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Why were election predictions wrong? Amy Walter attempts some answers

Amy Walter
Amy Walter

“Predictions are hard, especially about the future,” Yogi Berra is supposed to have said one day. (As with many Yogi quotes, it’s not at all clear that he ever said it.)

So, in the spirit of the Yogi and begging your indulgence and before I give you a report on a local presentation about the Trump phenomenon and the failure of Washington’s pundits by one of Washington’s humblest and most likable pundits, I would like to recite two remarks, both from memory and with important missing details, but with a common point.

Shortly before the 1989 crackdown by the Chinese Communist government on the pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square, the China experts of America reached a virtual consensus that, having allowed the protests to go on for many weeks, the danger that the Chinese government might violently crack down had passed. Then the hideous, accursed, violent crackdown occurred, killing hundreds or perhaps thousands of peaceful pro-democracy, pro-freedom demonstrators.

I recall attending a forum of China experts to explain the situation at which one of them said: “Having demonstrated that we do not know how to predict the future, we will go back to what we do know how to do: Predict the past.”

Forgive me. I don’t remember which sinologist said it, and the quote may not be perfect, but I loved the self-effacing wisecrack then and I love it still. The past is hard to truly know; but easier than the future. 

‘Let’s face it …’

I also recall (again, I don’t remember the names or the exact words) the story of a young Washington journalist who was invited onto one of the panel shows for the first time and when he was asked what was going to happen next (in whatever kerfuffle was obsessing the Washington punditocracy at the time) and he replied (according to my recollection): “Let’s face it. I don’t know what’s going to happen next and neither does anyone else on this panel.” I later read a piece by the fellow in which he made clear that this violation of the pundit’s creed ensured he would never be invited back onto a pundit panel.

I watch way too much of political TV punditry. And I have long felt that, by choice or not, the talking heads spend too much time talking about what what’s going to happen, which they don’t know, instead of “predicting the past,” which they can look up. Many of them know better and sometimes they acknowledge it, but, unlike the rookie pundit in the anecdote above, when they are asked what’s going to happen next, they can’t help but imply that they have a clue.

Thanks for letting me get those two treasured memories out there. What they have in common, similar to the Zen of the Yogi, is an awareness that everyone is always trying to tell the future or find someone who can tell the future, and they pretty much always fail.

During the run-up to Election Day, the punditocracy almost assured us that Donald Trump could not win. That’s an overstatement, I suppose, and if you go to the tapes you will find that the smarter/humbler ones often specified that they didn’t know the future. But, unlike the “Let’s-face-it” guy above, they kept going on the shows and playing the game in which they acted like they did know who was going to win. And they were wrong.

So Amy Walter, of the Cook Political Report and also a regular on the news shows including my personal favorite, the “PBS NewsHour,” came to town yesterday and gave a luncheon talk for the Economic Club of Minnesota. She’s the likable, humble one to whom I referred above and she presented her task as trying to “figure out what happened without being too cynical.”

They wanted ‘change’

I appreciate that attitude. The voters have spoken and, at least when filtered through the funny math of the Electoral College, they wanted Trump to lead them, they know not where, but somewhere different. They wanted “change.” They thought the status quo sucked, and many of them thought their final choices sucked, too, but of the two flawed candidates, they voted for the one that represented “change.”

That insight, Walter said, was “the most powerful factor” in the outcome. You can bring up the economic pain many of them feel, you can bring up the “third-term jinx” (which is really just another way of saying “change”), you can bring up Hillary Clinton’s emails and the Comey letters, but ultimately, even though 62 percent of likely voters told pollsters in September that Trump was not “qualified” to be president, and a comparable number felt he lacked the temperament for the job, he was elected to the job and 20 percent of those who voted for him agreed that he was unqualified and temperamentally unfit, at least according to polls. The factor that united almost all of them (83 percent of those who voted for Trump) was that they believed he was the candidate who would bring change.

Walter spent a little time on why the polls generally showed Clinton the likely winner and mentioned one factor that struck me as interesting. Even if a poll sample is properly constructed to reflect the demographics of a state, its result will be biased in favor of those who will actually take the pollster’s phone call and agree to answer the questions. In that sense, a poll sample, maybe all poll samples, are biased to over-represent voters who feel engaged in the process.

Trumpians, we gather, are relatively alienated, are followers of a man who keeps telling them the system is rigged, and might therefore be less likely to cooperate with a pollster, whom they might view as part of the whole corrupt, rigged structure.

The last excuse for the pollsters that Walter offered was that those who told pollsters they were undecided broke by a very impressive 2-1 margin for Trump.

(Personally, I’m ready to vote for much less horse-race polling and much less talking by the talking heads about polls. Every pollster will tell you that a poll is a snapshot of a moment in time, not an effort to tell the future. But, come on, by the time the late polls result make it onto the Sunday morning shows, everyone  is taking them as a prediction of what’s going to happen on Election Day.)

Clinton’s slogan ‘like a Benetton ad’

Walter said that Trump had a message, however idiotic and substanceless: “Make America Great Again.” Clinton’s slogan, “Better Together,” sounds “like a Benetton ad,” she said.

Another version of the “message” problem, Walter said (and this insight, if it is indeed insightful, should horrify anyone who believes that an important part of a campaign should be the part where the candidates make policy proposals and argue about whose policies will help the country more) went like this: “His message was succinct. Make America Great. She had a lot of policy papers.”

Pause here for deep breathing, followed by the “Serenity Prayer.”

Walter noted that Trump had, to put it mildly, issues with factual accuracy and consistency. Many people, especially media people who care about facts so much, could not get their mind around the fact that it didn’t matter how many things Trump said that were provably false. But here’s what Trump taught us (said Walter): The public (and, of course, she means the public that voted for Trump) doesn’t care about truth, accuracy, factuality, at least not the way the media defines those terms.

As an exploration of that point, Walter brought up a quote from an Atlantic magazine piece by Salena Zito. The quote has been celebrated as a breakthrough in seeking to understand Trump’s appeal. 

