Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Why President-Elect Donald Trump won.

President Elect Donald Trump. Michael Vadon.

As you are almost certainly aware, Donald Trump is going to be the 45th president of the United States. People are shocked, even though I have been saying for months that this was pretty likely to happen. Indeed, just a couple of days ago I predicted a 50% chance of a Trump win and a 15% call of a landslide. I don't know if we can call Trump's victory a landslide or not since not all the votes have been counted, but he did way better then most people were thinking. 

Other then that bit of self promotion, after all I got it right when so many others got it wrong, this will not be a gloat post. I think I would be doing a service to people who are shocked right now to explain why I think Trump won. People aren't really comprehending it and as people wake up and start to digest what happen, I want them to know why this happened. This is my take on it, and just an opinion, but it's probably one you wouldn't hear otherwise. 

So why did this happen? And how did the polls miss this so bad? Well the second question is much easier to answer then the first. Not only were there some blindingly obvious problems with how the polls were being sampled, they also missed some fairly obvious effects of the media's crusade against Donald Trump. 

I sounded the alarm on these polls for pretty much the whole election, and indeed, even in the primaries they were unreliable. Many of them were based on the turnout of the 2012 elections, where an extremely popular president among minorities was running. Those voters did not turn out for Hillary Clinton and it was foolish to think that they would. After all, Clinton never had a chance to be as popular as Barack Obama was among minorities because she wasn't one. Yes, she was a woman, but she wasn't a POC, and never was able to connect with minorities, despite Trump's problems in the same area. 

But it wasn't just turnout. It was the sampling as well. Often times the polls would greatly oversample Democrats and leave Republicans and Independents out in the cold. Sometimes these samples were completely obvious and it made me think at the time that it was deliberate. Indeed, I think that the polling this whole election cycle was designed to hurt Donald Trump. 

The most important factor was the "shy Trump" voter effect. Though this didn't have quite the impact I was expecting, I did think the vote total would be higher for Trump then it currently is, but it's obvious that people on the right weren't admitting to pollsters that they were going to vote for Donald Trump.

Why? Well would you admit to voting for someone who the media has declared is a threat to all that is good? The media was extremely hostile to Trump voters and they had good reason to keep quiet when pollsters called or contacted them. And given how acrimonious this election was, I think quite a few people were afraid to admit to anyone they were going to vote for Trump. When someone won't even admit to their friends, family or even their spouse that they are voting Trump, how is a pollster going to get them to admit it? 

I think, during the last few days the polling got a lot more credible in terms of samples and the adjustments they made to them. Most of the bias went away but Trump still won. From what it looks like, Trump had between 2% and 5% of his support from people who wouldn't admit it publicly. We won't know for sure until the final numbers are out. 

That explains why the polls were so wrong, but why did people pick Trump? Well I have posted at length about that on this blog since he entered the race, so I have a pretty good idea. There are many factors, including anger about immigration, disgust with the left politically, anger about terrorism and a general rejection of the status quo from the media and popular culture. 

Indeed, I think Trump deserves a lot of credit for tapping into this anger and disgust with the government. Much more then Hillary Clinton, Trump was able to get the pulse of a decent chunk of the American electorate. People were very angry about losing their jobs to immigration and outsourcing, angry about terrorism and very angry about Obamacare and how expensive it was.

I can't stress enough how important the economy was this election. Though the country is in an economic recovery, that recovery is limited to the cities. Trump's support came from places where the economy is still bad and people are worried about economic security. Add into that the huge costs of Obamacare premiums and it's pretty easy to see why people in the rust belt were supporting Trump. I think that's why he flipped Wisconsin and Pennsylvania and may end up flipping Michigan as well (which has not been called as of this writing).  

A lot of people are blaming everyone but Hillary Clinton for this loss. James Comey is a favorite target and independent candidates like Gary Johnson and Jill Stein are getting hate as well. I don't think that is fair at all. This race was the Democrats to lose and they did so with gusto. Some of the decisions they made this race were just insane. 

The most obvious one was rigging the election against Bernie Sanders. Not only did they rig the election, they were caught doing so red handed thanks to Wikileaks (by the way, whoever leaked that was a damn hero). This infuriated Sanders supporters and many of them either voted for someone else or didn't show on election day. 

It was clear from the start that the DNC was never going to nominate anyone who wasn't Hillary Clinton. Doing so in the way they did turned a lot of people off and was a complete insult to the very idea of democracy. The election was rigged from the start and Sanders had no chance. And if he had won, he might be the 45th president instead of Donald Trump.

