I have been wrong every step of the way in this campaign.
I thought Trump would be defeated in the primaries or taken down at the Republican convention. And certainly there was no way he could win a national election after alienating large segments of the population.
Wrong, wrong, wrong……but so were the pollsters.
How did it happen? After all, Clinton had the organization, hardened foot soldiers reaching out to key demographic groups and the backing of a popular president.
Basically, the same playbook she followed in 2008; it failed her then, too. In hindsight, it was doomed to fail again when you consider decreasing support and disgust for the two major political parties. I guess you can say Clinton is a slow learner.
She also alienated important groups, just as Trump did. It started back in 2016 in West Virginia, when she threw the coal miners under the bus, in so many words dismissing them as a non-factor. I wrote about it in Citywatch then:
“Pulling the rug out from under those whose livelihoods depend on the coal industry is not how you win their hearts and minds.
“The bad feelings will not be limited to West Virginia either. The swing state of Ohio is in play, where 33,000 are employed in the industry and coal provides 69% of the state’s electricity. Those employees have friends and relatives, so the potential for a meaningful block turning out in a tight race is there.”
Apparently, the effect went beyond coal miners and their families: blue-collar families of all stripes, all throughout the nation, who share the same values as their brethren toiling in the hills of Appalachia, felt insulted.
The e-mail fiasco just added fuel to the fire. Even that crisis would have diminished if she had taken the criticism seriously from the start, instead of her initial humorous take on it.
The Clinton Foundation donations from foreign countries also undercut her.
Basically, all of this contributed to the public’s poor perception of her trustworthiness. When you lose trust, it is difficult to get it back, more so when your personality does not convey warmth and sensitivity. The personality issue was more pronounced when compared to President Obama’s and Bill Clinton’s charisma.
Trump had more than his share of problems – offensive remarks, refusal to share his tax returns, trash-talk about world affairs – but amazingly that was not enough to offset Clinton’s negative image. It is as if voters perceived him as being genuine, in a perverse way.
Bottom line, this race was never about ideology. Otherwise, President Obama’s popularity, which was partly due to his policies, would have carried her.
Our nation hasn’t changed. People still care by health coverage. Most people do not want to see a wall along the border. We do not want to abandon our allies.
It appears all most people want is a president they can read like a book. And one who can read them.
And what a book.
Don’t know what the next chapter has in store.