Congratulations to the soon to be 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump.
In the most stunning political upset in my lifetime (and maybe in American history), Trump stormed the barricade of Democrat Hillary Clinton’s so-called firewall in states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Michigan and Wisconsin. The Rust Belt states, as well as the vaunted I-4 corridor in Florida, drove the rest of the country, and not only uneducated White voters, but college educated voters who have long been the backbone of the Republican Party, came out in droves for Trump.
At the same time, traditional Democrat constituencies, especially African-Americans, trailed pathetically. Turnout in some areas such as Detroit and Philadelphia dramatically lagged the same numbers as Obama’s reelection victory of 2012.
In short…this was a mirror image of 2012, where the lack of enthusiasm among the base cost the loser their chance at victory.
Trump’s gracious and humble victory speech was maybe his best moment of the campaign. He was reserved, and politely thanked Hillary Clinton for years of service to the country, and then asked for all Americans to unite as we move forward into a Trump Presidency.
We will have weeks and months to talk about what the future Trump Era looks like, but it looks classy and beautiful. Trump has a marginal advantage in the Senate, solid control of the House, and will soon be able to make a Supreme Court nomination to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who must be laughing his butt off in heaven about the turn of events.
The most intriguing part of all of this to me is how the elites, experts, and pollsters simply missed what now must be called a wave election. They have come close to missing such waves before, like in 2010 and 2014. The pollsters that did end up getting it right, the IBD/TIPP poll and the LA Times tracking poll (both polls who actually got the 2012 election right was well) were ignored as insane simply because they showed results that people didn’t want to see.
The reality is that what experts thought were waves that were missed because they were off cycle elections actually, in hindsight, were likely missed because pollsters simply were not gauging the voices of millions of voters who had purposefully removed themselves from the system, and no longer were being accurately tallied.
See my comment about college educated voters above. Hillary was winning this cohort by 5-10 points in polls, which is almost 20 points better than 2012 when Romney won this group by more than 10 points. But the actual result? Trump won them by 4 points. This was critical last night, as Clinton failed to get the massive voter turnout in Philly, Cleveland and Detroit suburbs that she expected, while Red State voters turned out in droves. That was the story of the election in a nutshell.
Furthermore, these data points were displayed right in front of my face, and I didn’t really comprehend it. Polls in Iowa and Ohio showed Trump with a steady lead; why did pollsters not ask why that lead was so dramatically different from polling showed in adjacent states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and even Minnesota? Pollsters took it for granted that it was the Ohio/Iowa polls that were out of line, and not vice versa…and that was their fatal mistake.
I’ve been saying for a while that there was no visible enthusiasm in Ohio for either Trump or Hillary..this was also critical, because apparently Trump voters were invisible on purpose. As you saw above in the polling commentary, educated white voters appear to be going out of their way to hide their voting intent. So what we did see was a hidden Trump vote…while no hidden Hillary vote existed anywhere.
On a personal note, I like most others didn’t see this coming…but I should have. I blew this prediction for a simple reason: I accepted the GroupThink, without analyzing what I was seeing with my own eyes.
I have felt for some time that Ohio was going to go for Trump. What I should have been asking is “If you think Ohio is going for Trump, why doesn’t that hold for Michigan or Pennsylvania?” I literally never asked myself this question, and neither did most pollsters or experts.
But Ohio was the bellwether that it has always been…as Ohio goes, so does America. The African American vote here was diminished from 2012. I saw little enthusiasm for Trump, even in Republican districts, but this actually was part of the story that people like myself missed.
I saw almost every single one of my Republican friends who did NOT vote for Trump in the primaries say they were, reluctantly or not, vote for Trump in the General Election. The base came home for Trump in a way it did not for Hillary Clinton, and I had the data to say that early, but in the fog of war, with bad data coming from all sides, I didn’t put two and two together.
One last data point? My parents had been telling me for months that there was a bubbling enthusiasm for Trump under the surface. They had many friends that in public refused to admit they were for Trump, but in private, in their safe secure moments, admitted they could never vote for someone as corrupt as Hillary Clinton. These were educated, middle and upper middle class voters, many of whom were not white, and…who were the hidden Trump vote.
The lesson: Always listen to your parents; they are probably smarter than you are.