••• The International Writers Magazine: Reality Check USA + Readers Responses
President Donald J Trump - An Explanation in Two Parts
Editor’s Note: The following are two brief explanations on how a reality TV star is now president of the United States by first jc and then his old colleague, former Conservatively Speaking columnist, Bill Roberts.
I have to be honest; I’ve got nothing.
Really, what right do I have to pontificate when I was spectacularly wrong about this entire thing? And not only the results of the election, but long dissertations on demographics and gender gaps and the shifting generational pull away from the kind of throw-back populist falderal pitched by the new president elect, Citizen Donald J. Trump.
First off, data took a big nosedive here – in fact, everything in the realm of modernity was cast aside for at least one election cycle; global trade, progressive socials issues, the realities of a 21st century cyber-based economic model, international diplomacy and geo-political military intervention. And really, that is the nut here; in the end Hillary Rodham Clinton would have been president if she held fast to the reliable Rust Belt. She did not. Big league. As her opponent may put it. Pennsylvania (not Republican since 1988), Michigan and Wisconsin (not Republican since 1984) and even Minnesota, as of the time of this writing still being counted, which was the only state the Democrats won in ’84.
What all this tells me is this result had less to do with corruption and emails and untrustworthiness and the FBI than it did with raw, blue-collar economics, which used to be solidly Democratic, or at least when Ronald Reagan wasn’t on the ballot. This was about a changing world that scares the shit out of the low-educated white man, the overwhelming support of which shifted these states into Trump’s column and turned him from punch line TV clown into the president of the United States. But it is also about anger. Anger sometimes wins the day. This time it surely did.
Turns out, Trump was wiped out by Hispanic/Latino vote, skimmed a little off of the Obama African American vote, lost out on the college-educated white vote (somehow he was not sunk by women), but not by the margins that could stem the tidal wave of lower middle-class people expecting a messiah to bring the 1950s back.
Good luck with that.
We know less about Donald Trump than any human who has achieved this station. He is vaguely erratic, sometimes unhinged and always recalcitrant. I have no idea what he stands for or what he will do. But now being on the other side of the Trump phenomenon, since I was one of the few journalists who seemed to grasp his significance in the primaries but whiffed on the general, it must be stated that this is the greatest political upset in our nation’s history. Period. Trump was an eight-to-one underdog and he swept the table he needed to sweep. American history was written on November 8, 2016, for good or ill.
So maybe he can deport 11 million people and build a multi-trillion dollar wall on the Mexican border and most importantly force American companies back from abroad. I highly doubt it. But then again, I highly doubted this.
Okay, here is my morning after "Inside Baseball" explanation over why I was so sure Trump would win despite being told otherwise by so many other people. This is a bit long and may be boring, unless you are a political geek, so buyer be warned.
This wasn't difficult to see if you knew what you were looking for. First off, this was a repudiation of the GOP and the NeverTrump crowd. The base didn't believe the Establishment any longer and if you opened your ears and eyes you would have felt the outrage building. The ascension of Trump is of the GOP's making and it was clear to see. The NeverTrumpers sadly have to make a choice. The party is no longer yours. The door is still open to you and you can come home. We welcome you home, but just know the people now own the GOP.
Trump had a populist message that was resonating with folks who watched their factories close and their jobs move away in the name of progress. Those folks were in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin and they truly wanted change, yet after the politicians spoke, change was all they had left when their jobs and paychecks left town in the name of NAFTA. The shattering of the Blue Wall was astounding to see in real time.
As for the hidden, shy Trump voter, this was an easy one to see. If you had listened back in the primaries, instead of just screaming about who was a real conservative, you would have seen the GOP set a record for new voter registrations. They weren't there for McCain and they weren't there for Romney... they showed up for Trump, so it wasn't a stretch or a leap to believe they were coming out for Trump. Now, the polls would never capture them because they hadn't voted in 2012, so they were never going to show up on a pollsters call list, but they were there. I studied the polls and saw they sampled Democrats too high and didn't adjust to what I felt to be a correct sampling number, which was about a GOP plus-five. This formula held true in PA, MI, OH and WI. What was shocking was how well the Panhandle in Florida performed in blunting Broward, Dade and Palm Beach's Democratic onslaught. I admit, I always believed Trump would win in Florida, but the way it occurred even shocked me.
So to sum it up, prognosticating Trump's win was not hope or faith. It was looking at real numbers and listening to real Americans. Had the media done that as I did, they wouldn't be sitting there with egg on their face looking all stupid this week.
Speaking of the media, you guys are done. You are through, you cast your lot as an active combatant and now you will pay the price. People will no longer place any value in your reporting and the ridicule you will receive is well-earned and you must endure it as it is a self inflicted wound.
Finally, here is why Trump will be one of the greatest President's in our nation's history. He knows we voted for his message and his ideas not necessarily him the man. He knows if he lets us down, we will fire his ass in four years. He is the right man for the job and I am proud to call him "My President".
© Bill Roberts Nov 11th 2016
© James Campion Nov 11th 2016
READERS RESPONSES Nov 21st 2016
Editor’s Note: The following is just a sample of the bevy of Reality Check reader responses we received this week in the wake of the 2016 presidential election results. We may have to dedicate two weeks to the overwhelming stream of comments.
