In the wee hours of the morning as they tried to get their collective heads around Trump’s victory over Clinton.
Every network built and tore down narratives all night, trying to make some sense out of things. And, quite frankly, looked silly doing it. The more I think about it, though, I wonder why there’s so much surprise out there. Maybe Trump is right when he talks about the out-of-touch political and media elite. Some observations.
The Role of The Media Narrative
The print and electronic media (you know who you are) shilled for Hillary Clinton non-stop. They opined from morning ‘til night that Hillary would win the election easily and that it was her destiny to become the first woman president. It was in the bag.
Donald Trump, on the other hand was a buffoon that could never win. Not only that, his supporters were all uneducated, working class folks who tended to be racist and out of touch with the higher social principles of the rest of the country.
Team Clinton believed their own press clippings and it helped create the personal attack strategy they deployed, which was never about issues, but always about Trump’s character. Apparently, people did care about issues.
Ironically, the press that shilled for Hillary probably hurt her chances by giving her team a false sense of comfort.
The Polls …The Polls
Quick question: If the daily narrative about the candidate you support is that he is a monster, loser, misogynist, racist and whatever else, and his followers were Neanderthal-like, racist, sexist xenophobes, would you tell anyone that you were supporting that candidate? Nope, didn’t think so.
In the last couple of weeks before the election, the story was all about how Trump had a “narrow path to victory,” based on a zillion polls. And finally, on Election Day, every network had the same story (including Fox News, by the way): there were some small chances for Trump but Clinton had consistently led in most of the polls and she was expected to win. But then the polls were wrong.
A Cautionary Tale
President Obama swept into office in 2008 with a full Democrat majority in Congress. That combination quickly passed Obamacare and added lots of government spending to bail out the economy. The result was the Republicans winning back the House in 2010.
The Republicans then won a bigger House majority in 2012 and narrowly lost the Senate. They then won the Senate in 2014. President Obama, when faced with voter repudiations of his initiatives, treated Republicans in Congress like pariahs. He never made the move to the middle and worked with the opposition.
Perhaps he should’ve taken a page from Bill Clinton’s book. After just two years in office, he was faced with a Republican majority in Congress and he correctly saw it as the American voter’s opinion of his first two years of left-leaning policy efforts, including “Hillarycare” which never got off the ground. Clinton then pivoted to the center and working with Republicans, presided over the best economy in years (or since). The Federal budget was balanced and business boomed.
It is the Economy, Stupid
President Obama did inherit a horrible economy that was in crisis – no question about that. However, while the economy is off bottom, the recovery since 2008 has been sluggish with the lowest average GDP of all time following a recession. Not only that, but small business formation, the real jobs creator in America, has declined. Additionally, 94 million Americans have left the labor force since 2008 creating the lowest labor participation rate since the 1970s.
President Obama’s health plan and other new government regulations, such as the new rules for overtime pay, while being well intentioned, have hurt the growth of employment and economic growth as a whole.
It’s not hard to see the defeat of Hillary Clinton through the prism of Obama’s presidency.
The Contempt of The Elite
If we didn’t know before, we now know what the Washington political elite and the media, dominated by liberal-leaning baby boomers, think of at least a full half of voters in this country. They look down their noses at those folks and regard them with utter contempt. The way the Trump supporters were characterized and Hillary Clinton’s famous “basket of deplorables” comment say it all.
It’s never a good idea to give your opponent even more incentive to beat you, is it?
Finally It’s Over
So here we are. Donald Trump is president-elect. Half of our family, neighbors, and friends are gleeful and the other half are angry and upset. It’s time, finally, to put away the bitter differences and reach out to the other side. We are all Americans and we have much more in common with each other than we disagree about. We need to remember that right now.