While I’m as stunned as everyone else that Donald Trump pulled this magnificent victory off, I’m apparently not quite as disconnected with the World as many political junkies are. Here’s what I can tell you looking back is always 20/20 but the signs were there all along. Some I may have even paid more attention to if I had any faith in the American voter.
Everyone is seeking this magic bullet to explain Donald Trump’s win, so I’m here to tell you there isn’t one answer. There are so many reasons that I thought I’d pull together a little listicle of sorts to help everyone sort it out.
The Generic Republican- Reality is that going into the primaries, “Generic Republican” was polling significantly better than Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.
Obamacare Premiums and Problems- Average families aren’t saving $2500 a year, their premiums have increased, while the coverage and options decrease. ObamaCare is a disaster, self-imploding perhaps, but when the rate increases for 2017 came in Americans were not happy. Even those who had previously supported it. The economic fallout from Obamacare had far reaching tentacles costing people jobs, security and even their homes. Considering Bill Clinton made “It’s the Economy Stupid” famous, one would think Hillary might have heard of the strategy. Hillary was hindered in this area though, by her own votes for ObamaCare and the bailouts.
The ‘Forgotten Man”- It’s been a rough decade for hard working middle class white dudes. Obama and the Democrats made them the boogeyman. Meanwhile most of these guys are more worried about who is playing on Monday Night than oppressing the special snowflakes. They were told to check their privilege, even if they didn’t have any privileges to check. The assumption that white equals success is as dumb as believing that being black equals failure. These did nothing to deserve the ire of the Democrats nor the Media, that mattered not, until it did. These guys aren’t racists, misogynist pigs, they’re sons, fathers and grandfathers that care more about their family’s future than your skin color. Yet the media continued to insult them and by proxy anyone who loved them. These forgotten men and women probably heard of the Tea Party some may have even attended a Rally, they would have fit right in.
The Return of the Blue Dog Democrat- I come from a long line of Union Democrats, each and everyone of them voted for Donald Trump. For some it was their very first vote for a Republican at the National level. These voters faced the same issues other middle class voters do with the added pressure of Union Dues and suggestions. To many I spoke with asking for them to vote for Hillary Clinton was a bridge too far. Same people voted for Obama twice. These voters felt neglected by their party and taken for granted. Trump offered them a place to turn.
The 2nd Amendment- I was skeptical of the NRA ads when I first saw them running, but it hadn’t occurred to me just how serious Americans are about their guns. Not so they can shoot up a neighborhood, but because they like to hunt and protect themselves. My family fits this group as well. Nearly all “rural” voters think owning a gun is not only normal but necessary. You never know when a stray raccoon my come onto your property, or a groundhog could be trying to eat your garden. These are the examples I use as these were a few times my Grandmother had to pull out one of her weapons in the last year.
Hillary Clinton- Literally the worst candidate, I’ve ever seen. She’s no Bill that’s for sure, she’s not even Obama. Having her win the nomination became the obsession of the media, even after she’d lost in 2008 to their messiah, Obama. I’ve always disliked Hillary, turns out Americans are also not big fans. She was the Candidate we all thought the Generic Republican could beat, until the nominee was Trump. We underestimated the American public’s distrust which she’s earned through her numerous scandals over the decades. Average Americans go to jail, when they break the law, meanwhile Clinton was flaunting her atrocities, even shrugging off the four killed in Benghazi under her watch. Her hubris was on full display, she expected to be coronated. Americans don’t have a Royal Family. American voters want a government that works for them, Hillary could not have acted more entitled to the highest job in the land if she tried. Her natural arrogance and lack of warmth was a recipe for disaster during an election being fueled by righteous indignation against an over reaching, ever growing government.
The Media: Donald Trump was given millions in free broadcast time during the primaries, as the media enjoyed the ratings and mocking him simultaneously. Pundits aren’t known for their spines of steel. Having celebrities tell you everyday what you’re doing wrong, isn’t a great way to win people over. Even now in loss, these “elites” will snidely comment on those that they see as their enemy, people who don’t vote like them. Maybe if “news” organizations branched outside of DC and NYC they’d have reporters who weren’t so disconnected with the rest of the country. The Conservative Media did their part in keeping the base engaged, but many took the power given to them and used it in ways that I will not defend in this piece or ever. Having a right leaning media helps, but only if it is more credible than the existing media. Isolation to the political bubble can be fatal for careers, and quality of life.
Donald J. Trump- As I sit here now writing this, I’m still shaking my head. I can’t believe it happened, yet even though I didn’t vote for him, I’m satisfied with the outcome. His role in this can’t be understated. He took on the Media and anyone who challenged him, he avoided no conflict. This no holds barred style was attractive to those looking for someone to “fight” for them in what we know is a corrupt DC cesspool, an understandable sentiment from a population of people who have felt either ignored or chastised depending on the political wind. Donald Trump like Obama before him, allowed voters to project their ideals upon him, the blank slate. Over the Summer I hit several fairs and festivals where they were selling “Trump Swag”, it hit me that He was winning at least part of the culture vote. Trump t-shirts, hats, posters, not created by the campaign, designed and sold to the eager public….where had I seen that before? 2008. First time I can recall seeing a bedazzled candidates face on a short sleeved t-shirt. Trump so much like Obama in so many ways, that he beat them at their own game. He took every opportunity, used his years of marketing acumen to get it done on a level that people will be writing about for years. Political Science students will study this election, they will find Trump made some very savvy moves in key areas, along with his constant reminder that he didn’t care what the Media or anyone else thought. For a country hungry for leadership after an 8 year gap, he tapped into that need, reached out to those people and they love him for it.
There are probably a thousand other articles that would give you a thousand other reasons, but this how Election 2016 looks in my rearview mirror.