So, Donald Trump is president-elect.
For the first time in about 20 years I spent election night on a date with my wife and enjoyed a movie (Doctor Strange—Very fun.) instead of glued to the TV and internet watching as returns rolled in.
I entered last night knowing that no matter who won I wouldn’t be pleased with the result. The two major parties presented the American body politic with dismal choices: a corrupt and criminal wife of an ex-president who used her position to enrich herself and her family, and an egotistical, misogynistic blowhard whose only fixed principle is his own self-promotion.
Like most who were following the campaigns, I believed Hillary Clinton would likely win a a solid victory over Donald Trump. Trump’s lack of a get-out-the-vote effort prompted one of the most hilarious tweets of the campaign from sycophant Bill Mitchell.
You known why Trump’s ground game is beating Hillary’s? Because Trump’s groundgame is in our hearts… 🙂
— Bill Mitchell (@mitchellvii) November 7, 2016
And then there were the millions of allegedly enthusiastic Trump voters that weren’t showing up in the media polling that would come out and put Trump over the top.
We’d heard all of this before in 2012. Romney’s Project ORCA to get out the vote was a failure and his campaign bought into the “unskew the polls” idea that pollsters were systematically missing a large pool of Romney support. Neither turned out to be true.
Fool me once…
So, I had mentally prepared myself for a Clinton victory and hopefully the return of the GOP to a conservative party that respected the constitution.
But it turns out that this time the Trump supporters were right. There was a substantial block of angry, white, working-class voters who weren’t answering the pollsters.
On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton simply wasn’t able to turn out the normally apathetic voters who came out in droves to vote twice for Barack Obama. Democrats need to come to grips with the simple fact that Clinton lost because she really is a horrible politician. It’s as simple as that.
While I’d come to grips with a Clinton presidency and what that would likely mean for the 1st and 2nd Amendments, health insurance, and the Supreme Court, it’s going to take time to figure out what exactly a Trump presidency entails.
A couple of weeks ago I was sitting out back at my father-in-law’s farm in California’s Central Valley with some of his friends talking politics. I rehashed the case I made last summer in my San Luis Obispo Tribune column on why I was leaving a Republican Party that would put Trump at its head.
As one of his friends left, he shook my hand and told me: “You’re wrong about Trump.”
Now we’ll have the chance to see.
The Republic would’ve survived Clinton. It will survive Trump.