible. You can't explain the benefits of free trade to 100,000 average Joes and Janes. You have to woo them with slick advertising, hope, and change, and then just do it. There is truth to that. (If I were a cable talking head, I would not admit that, but this is not a cable news show) But there is also truth to the fact that you have to lead policy change well, not just dictate it.

I am watching CNN right now as Clinton prepares for her concession speech. Last night, the people in the would-be celebration room were absolutely shocked. They had no idea it was coming. That is part of what is SO devastating to those that are invested in Hillary Clinton. That is also part of the problem. They had no idea.

Donald Trump now speaks for all of us. The American people chose his view of the world and our country's role in it. Based on what they knew.
Let me spell out part of this more clearly. Obama may have failed to lead well, (at least in some respects, However I still have immense respect for him) but when he was running the first time, he gave speeches addressing abortion and his Christian faith.

Eight years ago I was far more of an evangelical centrist than I am now. I was in the process of changing, and in that context, Obama spoke to me and convinced me that even if I didn't agree with him on everything, I could trust that he "got it." That he understood people like me. Obama certainly didn't convince a lot of evangelicals to give him a chance, but he convinced me, and enough people like me.

Eight years later I am a different, far more liberal person. But many of my colleges are not. They are still the same conservative-centrist Christians that they were then. (No condemnation there.) Clinton never spoke to them, or if she did, she was far from convincing.
America has proven to be no deeper than its iconic invention Twitter…a handful of offensive BS and all the “tremendous” empty promises in between to fulfill the 140 characters limit. No measure of anger can justify having this man as our president, not unless America is overrun by ignorance and its ugly cousins, bigotry and xenophobia.
62% of white women without college educations voted for Trump. Until we understand why such seemingly self hating voters were motivated that way, we won't understand it.
I agree with John. The people have voted. Watching the national map last night growing increasingly red, pervasively and overwhelming red, made a powerful statement … as well as the huge urban/rural divide we saw from state to state, and county to county. With small islands of blue surrounded by vast expanses of red. Amazing. My fear: Trump is profoundly and alarmingly narcissistic … and as much as “the people” think he is their champion and he was doing this for them: wrong! By definition it was and will always be about him and in service his grandiosity (never at fault and never to blame) and defending his profound sense of inadequacy. Never about them. His fragility is stunning and terrifying. And at some point Trumps true nature will win out and there will be a betrayal. They are only of interest to him, like the women in his life, as long as they serve and gratify his needs/interests. We know how that goes. Furthermore, as many have expressed, much of his campaign has been a big adolescent middle finger to one and all. You are not my boss. You cannot tell me what to do. I can relate to the frustration in the country, yet fire-bombing and blowing it all up only to serves to gratify a latent adolescence, contrarian hostility towards authority. F … ‘m. Like a bunch of anarchist blowing stuff up. Cool … hate those guys … boom. But where do you go from there? He says stuff … lots of stuff … most of which he changes and contradicts … and he has tapped into a ground swell of anger …. but he has no real clue, as many commentators suggested last night. It is one thing to react and to act-out of anger. It is wholly (Holy?) another to ACT out of wisdom, maturity, and a clear sense of vision. I had a sleepless night fearing for all of what this means and about the future implications.
Donald Trump asked the nation to be President.
He told us that if he where President he would make America great.
We asked him what,if anything, have you done to make America great in your 70 years as a private citizen. He answered that he was wealthy. We asked him for his tax returns before we hired him. He was a big man who said with convincing surety: "Take my word".
We didn't need anything more; we where convinced.
Americans vote for Change Agents: Harding, FDR, Ike, JFK, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, Bush, Obama all ran as agents of change. I think that's true of McKinley, Cleveland, Harrison, Cleveland, Lincoln, and every single elected pre-Civil War President starting with Andrew Jackson through Buchanan.

The ONLY time where an elected Democrat followed an elected Democrat since that pre-war period (when the Whigs were in disarray due their two elected Presidents dying in office), was Truman after FDR. And Truman was in the office for almost 4 years. And he ran as a change agent himself.

The only Republicans to do it were Taft, Hoover and GHWBush... all of whom lost bids for second terms.

Many of us remember Bush the elder's campaign -- he too ran as a change agent. What were his two big themes? "Kinder, Gentler" and "No New Taxes!" Reagan has become a secular saint for the GOP, but he was mistrusted by the right wing by 1988. He agreed to several tax increases as President.

Hillary Clinton forgot the lesson her husband taught us -- "It's The Economy Stupid!" And lest we forget, Bill Clinton's first big misstep as President was ending the ban on gays in the military. NOT an issue he campaigned on and one that got him all tangled up with controversy right out of the gate. This isn't a commentary on the policy, it was the timing and prominence of the policy change that were all wrong.

Hillary needed a positive, simple theme, like "Kinder, Gentler," or "Its the Economy Stupid," or "Morning in America," or "Hope and Change," or even "Return to Normalcy." But she had none. It reminds me of Teddy Kennedy's fatal interview with Roger Mudd in 1980 when he could not answer the question "why do you want to be President?" He had no one sentence answer. And neither did she.

Americans could hang their hats on "Let's Make America Great Again." It's simplistic, but so are all of the other, WINNING, slogans I just mentioned.
There has been an effort by R leaders and agents for almost 30 years to undermine Hillary Clinton, because she is an independent, competent, moderately liberal (take care of kids, meet medical needs, help the poor -- a Matthew 25 Christian) who they feared could lead the country toward actually carrying out the implications of Matt 25. Her Methodist centrist Christianity was to be feared by the alt right protestant pastors and politicos. The lies told about her, even beginning before 1992, are many and documentable. Safire was one of the originators of this effort.

A Waco Friend,

You are fundamentally misunderstanding the situation, when you say that conservatives are afraid Clinton would do what Matthew 25 says. The average evangelical's motives are not what you describe. I point this out because if we on the left keep thinking and talking like that, we will keep losing elections.

Alt Right conservatives don't believe in government as the process for doing Matthew 25, and they believe abortion is murder, or something close. Most of them aren't racist, though like all of us they may be prejudiced. Given those presupositions, they aren't going to vote for any democrat ever. Our job is to convince those willing to move, often youth but others too, that those unwilling to move are wrong.

That is what I grew up in. I know it like the back of my hand. I am one of those people that changed my mind. I did so because people convinced me in a gentle and humble way. They pointed out that Scripture does not directly dictate for or against the government apparatus as the way to help people, but that if anything, you can make a case for it. (see the law of Moses, and its progresive-for-the-time prescrips for mandatory care for widows and orphans) Conservatives themselves said I should integrate my faith into everything I do. i.e. if I'm in government, I should help make that government more helpful to people in need. I got that from conservatives.

Moderate Democrats convinced me that a centrist liberal agenda makes abortion less likely. That institutions like the military and the road system are but two examples of government working just fine if we fund it and embrace it. And that specifically on the access to healthcare front, that we needed wholesale change that would save lives.

I was convinced of that stuff by people with a positive message of change, not by people who ascribed ulterior motives to people they didn't understand.

David, I see your point, but... Waco Friend is probably more familiar with at least a certain evangelical culture than you give him credit for. Because, well, Waco. And he is referring to a particular (perhaps Texasy) version of post-millenial dispensationalism that DOES at time see helping the poor as immoral. For example, the SBC's choice to close schools and hospitals in Africa, since only evangalism really matters.

I disagree with his implication that Hillary Clinton is about the MT 25 imperatives, but that is a whole different discussion...
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