‘Seriously, but not literally’

Zito wrote that:

“When [Trump] makes claims… [or takes positions on issues] the press takes him literally, but not seriously. His supporters take him seriously, but not literally.”

I confess that I cannot really grok this Zito wisdom. Of course, even though MinnPost does not own a “press,” at least not “literally,” I’m a member of “the press” and therefore am a poster child for this problem of not getting the brilliance of this. But I’m trying.

When Trump says he will build a big beautiful wall and get Mexico to pay for it, it strikes me as a (literally and figuratively) concrete proposal. I think he’s literally talking about a wall, and then – in a way that I consider something between false and deranged — he’s claiming to have some secret plan that no one can describe to me but that dogs and others with special powers can hear, and that we’re just supposed to take his word for, that the U.S. taxpayer will be relieved of the construction costs.

So the people who are orgasmic when he says this, also know it’s not true, not “literally” true. So what does it mean to take it “seriously?” Here’s my best, inadequate shot at understanding what it means.

People who feel that way know that the Mexican-paid-for wall is more symbol than reality. It symbolizes that this is a guy who gets how pissed off they are about all the Mexicans streaming across the border and taking their jobs or driving down their wages. And even though the plan to deal with it is not “literal,” and even though they might know, if they cared to know it, that net migration between the United States and Mexico over recent years has been net zero (an assertion that “Politifact” rated as “mostly true”). And even though President Obama has set a record for deporting the most Mexican immigrants of any president, it’s “serious” that Mr. Trump will solve this problem, whether he has a literally existent plan to do so or not.

Get it? I really don’t.

Comments (69)

  1. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 12/02/2016 - 06:12 pm.

    It’s hard for me to take the “‘Seriously, but not literally'” idea seriously.

    After all, these are generally the same people who have swallowed all of the bunk regarding birtherism, black helicopters, one worldism, preppers, –on and on. The internets are full of people echoing these ideas back and forth, with each elaboration of the baroque fantasies gaining traction. The right-wing fantasies that Obama inspired are legion.

    These people are credulous, with a distinct inability to sort reality from fantasy, so there is no room for meta-cynicism that would lead me to think they would back off of the campaign ides–they’re still chanting “lock her up !!” at the same time that Trump is considering McCrystal for a security post after deliberately passing secrets to his mistress.

    I lay it on the conservative media indoctrination that has lead to this dortion of percption. I lay it on a weak opposing candidate. I lay it on people who no longer feel it necessary to give their opion to a pollster.

    • Submitted by Leonard Foonimin on 12/05/2016 - 10:29 am.

      If these are the “generally the same people …

      who have swallowed all of the bunk regarding birtherism, black helicopters, one worldism, preppers, — on and on.”

      How do you explain that President Obama was elected twice, by the same Electoral College system? The “popular vote” of Clinton is due to a few urban counties and coastal enclaves doesn’t explain it and so remains irrelevant in our electoral system.

      • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 12/05/2016 - 12:33 pm.

        Time moves on. 8 years ago isnot today. 4 years ago is not today. Not only did you have almost a decade of increasing laborate and detailed Obama conspiracies, you have all of the Clinton conspiracies, including such choice ones as the Clinton/Podesta pizza/sex-trafficking one that a guy investigated today with a rifle in hand.

        Now who said the following, 2 presidents back ?

        “That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

        Creating their own reality.

  2. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 12/02/2016 - 07:52 pm.


    Let’s be clear; Trump received fewer votes than Romney and McCain. He did not win because he appealed to most Americans. The predictions concerning his support were correct.
    Clinton lost because Democrats did not vote. That is what was not predicted.

    • Submitted by Richard Schulze on 12/03/2016 - 08:42 pm.

      The Democrats have astoundingly, lost its traditional base in the working class. Those voters are now Republicans. So far, Identity Politics have brought liberals nothing but defeat. Expect more of this If Keith Ellison heads the DNC.

    • Submitted by Ray J Wallin on 12/03/2016 - 10:04 am.

      Agreed, but…

      Too simple. How can you possibly fill hours of media time with such an explanation?

  3. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 12/02/2016 - 08:50 pm.

    Some observations

    Well, sometimes it’s difficult to predict even the past, as current analysis of Trump’s victory shows. First, it’s interesting to see how people on the left sneer at the mere notion that people just wanted change now while they were cheering enthusiastically for the change 8 years ago. Second, they keep saying that Trump’s voters are alienated without explaining why the blue color workers feel alienated. Why? Because they (the left) were the ones who alienated Trump’s voters by refusing to even admit that they may have real reasons to be upset. Third, the Left keeps bringing their ignoring economy as the main reason for people to go for Trump while feeling unjustly and constantly insulted by the Left may have been a bigger reason for voters’ decisions. Fourth, liberals keep calling Trump voters racist, sexist, homophobes, etc. without even giving a thought to the possibility that it isn’t so. Fifth, they call Trump’s supporters ignorant, uneducated, and not caring for the truth. Well, there is more reason to believe in building a wall (it has been done successfully in the past) than in Sanders’ socialism which has not and yet his supporters had never been called that way (speaking of Sanders’ supporters, here they are:

    Why is Trump’s slogan idiotic and Clinton’s is not? Slogans are supposed to be simple and straightforward and not beg questions. “Better together” doesn’t mean anything (together with whom, for what?) and also sounds hypocritical (together with deplorable?). And how is “Hope and Change” smart? As for policies, Clinton may have a lot of them but most of them were divisive and not workable, to put it mildly.

    Media and its definition of “truth, accuracy, factuality” is a separate matter. It is obvious that ideology trumps accuracy and facts for any media outlet and since there are more left media outlets, it applies to them more. Fact checkers are the case in point: not only they have been checking the right leaning statements much more than left leaning statements, they were also stretching the truth quite often. I contacted several of them several times and they just refused to defend their assessments which were clearly wrong from the logical point of view.