Of course the DNC and Clinton made even more scandals. One of the most counter productive was their attempt to incite violence at Donald Trump rallies. In places like Chicago and San Diego, they had supporters attack Trump's and even got his Chicago event shut down. Right before the end of the election, Project Veritas released a video showing that the whole thing was a DNC/Clinton operation all along. Though the left screamed that those videos were unreliable and out of context, there was no context that they could have been put into that would have made what they showed to be ok. 

More than any other issue, this is why I cast my vote for Donald Trump. I was a tepid "he's ok I guess" supporter before that happened but after Chicago I was determined to vote for him. And when San Diego happened, I know that there was no chance I was voting for anyone else. When it was revealed that those attacks were orchestrated by the Clinton campaign and the DNC, I decided right then and there that I would be willing to forgive a lot from Donald Trump if it meant punishing this kind of behavior. I think this was pretty typical for Trump supporters. 

Their supposed kill shot, the Trump tape where he made some crude comments about women and then the accusations of groping afterwards were not anywhere near as effective as they should have been. First of all, the timing was pretty awful. Many on the right and left thought that they waited way too long to release the tape. If it truly was damning, then why not during the primaries? How about before the convention? Or they could have gone the other way with it and released it the week before the election to make the most impact. But they did neither and gave Trump a lot of time to recover from it. 

The groping accusations could have killed Trump, but again, they timed it wrong and handled it poorly. None of the accusations were all that reliable, or even serious, in the first place. But releasing them all at once, out of nowhere, and with obvious coordination with the media, after the New York Times had cleared him of similar accusations months before, made the whole thing look fake as hell. When many of those accusations were debunked, it just looked like flailing desperation all around. 

Most of this falls on Hillary Clinton herself. She just had way too much baggage. From the beginning she was extremely unpopular and the popular perception was that she was a corrupt and crooked person who acted like she was above the law. Though the media tried to downplay the e-mail and Clinton Foundation scandals, they had a major impact on the outcome of the race.

Some are blaming James Comey and the FBI for the results of this election, but consider this. If Hillary Clinton had followed the law in both her e-mail case and at the foundation, she never would have had the issue come up in the first place! Imagine that, people don't call people who follow the laws criminals, or if they do, they aren't believed. Clinton greatly damaged her chances because everyone know what she did was, at the very least, not kosher. 

Hillary Clinton also lost the internet. Though she had  PAC, Correct the Record, working for her, it just didn't work. For one, it was obviously bought and paid for. People hate shills and online, outside of the media, most of Clinton's support looked like people who were paid. Of course the media looked paid as well, but that was a separate issue. Clinton's support just didn't seem organic at all. 

Trump on the other hand had an entire army of genuine online support. Websites like 4chan and 8chan's /pol/, Reddit's The_Donald, the Conservative Treehouse, Breitbart and even Twitter and Facebook, had entire legions of fans putting out high quality memes, posts and videos in support of Trump. This was essentially millions of dollars of free advertising for Donald Trump and as much as people are going to hate to admit it, the userbases for 4chan and Reddit did a lot to win this election for Trump. 

These websites were also critical in exposing and spreading the leaks put out by Wikileaks, who also had a major impact on the election. Due to the DNC and Podesta leaks, America got to see how the sausage was made and many of us didn't like what we saw. The people at Reddit and 4chan made sure those leaks were spread wide and far and were essential in finding damaging information. 

It also allowed Trump to go certain places that no campaign would ever go. In the later days of the campaign, The_Donald and 4chan launched a conspiracy theory that the entire Clinton campaign was involved in some seriously shady stuff. They were never able to prove it conclusively, but those accusations percolated into more mainstream sites like Twitter and Facebook. Indeed, the whole "Spirit Cooking" fiasco was basically ignored by the media, but the people that did see it saw it because of those websites. 

And the Clinton campaign completely failed to counter these attacks. At one point they did try to point Pepe the Frog as some kind of right wing nazi symbol, which probably lost them votes because of how stupid it sounded, not only to the younger kids tuned into the internet culture, but also older people who must have thought that Clinton had a screw loose when she started talking about a Green Nazi Frog and the nefarious "alt-right".

Worst of all though, she directly insulted Donald Trump supporters. Though I am guessing the history books will downplay the impact, Hillary Clinton calling the majority of Donald Trump supporters deplorable and irredeemable was a huge screw up for her. The rule has always been, you can insult your opponents but never insult your opponents supporters. Why? Because those are the very people you are trying to reach! Cruz did the same thing during the primaries and it cost him his chance as well, so to see Clinton do the same thing was astonishing to me, and probably hurt her way more than anyone realized. 

More then anything else, I think the most important factor is the pendulum effect. It seems that every eight years, we get a president from a new party. It didn't happen with the first George Bush, but other then that, it's been fairly predictable. After 8 years of one party, people get tired of them and decide to vote in the other guys. 

