As the dust settles from the election, and while fires are still smoldering from disenchanted protesters committed to “Hillary or bust,” commentators are all trying to explain how the media projections could have been so off-base predicting a Hillary landslide. November 8, 2016 is a historic day for several reasons, not the least of which is that a female candidate almost won the presidency. But, a true political outsider with no political experience won the highest political office in America.
What does that say about America’s view of “politics”? Nothing pretty I’m sure.
Two questions stand out to me: Why did the Republican party win the election? And on a related, but critically different, question why did the Democrat party lose the election? These are not the same question as you’ll see below. But perhaps, in asking them separately, we may see some important distinctions and how popular media could have been so wrong in their predictions of a Clinton landslide. As it turns out, it was more like a Clinton sandtrap.
Why did the Republicans win the election?
1) They Didn’t Lose enough to Lose
Republicans still maintain the house and senate but only by surrendering seats to weaken their majority standing in congress. In that sense the didn’t really “win” congress, they just didn’t lose enough to lose the majority.
2) Mitigated Win
The Republicans didn’t really “win” the presidential election either, as Trump was the least Republican of the primary candidates. It is more of a referendum or protest vote, where Republicans now have a ticking clock looming over them to clean up government, and make some measurable improvements at home and abroad. Time will tell how much the Republican party will have to redefine itself to maintain some semblance of responsiveness towards the voice of the people.
3) He’s less offensive than Hillary
Trumps offenses struck the voting public as less dangerous than Hillary’s offenses. No one who has been paying attention, and attempting any degree of objectivity, can honestly say that either of both of these candidates are spotless. I don’t mean “perfect” but perfect enough to stand up under scrutiny. Neither of them are pristine like Mitt Romney or Jimmy Carter. These are not Choir boys or Girl Scouts, these are New York savvy entrepreneurs who are tough, and mean, and unethical in their own ways to where the voter is left wondering which kind of “bad” can be used for the most good? Apparently, the voters found Trump less offensive in his sins than Hillary. They’d rather have, in Trump, an overgrown frat boy with standing accusations of sexual assault, instead of Hillary, a veteran politician entrenched in financial and security scandals.
4) They liked his platforms
The American public consider’s Trump’s platforms (such as illegal immigration, lower taxes, and strong military) to be important enough where they are willing to weather the torrent of left-wing accusations accusing them of racism for opposing criminality, or bigotry for opposing terrorism.
5) They felt like they knew him enough to trust him.
Even when Trump was lying, he was speaking his mind. Even when he abused word’s like “tremendous,” “great,” and “Me/my/I” he was speaking in his own voice, with his own thoughts and feelings. Hillary was often faulted in primary season for letting her voice be determined entirely by her political strategists, as if she had no opinion but only Ringwraith’s appetite for power. The public seem to think that with Trump, however, they know what they are going to get. He’s basically their loud-mouth fake-baked rich uncle who’s entertaining, savvy, and too creepy to let near your daughter. As unpleasant as that image is, the American public considered him more trustworthy and less criminal than Hillary Clinton.
6) Limited Options
Hillary Clinton was a weak candidate for the reasons stated below.
Why did the Democrats lose the election?
1) Wikileaks & Weak Approval Ratings
Even among likely-democrat voters, Hillary never had strong approval ratings compared to other democrat candidates like Elizabeth Warren. She tended to leave voters uninspired, untrusting, and worried over whether she was able unite the Bernie-or-bust’ers with the Democrat base. These emotional impressions are not without merit. Her email scandal hounded her the entire campaign season. Her handling of Benghazi still reeks of a cover-up. And there were too many principled allegations about the Clinton Foundation and “pay to play” scheming. She left many democrats wishing for a better candidate.
2) Crony Capitalist Establishment
For all practical purposes, Hillary embodies the “crony capitalism” (i.e., pay to play, Clinton Cash, Clinton Foundation, etc.) and the “establishment” accusations which Bernie supporters and others on the left couldn’t stomach. Even if Donald Trump were a crony capitalist, he’s not “establishment,” and the “capitalist” tag isn’t that offensive to folks on the right. Those faults could castigate him from his core votership the would it did with Hillary. The Democrat party has long accused republicans of fostering greedy, selfish, unrelated corporate interests. But Hillary’s history looks just like that.
3) They Underestimated the Public Disapproval over “Establishment” Politics
Undoubtedly, Democrat strategists knew that the voting public was largely disappointed in the political establishment, with partisan politics, open rebellion in the street, a degraded sense of law and order, rampant illegal immigration, and disapproval ratings with congress and the presidency. But perhaps they interpreted this as more party specific than it was. The masses don’t really trust a democrat president or democrat congress to “fix” things for them. They would prefer a political outsider who hasn’t already sold his soul to big oil, or big pharma, or planned parenthood, etc. etc.