    And finally, the wall. First of all, it doesn’t need to be literally a wall but may be anything that prevents people from coming in (wall: something resembling a wall (as in appearance, function, or effect); especially : something that acts as a barrier or defense). In some places it could have been a moat with alligators and snakes. So it is, at least in theory, possible to force Mexican government to act as a barrier and prevent people from coming to America by some kind of pressure or threats. Of course, Obama’s deportation numbers are fake because they included a lot of people who were sent home right away which was a function of many more of them trying to come in; the more telling Obama’s actions was his attempt to legalize millions of people here illegally by an executive order and THAT is why Trump voters think that Trump can solve the problem while Obama can’t because, to begin with, he just doesn’t see a problem. And by the way, racism and xenophobia have very little to do with people’s desire to let Trump solve the immigration problem.

    • Submitted by Brian Simon on 12/03/2016 - 10:07 am.

      Not exactly

      “people on the left sneer at the mere notion that people just wanted change now while they were cheering enthusiastically for the change 8 years ago.”

      This observation overlooks the significant number of Dem primary voters who did not vote for Clinton. The earlier observation that Dems just didn’t show up to vote is pretty relevant. I do agree that Clinton in particular & Dem leadership in general are woefully out of touch with rural / blue collar issues. When Trump ignores them, as he’s already hinted, there will be a new opportunity for the left to wake up to this realization.

  4. Submitted by Steve Titterud on 12/03/2016 - 12:13 am.

    A wee bit of understatement

    …”Obama has set a record for deporting the most Mexican immigrants of any president…” doesn’t quite get to the point.

    Forget the “Mexican” qualifier, let’s look at total deportations, even though they may primarily be Mexican.

    Under Obama’s administration, 2.5 million were deported (doesn’t include his last year)

    “In the 105 years between 1892 and 1997, the U.S. deported 2.1 million people”

    So Obama deported more than all Presidents in the 20th century COMBINED !!

    So it’s a little soft to say he merely deported more than any other President. His record on deportation goes waaaaay beyond this !!

    It’s true that Bush deported 2.1 million, but have you heard anyone argue that Bush was almost, but not quite, as bad as Obama in this regard ?? I think not.

  5. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 12/03/2016 - 06:05 am.

    You have to give Trump credit.

    He spent a fraction of what the Clinton campaign spent. And he did so without the full support of the Republican machine. Trump won because (a) Hillary was a horrible candidate and (b) the people who actually work for a living voted for Trump.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 12/03/2016 - 10:00 am.

      That’s why

      two and a half million more people (and counting) voted for Clinton than for Trump.
      Trump was elected (probably — it hasn’t acted yet) by the gerrymandered Electoral College.

      • Submitted by Richard Schulze on 12/04/2016 - 09:14 am.

        I think Minnesota illustrates that the election turned as much on issues of race and political correctness as it did on economic issues. The population of the state is exceptionally well-educated, except for the Twin City public schools, compared with the national norm. And yet Clinton barely took the state, she beat Trump by only 1.5% of the votes.

        A vote map of the state shows the entire Democratic strength concentrated in two places: the Twin Cities and St. Louis County. Other than that, the state is solid red. The outstate population is overwhelmingly white and quite prosperous. The Twin Cities has a large black population and a liberal white voting bloc. Whites in rural areas went entirely for Trump. It is a well-educated population and doing well economically. The lesson here seems to be that whites simply regarded Democrats as unfriendly to their interests.

        The Twin Cities are swamps of Political Correctness. This is probably due, in part, to the influence of the enormous flagship U of M. But, once “outstate,” this peters out pretty quickly. And, you can dismiss the idea that rural voters are hicks who marry their sisters. Minnesota, once outside the Twin Cities, is almost entirely farmland. So, a largely white citizenry, prosperous and sophisticated, almost carried the state for Trump and was prevented from doing so only by the black/Hispanic vote in the Twin Cities.

        Trump’s near win in Minnesota (IMO) is that white people voted for the party that seems to like white people and against the party that professes to dislike them. If the Democrats want these voters back they must cease their rhetoric about “white privilege” and all the rest of their Identity Politics strategy. One way to do this would be to drop Identity Politics altogether and appeal to class differences. These transcend color and ethnicity.

        If today’s Democratic Party can no longer rely on Minnesota voters then it has no future. The party’s disdain for nearly three-quarters of the electorate means permanent exile in the wilderness. So far, Identity Politics have brought liberals nothing but defeat.

      • Submitted by Leonard Foonimin on 12/05/2016 - 10:39 am.

        And the reason we have a gerrymandered Electoral College

        is because the Democrats have ignored the white working class for decades at state and local levels … there are more Republicans in state legislative seats then at any time in recent political history.

        • Submitted by Ken Bearman on 12/05/2016 - 03:58 pm.

          Gerrymandered Electoral College

          It’s that way because the Constitution gives each state two votes because of Senators, no matter the state’s population, on top of its relatively proportional Representative numbers.

          • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 12/06/2016 - 10:51 am.

            Underline ‘relatively’

            That’s why the Republicans control the House even though the majority of House votes were cast for Democrats. That magnifies the effect of each state starting with two electors.

      • Submitted by Richard Schulze on 12/05/2016 - 06:47 pm.

        The anticipated Electoral Ballot next month that will confirm Donald Trump as our next president means that the System operated exactly as the Framers intended.

    • Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 12/04/2016 - 11:21 am.

      Do keep in mind all the free national media time Trump got, from Fox and CNN in particular: Many millions of dollars-worth! I mean, we got to see and hear all his rallies, live, from stem to stern! Can’t buy that kind of coverage.

      And, strangely, the traditional thoughtful Republican Big Money Donors stayed away from Trump; they turned their shoulders on him to concentrate their money on state races.

      • Submitted by Steve Rose on 12/05/2016 - 11:26 am.

        The media played a large and unwitting hand

        In this election cycle, the mainstream media and Trump had a symbiotic relationship; he benefited greatly from the attention, and they pounced on every outrageous comment he uttered. The media thought that they were exposing him, while they were merely spreading his message. They thought they were carrying water for Hillary, while they were mindlessly carry fuel for the Trump fire. They couldn’t figure it out because they didn’t believe the feedback. In engineering, we refer to that as running open loop.