I think that there really is a cycle that people are stuck in when it comes to our elections. When one party is in power for almost 8 years, they tend to get cocky and take things too far. The last couple of years has been a great example of the left going way too crazy on social issues and I see this election as a major rejection of leftist thought. They went too far to the left, so the pendulum swung back to the right. 

With that being said, I am going to go ahead, right here and now, and predict that Trump is going to win in 2020 if he runs and after he is out of office, a Democrat will win in 2024. Some things are predictable and the pendulum effect is one in US politics. 

Finally, I have to say that none of this should have been surprising if we had an honest media. More than anything else, this election has proven that is no longer the case. They lied through their teeth this election cycle and it got so bad that it helped Donald Trump. Indeed, if they had given him a fair shot, he very well might have lost. 

So many times during Trump scandals, the media would accuse Trump of saying or doing something and then people would actually watch the unedited video and find out that they were lying or that the issue was overblown. Doing so eroded any credibility the media had and led to many Trump supporters to completely abandon the mainstream media for alternatives. 

This also explains why so many of the scandals associated with Trump failed. Not only did Trump voters tend to be skeptical about media claims, they were so tuned out that they missed a lot of them. I know for me personally, I looked at the groping accusations initially, but then completely ignored the steady stream of newer accusations because by that point I was only occasionally reading MSM sources on the election. 

The media is going to need to do some serious soul searching and take responsibility for the reaction this election is getting. It was clear to me that Donald Trump always had a decent chance of winning, but the media made it seem like he was going to lose in a landslide. There was always evidence that wasn't true, but people that stuck with network news and places like the New York Times and Washington Post, never saw it because they were stuck in a bubble. The evidence was always there to see, but people outside the loop never got a chance to see it.

This is why I highly recommend diversity in your news sources. During this election, I watched almost everything. Not only did I read conservative sources like Breitbart and the Daily Caller, I also read the leftist equivalents, like Vox. I also read the New York Times and Washington Post until shear disgust made me stop. More importantly, I followed Twitter, Facebook, 4chan and Reddit as well. 

I'm afraid that people on the left just don't do the same thing anymore. At least not the rank and file ones. And that is why this election is such a shock for them. When you are in a bubble it's important to stick your head out and look around once and awhile or you will lose your way. And that's what happened to Hillary Clinton supporters this time around.

I also think that if people are upset about this election, they should reserve that rage for the media. The media lied to you throughout this campaign and that lying was so obvious that it helped Donald Trump. You may have missed it because you were in a bubble, but it doesn't change the fact that the people we trust us to tell the truth were doing nothing but lying... 

So what happens next? Well we have a little time before Trump is confirmed and I worry there might be some short term problems. There is always the possibility of riots or other civil unrest and indeed, there are already protests in California. I think that these won't last long since there won't be anyone paying for them to happen anymore, at least in theory.

Longer term though, the GOP has control of the House, Senate, Executive and will have control of the Supreme Court soon as well. The Democratic Party has never been weaker and they need to have a "come to Jesus" moment (figuratively). They need to try and work with President Trump or risk becoming irrelevant. 

For his part, Donald Trump has extended an olive branch to the left. He has been doing so for quite some time actually, when he reached out to Sanders supporters after he lost. I think he's honest about it as well, he really does want to make America great again for everyone, not just people that like him. 

And here's my final pitch for Trump. Even if you hate the guy, he's going to be the president now. Nothing will change that at this point. There has to be some things that Republicans, Democrats and Independents can agree on. Maybe Trump will fail at uniting us, but can't you at least let him have his chance, now that he won? Could we at least try to get along? I am not hopeful that he will get much cooperation from the left, but I sincerely hope that he succeeds and that America really does become greater then ever before. 

1 comment:

  1. Jeff, your points about surveys are well taken. I watched an "expert" on the TV news explaining how corrupt a survey can be. It's how they word questions that have a huge impact in the results of the survey. Does the survey have a broad enough sample or is it a university sample? It's like statistics. They can be manipulated in any number of ways depending on what they are meant to show. An example of faulty surveys is the Marquette School of Law polls. They were wrong on the election of Wisconsin's Governor Scott Walker. Twice. To me, it was no surprise that they got the presidential election wrong too. There are no reliable surveys. There is always the human element for error and prejudice that taints the result.

    I disagree with you statement that Trump voters failed to answer the surveys because of the threats of violence. Most of the surveys are anonymous so I think that level is low. I do, however, think that many people kept their choice for Trump to themselves because of all the Haters spewing vitriolic internet garbage their way, stealing signs, and vandalizing property of Trump supports.

    I am with you in the hope that this country can come together and move forward with the important issues we face. There are too many people dying of violence, too little effort to break the cycle of black on black violence, too much money wasted in foreign aid, and the list goes on...and on....