4) Hillary’s Weak Record
Hillary Clinton didn’t have a strong record of accomplishments, despite 30 some years in the political spotlight. It was a common joke early in the election that Hillary’s supporters couldn’t name any substantial accomplishments in her favor. Meanwhile, her treatment of the email scandal, Benghazi, embarrassing behavior from husband Bill, all left her looking worse for wear.
5) Societal Unrest
It’s no secret that in the last 8 years, racial tensions, traditional family values, and a felt sense of respect for freedom of religion have all been quaking. And many American’s aren’t sure these shaking foundations will settle down on any firmer ground than before. With the media and political collusion on Occupy Wall Street, as well as many Democrats taking sides on the (very left-wing) Black Lives Matter organization, the results at the street level have been rising violence, worsening crime rates in the inner city, scared cops, angry populations, unsettled neighborhoods, ambushed police officers, no reduction in blue-on-black shootings, and riots in the streets. In this climate, a lot of people who might otherwise consider themselves liberal, left wing, or democrat are liable to favor a “law and order” candidate, like Trump, more than a conciliatory candidate in Clinton.
6) The typical Narratives are getting Played Out
The media and left-wing narratives of Republican/Trump’s “racism” and “sexism,” while effective at weakening Trump’s public appeal, were not believable enough or persuasive enough to win sufficient voters over to Hillary. The “race card” is played so often that moderates and republicans have gotten numb to it. Those bald accusations just don’t have the demonizing power or manipulative force like they used to. Frankly, for a lot of the “rust belt” states (Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania) race relations aren’t their chief concern as factory jobs are drying up. Accusing Trump of racism or sexism doesn’t have the same trade value when people are just trying to find work. For a lot of blue-collar Americans, Hillary’s doesn’t look like she knows how to run a business, increase trade, or create jobs, at least, not without cheating.
7) “Being a Woman” isn’t Enough
For Hillary, being a woman has not been enough of a positive optic for voters to overcome their distrust. They just didn’t think she could represent womankind well in the presidential office, at least, not while siding with the democrat platforms. Conservatives are liable to have favored Carly Fiorina, but we’ll never know how that female candidates would have fared siding with Republican platforms.
8) Hillary is Old School Pro-choice
Hillary is “old school” pro-choice and that position strikes many liberals, not to mention moderates and Republicans, as too extreme. In the U.S., prolife is trending upward, prochoice is trending downward. For many people, Trump is a repulsive candidate, a terrible option, and a despicable human being. But at least he is willing to stand against deliberate slaughter of our children-in-utero. Many principled pro-lifers voted through Trump for the pro-life platform of the Republican party, never trusting or liking Trump for one moment. Hillary offered no such option for prolife liberals, or moderate pro-choicers who want restrictions on 2nd and 3rd trimester abortions. Her platform was strictly an old-school pro-choice platform.
9) Major Media’s Weakening Grip
We live in the internet age. Many adults and young people don’t keep newspaper subscriptions. We don’t rely on print media for daily news–it’s too slow, and old fashioned. We’ve seen too much media bias surface through Wikileaks about CNN feeding Clinton questions beforehand, or network broadcasts giving huge sums to her campaign. Anyone can glean a hundred different news sources to cross-check any story that seems “fishy.” So, no single news source carries as much weight as they once did. We have more liberty and power to push against any media narrative that we don’t like. Information is decentralized. And with strong competing news sources besides CNN, BBC, NBC, and MSNBC we can check with Fox, or Drudge, or Breitbart and see if conservative sources agree with the reporting. All this means that the stereotypical “left wing media” doesn’t have the same monopoly that they once did when it comes to dictating the narratives for us. This left-wing media bias is still quite strong, but it’s not been strong enough in this election cycle to endear America to Mrs. Clinton.
10) Project Veritas
Some of the most ground-breaking investigative journalism of this election year appeared just a few weeks before the final vote. James O’Keefe is mired in controversy, hated on the left, and questioned by many on the right. But his expose work through Project Veritas revealed such pronounced voter fraud it was a stiff indictment of the Democrat party for letting this happen. Hurting the democrat brand like that is likely to have impacted close races in swing states. Besides disenchanting undecided voters, moderates, or former-Bernie supporters, this scandal may have scared those fraudulent organizations away from this election. The spotlight sent cheaters into hiding. Of course, we have no way of knowing how many planned cases of voter fraud may have been halted because of heightened scrutiny. But at least two people lost their jobs when O’Keefe exposed them. Recorded confessions in their videos testified to tens of thousands of fraudulent votes in past elections. And several cases of Clinton collusion were documented. In key contests, like Ohio, Florida or North Carolina, the vote was close enough that 1% voter fraud could have turned the election in those battleground states.
Now you may not agree with me on these. Did I miss something? Do you have something to add? I welcome your feedback below.