        The media greatly overplayed their hand; they turned a call for carefully vetting all Syrian refugees into a “deport all Muslims” narrative; people didn’t buy it. Many correctly interpreted it as a call for law and order, which is not an unpopular message.

  6. Submitted by David LaPorte on 12/03/2016 - 09:54 am.

    No simple answers

    When we say that Trump won, it’s important to specify WHAT he won. He won the Electoral College, but Clinton won the popular vote, both by substantial margins. The Electoral College vote is the only one that counts in a presidential election, so Trump will be the next president even though most of the citizens who actually voted supported Clinton, despite Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of millions of illegal voters.

    It’s also important to keep in mind that 90 million eligible voters (41%) did not vote in this election. This isn’t a result of people being disappointed with the available choices. This dismal turnout is typical of presidential elections over the years. Regardless of the reasons for nonparticipation, Clinton received 28.3% of eligible voters while Trump received 27.3%. But Trump won the Electoral College because Clinton’s votes were skewed towards high-population states (e.g. California), where an individual vote is worth about 1/3 of the a vote in a low population state as a result of the Electoral College.

    Race played a role the election outcome. Racism continues to be endemic is our society, even among people who feel that they’re enlightened. The fact that we elected Obama as president has been taken as evidence that this is no longer true, but, if the country had suddenly become race-neutral, the election of a black president wouldn’t have been seen as remarkable.

    Trump was, by far, the choice of the White Supremacists, but Clinton made a mistake by trying to use this fact against him. She hardened the convictions of the Trump supporters who are not outright racists by playing the “guilt by association” card. Clinton was also substantially less appealing to black voters than was Obama and so was hurt by the reduced turnout from that group, which heavily favors Democrats.

    “Fake news” also played a role in the outcome. Roughly half of the voters in this country get their news from Facebook provided by the newsfeeds of their friends, who generally have similar political views. Considering multiple points of view is a basic tenant of critical thinking, but today’s “media” landscape makes it all too easy to limit your exposure to “news” that reinforces your preferred views. Fake news is far more viral than real news because it strikes emotional cords and studies have shown that most people can’t distinguish real from fake news, particularly if the fake news justifies their viewpoints. The result is that voters felt like they’re making informed decisions when the foundation for those decisions was often fabricated.

    It is particularly troubling that the campaigns were influenced by WikiLeaks, very probably using hacked E mails that were supplied by the Russians. This conclusion was reached by the Department of Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence in a report released on October 7. These leaks were overwhelmingly anti-Clinton and reinforced the views of her detractors.

    Why Trump won is a complex question that can be rehashed for years. We should avoid the temptation to explain it with simplistic answers. We can probably dissect out some of the factors, but, when you’re talking about over 120 million voters and 90 million nonvoters, there won’t be any one set of factors that even comes close to explaining what happened.

  7. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 12/03/2016 - 11:25 am.

    Rejecting facts

    The right-wing voters who supported Trump routinely reject facts. If a factual truth contradicts their wishes, they reject it. Mr. Gutman’s paragraph on fact-checking is an example. There is a truth out there, and a lot of it has to do with the fact that Hillary Clinton lost, in some great part, because she didn’t condescend to the voters by pretending that you can have a two- or three-word slogan that “solves” a problem or offers a policy direction. Trump, the demagogue, appealed to people’s desire that there be a clear Yes or No to all complicated and painful realities in our economy. He repeated his simplistic mantras again and again. Clinton insisted that we face our problems’ complexity and come up with new directions that actually will help. Boring, right? Let’s go with Slick!

    With Clinton, you didn’t have to go through a cognitive-dissonance exercise to make Up be Down or Yesterday (which is totally gone) be Today, for Trump nostalgists who don’t want to live in Today. Trump Longers for the Past actually believe that Trump’s Carrier Corp. arm-twisting was more than a fairly empty symbol of his “protecting jobs,” when it’s more symbolic of his administration’s corruption (rent-seeking by corporations).

    There are news outlets that are more faithful to truth than others. But our American electorate is not composed precisely of people who pay much attention. The Trump folks heard short slogans that fed their dark side, addressed their fears and resentments, and denied the realities of the present. They wanted our rapidly-changing globalized world to STOP changing!

    So we get a highly-militarized foreign policy administration with Trump, Wall Street/Goldman Sacks magnates running the economy for him, billionaires privatizing our public schools and demolishing Social Security along with any public health insurance like Medicare, and a wild man who has refused to accept National Security briefings that prohibit his daughter and her husband from being present at his meetings with foreign leaders and a wild man who has begun calling foreign leaders without any consultation with the State Department about policy (his horrific call with Twiwan, for example). A wild man.

    He certainly is bringing change!

  8. Submitted by Rosalie O'Brien on 12/03/2016 - 12:03 pm.

    Seriously: the medium vs. the message

    Eric, thanks for the report on Ms. Walter’s talk. I hesitate to say that I “get it,” but here are some thoughts:

    1. The Medium: We would do well to recall some of the things Marshall McLuhan said about the power of the media, moving from the 60’s to its application to digital media, particularly today’s “social media.” The medium introduces its own qualitative effect on communication, particularly mass communication. As a good friend recently said, technology has provided tools that can be used to expose corruption and rot, but they can also be used to confuse the notion of truth and build the walls of our differences into impenetrable fortresses. Seems to me it’s a sort of social media tribalism phenomenon. And if, as McLuhan said, the objective of “advertising men” is to manipulate, exploit, and control the individual, it’s not surprising that the character who played himself on The Apprentice could be the choice of those who wanted to send their own message loud and clear (see 3, below). We become what we behold, indeed.

    2. The Message: I think today’s mass media failed us in this election cycle. It was mostly a superficial “he said, she said” kind of coverage that implied that the candidates were on an equal footing. That is not balanced reporting, but rather a sad failure to go behind the surface. A very small example: yesterday the WaPo, in a story by Amber Phillips, said that “just because the election was close doesn’t mean it was rigged, like people on both sides have been insinuating….” In my view, to equate baseless accusations made for tactical advantage prior to the election and the prudent invocation of an established process for confirmation, and likely validation, of extremely close results is unacceptable.