I’m very proud of you for admitting you were wrong and would expect no less from you because, regardless of what you write or how contentious some topics may be (and whether or not I agree with you) you are ALWAYS a man of integrity. (PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP – AN EXPLANATION IN TWO PARTS – Issue: 11/16/16) And I’m equally impressed – and glad – that you gave Bill Roberts space in your column this week to give his take. It’s quite brilliant and even though I’m not a political person and do not even remotely study things like polls, I suspected (hoped) that what happened might actually happen. I felt that the media was missing some obvious signs that I couldn’t really even put my finger on now... Even though you focused on the low educated white man, Bill’s point about the shy Trump voter makes more sense. Because no way only low educated white men voted for him. And for the first time in a long time it seems that people who would normally vote Democrat finally started looking at what the Democrats have actually done for them economically. I’m thinking of Brunell Donald-Kyei, an attorney and Vice Chairwoman for the National Diversity Coalition for Trump, in particular...
Elizabeth Vengen esq.
I do believe, unfortunately, that all those women that are Trump supporters are ridden with generations and generations of woman’s repression passed down. Women are mean to one another (culturally speaking - through years and years of being taught to compete with one another - you need to be wanted, what does she have that I don't etc) so they fucking did that to Hillary. Make themselves feel independent. Oh, look at me, I'm not voting for her just because she's a woman. It only shows how much further we have (as a sex) to go. This shit is deep-rooted. Deep! We MUST have each generation of women become stronger. And united. And educated. That's just one issue of many !!!!!
Donald Trump is a scab left over from a 30+ year old wound which would have healed long ago into an honorable scar, but we still can't stop scratching it.
I giggled when I saw the results. I was also shocked how women, any of them, could have voted for him. Walk into a bathroom while teenage girls are changing clothes? Try that shit with your daughter in a few years and see how far that gets you. Only Trump could get away with it, I suppose. And the Mexico wall. Are his sociopathic peers really going to let him cut off the badly needed supply of slave labor that this country still needs to do stuff like... rake leaves? Are the dreamers ready for $8 chicken breasts waiting for them in the supermarket when "real Americans" start getting paid to do the DDD work? ("dirty, dangerous, dull").
Maybe I'll be spectacularly wrong, as you were, but I don't see someone used to getting his way, and ONLY his way, dealing well with the endless compromises and dilution of ideas that make up the standard working environment of government process. Perhaps he'll get some legislation passed that will be friendly to Manhattan-based real estate firms that rhyme with "hump". I give him a year, then it's non-stop golf and tending to his businesses in whatever manner his well-oiled legal machinery advises him to.
The election WAS rigged, and we're wrong not to be absolutely furious. Michael Moore & others as well as the plain, obvious facts warned the DNC (and the Republicans) that they were grossly underestimating anti-Establishment rage. Yet 300 or so "superdelegates" (we see the wisdom of those quite clearly now, don't we?) committed to Hillary before a single primary vote was even cast. The DNC ignored every change in the wind and went with the most Establishment candidate they could have chosen to carry their banner--O'Malley would have done better. They stacked the deck against Sanders even though poll after poll after poll showed he matched up much better against Trump and, bizarre as it seems—though some journalists pointed it out, and were duly ignored—many Sanders supporters switched to Trump after Sanders was out (two words: anti-Establishment rage).
Even after that rage swept Trump into the nomination, ahead of 16 seasoned, well-backed, long-time politicians, the DNC ignored it. Sanders kept his word & stumped for Hillary, but HRC slapped Sanders supporters in the face by hiring D. W. Schultz an hour after she was forced to resign & slapped them again by saying they're unemployed Millennials who live in their parents' basement. I don't fit that description. The Sanders supporters I personally know don't fit that description. The worried African-American father I met at the polls yesterday doesn't fit that description.
She ran an idiotic campaign of attacking Trump as "unfit," which was preaching to the choir on the blue side and not reaching Trump voters on the red. She gave people something to vote against, but they weren't convinced (a woman in my bldg who voted for Obama twice voted Trump). She gave them nothing to vote for (I don’t mean blue voters, but we’re the choir; she had to attract independents, Millennials, the disillusioned). Discussion of the issues ended with her victory in the primaries. I warned on my FB page about a month ago she was losing the election, not because Sandernistas refused to support her but all by herself … by not distinguishing her policies from Trump’s. I was attacked for misogyny & supporting the buffoon we now have to call Mr. President, as if I would ever vote for him.
My one hope is that the DNC dismantles the superdelegate system, which doesn’t work for an obvious reason: it doesn't gauge voter support, and voters decide elections, not superdelegates. They also have to allow independents to vote in their primaries in all states because, again, Democratic voters don't decide elections; all of us do. Yes, the election was very much rigged, by HRC and the DNC, only they rigged against themselves.
Invisible man in the sky help us!
On the plus side; we’ll have four years of amazing comedy material.
The Ballad of District Five
How Acting Like a Total Jack Ass Helps Flip the Tide of Politics - What really happened is I got involved. For the first time. And I kicked ass.
Do yourself no favors and “like” this idiot at www.facebook.com/jc.author
James Campion is the author of “Deep Tank Jersey”, “Fear No Art”, “Trailing Jesus”, "Midnight For Cinderella" and “Y”. and his new book, “Shout It Out Loud – The Story of KISS’s Destroyer and the Making of an American Icon”.