NOTE: I want this to be a fairly objective look at the election from my center left perspective. If you're not ready for objectivity, please move on and come back later.
OK. Grab your popcorn... Here we go! The great experiment we call The United States of America has thrown us another curveball. I want to congratulate our President Elect Donald J Trump and all of his supporters. They have done the improbable. I honestly wish Mr Trump well and hope for nothing but great success for our nation... Because that is the American thing to do.
Now, I was wrong. I'm certainly not alone in this fact but there is no solace to be found in that. There are a few known facts.
Pablo Martinez Monsivias/AP Photo
- Donald Trump looks likely to crack 300 electoral votes. Most likely 306. While this is less than either Obama election, it is nevertheless an impressive number. That is more than either George W Bush win. It's the most for a Republican since the 1988 election.
- Hillary Clinton will win the popular vote. This is the 2nd time in 16 years that this will occur yet only the third time in our history. So it's quite clear, there is no silent majority voting for Trump. When you don't get a majority of votes, that narrative is fubar.
- That said, Donald Trump has a clear mandate for massive change. His mandate is based more upon where he won than how he won. Winning in PA, MI, WI and OH is shocking.
I based my opinion that Hillary Clinton was going to win on a false narrative that the Republican Party nominated the only human being that could not beat her. I had that reversed. The Democratic Party nominated the only human being that could not beat Donald Trump. I was very wrong to dismiss the Bernie Sanders movement. This was a change election and Bernie had a message of change. That in and of itself would have given him a shot.
I can't tell you how many times I've read in the last 24 hours that America has chosen fear and hate. Bullshit. That is all either side was offering. Yes, Donald Trump's campaign was horrific and it spoke to fear and hate, BUT Hillary Clinton's entire campaign was based upon the fear of and the hate of Donald Trump. When you have no message, you had better hope to be likable and unfortunately Hillary is, statistically speaking, the least likable person ever to seek the office of the Presidency. Ouch. Fear and Hate were going to win either way last night.
So what was the straw that broke the great blue wall? Women. Women ironically cost Hillary this election. 62% of non college educated white women voted for Trump. If that was 50/50, Hillary wins PA, MI, WI and the White House. Sure there were a dozen other metrics that would have flipped the election her way, but this one is just stunning to me. These women looked the prospect of the first woman President in the face and said, "yeah, not her though."
61% of the electorate said that Donald Trump isn't qualified to be President. Yet he received 47.5% of the popular vote. That means a sizable percentage of people who voted Trump for President, don't think he has the chops to do the job right now. Why? I don't know. This is the part that will always bug me about this election. The part that doesn't make sense. There has always been the assumption that somebody had to clear a "sniff test" of whether or not they could do the job. Nobody should win the White House when 61% of people say they aren't qualified. That brings me back to simply being wrong about Hillary. The desire for Change and a movement away from establishment politics was so great, people were willing to roll dice on an unknown evil rather than a known perceived, well established evil.
Could Hillary have done better? Yes! She ran an awful campaign. Safe. Calculated. Fear based. 6 million 2012 Obama voters stayed home! That is on Hillary. Nobody else. The Comey letter hurt, and Wikileaks's hurt but 6 million?! No. when you play prevent defense, it prevents you from winning. The Kaine selection was horrendous. She wins if she selects an economic populist... I'm looking at you Elizabeth Warren. Hillary never visited Wisconsin after she received the nomination. Wow. Hillary never properly answered the email issue. Hillary allowed a routine illness to become an issue by trying to hide it... Further reinforcing the notion that Hillary's default position is secrecy. Hillary took the Black vote for granted. I can go on and on. Bottom line, Hillary wasn't only an imperfect candidate, she also ran a very poor campaign.
Whereto now? For my friends on the right. Now is your time. You have your mandate to repeal Obamacare. You have your mandate for immigration reform (your version). You have your mandate for tax reform. You have your mandate for the Supreme Court. I caution you on two fronts.
- You have 18 months. Then comes midterm elections and inevitable losses. If you overplay your hand, you'll lose both chambers. Don't forget 2006 and 2010. America giveth and America can taketh away.
- Be careful with Obamacare. If you throw 22 million people into the ranks of the uninsured without a gradual system and/or allow for pre-existing conditions to come back into the marketplace, you will suffer electoral consequences. People don't like Obamacare as a whole BUT they like a few parts. Walk gingerly. You're going to have to thread the needle on this.
For my friends on the left.
- Better days are ahead, don't despair. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. The pendulum will swing back and the glass ceiling is destined to come crashing down. Focus on a national campaign to take back the senate and perhaps the house in 2018, then the fun begins. Say it with me, Warren 2020.
- Do not be complete obstructionists! This worked for Republicans because they tapped into anger. In 2018 and 2020 you are going to have to tap into hope. Work to improve the county when select opportunities to work across the aisle present themselves but stand firm on principles. Don't become the party of NO... You'll forfeit the party of HOPE.
Nobody really knows where we go from here, but I know for sure that it's going to be really interesting. We all stand on the precipice of the unknown. God Bless America