    Perhaps Eric alludes to this with his comment about “horse race polling,” with which I heartily agree: It seems to me that much of our mass media is out of control, engaging in talk for its own sake (quantity) rather than in pursuit of deeper insight (quality). This superficial non-journalism exacerbates the social media tribalism phenomenon.

    3. The Reality: As Matt Taibbi said so well in 2014 in his book The Divide, how can it be that poverty goes up, crime goes down, and the prison population doubles? Speaking of “getting it,” the thought may be very offensive to most of us, but we’ve come to accept the silent calculations that are made about who is entitled to what rights in this society. Another layer has been added to the American ideal of equality under the law. Taibbi recounts having studied in Russia in the late 80’s: “one of the first things I noticed about that dysfunctional wreck of a lunatic country was that it had two sets of laws, one written and one unwritten.” The former were meaningless, unless you violated one of the latter. His example is the possession of dollars: technically forbidden, yet he “never met a Soviet citizen who didn’t have them.” So small people could be arrested for having three dollars, yet city officials could sport Savile Row suits with impunity. He says that the hypocrisy was understood “implicitly, almost at a cellular level, far beneath thought,” and that once people realized and openly questioned it, the system fell apart within months. Yet he muses that our country may be falling into a similar delusion, only in reverse.

    And this could be the biggest irony of all: in pursuit of change, voters elected a man who, while portraying himself as rich, has demonstrated in an unbelievable number of ways that in fact he exemplifies hypocrisy. His tax schemes, his use of bankruptcy laws, his boorishness, his narcissism are all utterly inconsistent with any idea of fairness and equal rights. It may be a sign of the degree of voters’ utter desperation that they voted for CHANGE no matter what. (Of course, Ms. Clinton’s wealth-producing speeches to Wall Street banks played perfectly into this scenario.) “Seriously, not literally” may also be a characterization of the voters’ message itself: they voted for the guy on The Apprentice, not for Donald Trump; the truth or reality of what he said–or had done–didn’t matter. Lest we forget that “reality TV” is not reality, this may explain in significant part why phone-call polling was relatively worthless.

    Dare we hope that ultimately, this election will bring about change of a beneficial kind? One can scoff, but perhaps that’s what democracy is all about. If only the idea, given the initial route, wasn’t so utterly petrifying.

  9. Submitted by Jon Lord on 12/03/2016 - 01:04 pm.

    Credit Trump and the Trumpettes

    For making a choice that will lead the Trumpettes to a deeper regret. The ones that are near the bottom of the social ladder first. The middle class too will be included later. It should be obvious by his picks for his administration. It’s interesting that he is choosing the very people he claimed he wouldn’t, the lobbyists and wall streeters, and not to mention war hawks. His Trumpettes don’t care and probably won’t once the cards are turned over. They aren’t paying attention because they don’t know one from the other. They just voted for the wall. Oh yes, and the second amendment. I hate to say it but…’lol’.

    Unfortunately, the democrats are still fighting amongst themselves rather than focusing on a reasonably long coherent message for the majority. I think that message has to include history in it and continue to point out the flawed reasoning of the right. More than ever this country will need a real education going forward and that will be the real fight. Of course, an educated public won’t favor the wealthy class like a Trump will. Trump has something very close to him to protect and that’s his own wealth. Could that have been more obvious? Nope, it surely wasn’t. (?)

  10. Submitted by Richard Adair on 12/03/2016 - 02:37 pm.

    The power of symbols

    Interesting article, Eric, but let’s not make this too complicated. Trump connected with voters’ worries using powerful symbols (that people didn’t take literally). Clinton overwhelmed them with data and arguments that were good policy but didn’t connect.

    When are the A students eagerly waving their hands in the front row going to realize that there are lots of kids in the back rows just waiting for the bell to ring? The candidates who can connect with both groups win.

    PS: Mr. Rovick (first comment), I think you mean General David Patreus, not Stanley McChrystal.

  11. Submitted by kaimay terry on 12/03/2016 - 04:05 pm.

    No more regurgitated news from pundits and talking heads

    Amy Walter is an arrogant pundit who accuses her peers of being out of touch. Early on she came to the conclusion that Hillary Clinton was also a “flawed” candidate similar to Trump. Hillary’s only flaw was that she had a long track record of service for the common good in and OUT of government service. Her experience in trying to do good and yes failed multiple times, became the fodder for phony issues and ridicule….amplified fast and fury via the HIJACKED tweeter, facebook….

    For a country that would allow a candidate to be called a Bitch all over the internet and without SERIOUS criticism from traditional mainstream media is an OUTRAGE. By remaining silent, Amy was one of “them” hiding under the guise of “fair” reporting.

    Then the author credited her for her insight into understanding the outcome of the election i.e. voters want change. How new or insightful is that? Remember 8 years ago, voters dissatisfied with the state of our union also wanted change. That was Obama’s battle cry. Almost all candidates running for any election use “change” as a slogan.

    Political pundits should just remain humble, stick to the knitting. That is report verifiable news only. We citizens do not need these talking head filters for the regurgitated news even on Public TV. Amen

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 12/04/2016 - 10:17 am.

      Language lesson

      From Merriam Webster:
      ” …. a person who knows a lot about a particular subject and who expresses ideas and opinions about that subject publicly (such as by speaking on television and radio shows)”

      A pundit is NOT simply a reporter.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/05/2016 - 08:58 am.

        Aye, there’s the rub

        Many reporters pretend to be pundits, and them that’s not reporters didn’t have to submit any “pundit” credentials.

  12. Submitted by Joel Stegner on 12/03/2016 - 04:26 pm.

    The winner was …

    That is a trick question. Hillary had the most popular votes, but no candidate had a majority. Had we used ranked choice to ensure a candidate ends up with a majority, I would bet Trump wouldn’t have won.

    Additionally, .Republican states across the county installed voter ID and other voting barriers to deter voting by traditional Democrats – with great effect. That explains wins in WI, MI and PA and held Hillary’a margin down to 2.5.

    This explains Trump’s election. Small rural states have disproportionate clout in the Electoral College. He may have won the election, but most people don’t like him or his policies. And as he had already broken most of his campaign promises already, and we haven’t any polls to see what people think, we do not know how much support he has.

    Fact is, the media did a very poor job of venting Trump and have him millions in free air time, because less critical of his bizarre claims than Hillary’s emails,which aided his campaign. They are not going to find fault with that and now have the incentive to say he is not so bad after all, as he has made it clear that media who don’t play ball will be punished.

    I think that media need to be even more reflective than Democrats, because the media were the biggest losers in the election.

  13. Submitted by Ray J Wallin on 12/03/2016 - 07:15 pm.

    Three points:

    1) During the election, the media made billions off of Trump. Now they are raking in even more money explaining how wrong they were…

    2) Overlooked in most election coverage is the Twitter-Effect, where liberal ideas get national media attention, their importance gets overblown, and dissenters get ridiculed to the point that there cannot be a conversation.

    3) People keep talking about Trump like he is some right-wing Republican.

  14. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/04/2016 - 11:19 am.

    Who’s predictions?

    It’s important to note that not everyone predicted a Clinton victory. It’s nice to see an obituary that confirms what many of us were saying BEFORE the election but it’s important to note that some of us were pointing ALL of this out at the time. Maybe YOU weren’t looking at the mood of the country, the numerous and insurmountable liabilities, the anti-elite rebellion, in other words the bloody obvious right in front of you, but don’t ask us to pretend that this was a universal fit of blindness shared by all or that NO ONE saw this coming.

    As to why they got wrong? They got it wrong for two basic reasons: 1) The were relying on junk data (i.e. polls) to run their analysis. and: 2). They were making a LOT of bizarre assumptions about voters and voter behavior, only a some of which are discussed in this article. Democrats in particular made a whole pile of bizarre assumptions when they put Clinton on the ballot and then they doubled down on all of those assumptions until she lost the election.

    Relax, I spent months pointing to these Bizarre assumptions and faulty reasoning so I’m not going to recap here.

    I do have one question or challenge to issue: I’ve seen this my whole adult life with the media, whenever you see a situation like this, where the media has basically joined the throng of noise that turned out be wrong; instead of finding someone (and there is ALWAYS someone) who got it right afterwards, they seek out those who got it wrong and ask for explanations, as if those who got it wrong are in a better position to explain their failure than those were not wrong. What’s up with that?

  15. Submitted by Charles Holtman on 12/04/2016 - 11:48 am.

    “His supporters take him seriously, but not literally”

    And this is the crux of the judgment against Trump voters: That they took him seriously.

    We on the left understand and share the anger at the concentration of wealth and dismantling of the middle and working classes that followed directly from the Reagan agenda and over the course of 40 years, and decisively thru Right-center DLC Clintonism, became the Republican/Democratic establishment consensus. We on the left have argued for years that DLC/Clintonism and the race to the middle (“middle” meaning into the loving arms of this consensus) not only is, of course, terrible for people and country, but abandons the (aspirational) Democratic terrain of true populism to, at best, the hucksters and, at worst, the authoritarians. I don’t know of anyone on the left who is dismissive of the anger among the former middle and working classes in the Rust Belt, Appalachia or elsewhere. And unlike those people, whose vote for Trump, we are told, rests as much on their hurt feelings at our apparent contempt for them, for decades we on the left have borne both their straw mischaracterizations and their ridicule with general equability.

    What I do stand in judgment of is the extraordinary lack of character discernment in those who voted for Trump. It is not possible to find anything in his words and actions over a lifetime, or to observe him for a moment, or to look at the sorts of people with whom he has chosen to surround himself, and believe for an instant that he understands or empathizes with the straits of his voters, cares about them or has the slightest intention, or indeed competence, to do anything about them. I thought it was the good folks in the heartland who could look a person in his eye and size up his character.

    “Change” in this election, and this real world, meant supporting Sanders as far as he could go; voting for Clinton as by far the lesser of two evils; doing what could be done to thwart her establishment economic, foreign policy and national security agenda; and then working in 2020 for Sanders 2.0 – a progressive, truly populist figure like Sanders with a more fully defined message to bring the traditional progressive constituencies and the working classes together. “Change” doesn’t mean voting for a transparent con man who will continue to rob the middle and working classes blind while upping the hate and anger against false enemies to keep them distracted.

  16. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 12/04/2016 - 02:04 pm.

    What is your viable answer Republicans?

    Trump, like most of his other campaign promises, will back away from the wall. He and congress will see the price tag, flinch, and back down. The immigration issue will continue to be a purely a self-inflicted wound caused by politicians. The Hispanics that come across the border are good, cheap laborers who are good for business. It was and is caused by political inaction, plain and simple. The Hispanics are a very valuable resource for the big agriculture businesses, hotel/motel businesses, and dairy farms in California, Florida, and Minnesota and wherever these businesses exist. Republican President George W. Bush’s standard retort when asked about the illegal immigrants was “They are doing the job Americans won’t do”. This has been going on so long now the Hispanic’s have had children, who are legal American Citizens. Grand standing on “a wall and no amnesty” the politicians are all acting like they didn’t have anything to do with this problem, when “they created it”. Morally the kids can’t remain and send their parents back to their country of origin. The problem needs to be figured out and figured out soon or it is going to do nothing but get worse. A 2,000-mile-long wall and deportation of 11 million people simply isn’t realistic. Now is the time to force the Republican politicians, who will be in charge, into action. The minimal number of illegals with criminal records do have to be deported. Trump can campaign on his half-baked wishes but at some point, he must work with an obstreperous congress to come to a viable solution. My guess is they will just kick the issue down the street and let someone else handle it. I’m not holding my breath because the Republicans have had the last 8 years of, phony repeal and replace votes, to get rid of Obamacare and they still can’t do it

    If a person voted for Trump, whose language is all about violence, racism, sexism, misogyny, etc. they must believe in what Trump speaks of. If they believe in what Trump says that says they are guilty of the same unfortunate beliefs that Trump has. You can’t vote and argue for a person and then denounce what that person stands for, it is called hypocrisy.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/05/2016 - 08:40 am.

      Actually your analysis is flawed on a basic level

      The immigration crises wasn’t caused by political inaction, quite the contrary. Politicians changed immigration policies dramatically over the decades making it more and more difficult to enter the country and become a citizen. Clinton and Gore privatized large portions of what used to be the Immigration and Naturalization Service and those contractors have made the application process enormously complex and expensive for anyone who wants to come in legally. The expectation is that EVERYONE will hire an immigration attorney.

      Listen, back in the late 90’s my wife, who is a citizen born in Boston, was trying to change an application for her sister who lives in Panama. The INS had been sitting on the application for so long that the number of children had increased from one to three (about 7 years). My wife was simply trying to find out whether or not that information needed to be updated on the application and if so how? She spent a year trying to contact the private contractor working for the INS, ended up taking a day off work, never even managed to get a hold of anyone in person, and finally got an e-mail telling her they would only answer her question if she paid $100. That’s the private sector for you, that application was filed more than 20 years ago and it has NEVER been processed. Her sister just gave up and decided to stay in Panama but if we had wanted to get that application processed we would have had to hire a lawyer. This was a standard application on behalf of a relative of a US citizen, nothing special or complicated.

      My wife is an educated (Ph.D) and successful professional US citizen, how can anyone imagine a that someone with little formal education and no money could possibly navigate the system we’ve created? THIS is why people try to get in illegally. In the 1800’s all you had to was get to Ellis Island somehow and as long as you weren’t sick with a communicable disease you were processed and dumped on the streets of New York City. THAT was how MY great grand parents got into the country. I don’t think the children and grand children of European immigrants understand this, the reason our great grand parents got into the country legally is it was almost impossible to get in illegally! Completely the opposite of what it is today.

      Now we can debate the why’s and wherefores of all this but the fact is that sealing borders and blocking immigration would be stupid thing to do on a variety of levels for a variety of reason, yet that’s practically what our policies have been designed to do, and that was NOT a product of inaction or neglect, it was absolutely deliberate.

      • Submitted by Tom Christensen on 12/05/2016 - 03:44 pm.

        What I was trying to get at

        Once in the country the illegal Hispanics are pretty much ignored by the politicians because they are good for the industries I mentioned. It makes good campaign fodder to call for their ouster, but the politicians are the ones who will have to figure out how it is all handled. I find it sad to use people to our advantage and then want to kick them out of the country.

        I’m sorry our messed up immigrations system didn’t work for your sister in law.

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/06/2016 - 11:17 am.


          I appreciate your sympathy, things worked out for the best with my sister-in law after all. But I have to point that Latino’s have not been ignored by politicians, they’ve been under attack for a solid decade or more. Obama has deported more Latin American’s than any other president, and the war on “illegals” goes back decades but was intensified under Bush and Obama.

          It’s true that undocumented Latino’s serve a vital economic function, but they have lived in more or less constant fear of discovery and deportation for ever since Sept. 11, 2001.

          But I agree, undocumented workers are among the most unfairly exploited groups in the nation, they pay taxes and contribute to our economy but have no voice or representation, and are stand-by targets for any politician or anyone else who want’s to boost popularity among bigots and ill informed nationalists.

  17. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 12/04/2016 - 06:06 pm.


    Mr. Rovick, please provide examples of “conservative media.”

    Mr. Simon, you are correct, Democrats who didn’t vote for Clinton in many cases also wanted a change, just in a different direction. But I was referring to how desire for change was portrayed in this article and many others in the media. As for an opportunity for Democrats in the next election, you may be correct but first Democrats should stop talking about racism, white privilege, and xenophobia and that will be difficult for them to do.

    Mr. Brandon, saying that Clinton won more votes than Trump is just saying that player A won more games in tennis match than player B who actually won the match by sets – basically that would be different game that player B did not play. Also, how can one gerrymander Electoral College if it is based on state borders?

    Mr. Laporte, will you please provide evidence that racism is endemic in our society? And can you explain why black voters heavily favor Democrats? I also want to point out that Trump voters were on average older than therefore less likely to use Facebook as a news source.

    Ms. Sullivan, will you please point out the specific facts that I (since you referred to me by name) routinely reject?

    Mr. Lord, don’t you think that calling all people voting for Trump quite dismissively Trumpettes is one sure way to confirm their choice? And what do you want to educate them about? That they are racists, sexists, homophobes, etc.?

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 12/05/2016 - 08:35 am.

      I’ll google a list for you, Mr. Gutman !

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 12/05/2016 - 05:16 pm.

      Elections are not a tennis match

      Electoral college votes start with two electors per state, but after that are based on population in election districts. These can be gerry mandered by concentrating members of one party in a limited number of districts, so that the other party can control more total districts by narrow margins.
      For example, say that there are three districts (call them A, B and C). Each district has ten votes. District A goes Republican 6/4, District B goes Republican 7/3, District C goes Democrat 9/1. The Republicans have a total of 14 votes, while the Democrats have a total of 16. But the Republicans control two of the three districts.
      That’s why the Republicans have a majority in the House of Representatives even though the majority of votes cast for House seats went to the Democrats.

      • Submitted by Richard Schulze on 12/06/2016 - 08:43 am.

        The Electoral College ensures that democracy works across all the states and no single state gets to rule over the others. Removing the Electoral College would make a mockery of the very concept of the United States. Without the Electoral College, the country will become Texas vs. California. The diversity across all the 50 states would not be represented.

        Democracy is not just about numbers but about giving everyone a voice and taking everyone’s concerns from all geographic areas into account. The Electoral College does that. A simple majority does not.

        • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 12/06/2016 - 12:45 pm.

          By your logic

          An individual’s vote in California is worth less than an individual’s vote in Montana.

        • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 12/06/2016 - 05:17 pm.

          Recite the Pledge of Allegiance

          We are a Republic, not a Democracy.
          The etymology is interesting:
          Res Publica — thing of the people.
          Demos — mob.

          • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/07/2016 - 09:11 am.

            False distinction

            A republic is form of democracy. The distinction between a liberal democracy and a republic is one that searches in vain for a difference. The only reason the framers tended to use the term “republic” instead of “democracy” was that it was a more popular term of that era, not because they weren’t designing a democracy. You can say we have a representative democracy rather than a direct democracy where everyone votes on every single thing, but the idea that we don’t live in a democracy is simple incoherent, it would like saying we live in a “province” instead of a “state”.

  18. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 12/05/2016 - 07:08 am.

    Time for a change

    A good friend of mine, a long time veteran of the political wars, told me that the most effective political message out there is, “it’s time for a change”.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/05/2016 - 09:04 am.

      Let’s hope…

      Democrats not only adopt the message but recognize it as an existential fact. They’ve been trying: “This is no time for change” for a few decades now.

  19. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/05/2016 - 08:57 am.

    Follow up to my own comment

    In a previous post I claimed that the predictions of Clinton’s victory were wrong because the analysis was based on junk data i.e. polls.

    I was discussing this with my wife, who is a epidemiologist that knows more about statistical analysis than I ever will or have forgotten and she actually disagreed. She says that she was always surprised by the predictions because they appeared to be contrary to the data. The polls never really showed Clinton with a commanding lead, for the most part Clinton and Trump were too close to call, and in some cases Trump even had the lead. Where Clinton had a lead in most cases it was barely beyond the margin of error witch means in that with most polling methods, they were tied. She never understood how these guys like Nate Silver could look at this data, ignore everything else, and decide Clinton had a 70+% chance of winning. She says it wasn’t junk data, it was junk analysis.

    She’s got a point. I know one reason I was always worried was whenever I looked at the actual poll numbers I was never impressed by Clinton’s lead despite the fact that the media by and large described it as a “commanding” lead. We saw Clinton blow double digit leads and lose against Sanders in several states so anything less than a double digit lead (which I don’t think she EVER had over Trump) made me nervous.

  20. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 12/05/2016 - 10:02 am.

    If nothing else, I hope that this puts to rest all of the Nate Silver meta-poll nonsense. Nate Silver’s appearances on the networks on election night were the grim definition of intensifying flop-sweat.

    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 12/05/2016 - 12:19 pm.

      I am Waiting for the Call

      The next election cycle, I am expecting to be paid by the networks to predict the outcomes. I predicted Hillary’s loss right here on MinnPost two years before the fruition. The fact that Hillary eventually faced Trump, was as good of a scenario as she could have had. But, it just didn’t matter.

      Her impending loss was abundantly evident to anyone willing to consider who she is.

      “The next President may be a Democrat, but not this Democrat.

      I will comment on two reason this is the case. The first is that she is not a likable person nor a likable candidate. I am aware of the polls that have her winning the presidency in 2016. Those are the same polls that in 2006 had her winning the Presidency in 2008. Let’s get excited about those polls!

      The second reason is Bill Clinton, who was a likable person. Bill wore the Teflon suit that enabled him to shed the slime that he created. It did however get on those around him. Ask Al Gore. While not a likable person, he had spent the previous eight years to his presidential bid as the VP of a popular president. How did he parlay that resume’ into a loss? Some of the Clinton slime came to rest on Al; Hillary wears it too.”

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 12/05/2016 - 01:22 pm.

        A reminder

        More people voted for Gore than for Bush.
        Bush’s only majority was in the Supreme Court.

        • Submitted by Steve Rose on 12/05/2016 - 02:35 pm.

          Which in turn ..

          Which in turn gave him the majority of the votes in the electoral college, the place where it matters, which is how it all works, lacking a constitutional amendment to make it otherwise.

          • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 12/05/2016 - 03:44 pm.

            The Constitution does say something

            about courts usurping the States’ constitutional right to determine election procedures.

            • Submitted by Steve Rose on 12/05/2016 - 04:45 pm.

              What does the Constitution say?

              “U.S. Constitution is not explicit on the right to vote, Wisconsin Rep. Mark Pocan says”


              • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 12/05/2016 - 06:48 pm.


                It leaves elections to the states.
                “Article 1.
                Section 4. Times, etc., of holding elections, how prescribed. One session in each year.
                1. The times, places and manner of holding elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by law make or alter such regulations, except as to the places of choosing Senators.
                Section 5. Membership, Quorum, Adjournments, Rules, Power to punish or expel. Journal. Time of adjournments, how limited, etc.
                1. Each House shall be the judge of the elections, returns and qualifications of its own members, and a majority of each shall constitute a quorum to do business; but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the attendance of absent members, in such manner, and under such penalties as each House may provide.”

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/06/2016 - 09:31 am.

          Gore blew it, he lost.

          Gore blew it because he and his team chose a disastrous legal strategy. Instead of calling for a statewide recall in Florida, which would have been a clear and unambiguous request under the State’s election laws, they cherry-picked counties they expected to win and dragged the recount into a legal swamp. That decision created the legal opening for US Supreme Court intervention. Then he lost the recount.

          Had Gore simply requested a statewide recount he would have won, because we know now that he actually won the state.

          At any rate these claims about popular votes are facile because everyone knows going into this that we don’t elect presidents by popular vote. One of the many many many agendas democrats could have put on the table in Obama’s first two years was a Constitutional Amendment but like so many other liberal initiatives they set it aside. So whatever. Neither Gore nor the Clinton got an actual majority of the vote (50+%) so popular vote claims are simply irrelevant beyond refuting any “mandate” claims republicans might make.

          • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 12/06/2016 - 12:48 pm.

            Except that

            the Supreme Court violated the Constitution by interfering with an ongoing state electoral procedure.

            • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/07/2016 - 09:12 am.


              Gore’s attempt to cherry pick counties gave SCOTUS the excuse they needed to interfere. Whether their interference was or wasn’t constitutional has never been decided, and we don’t get to make that decision, although I tend to agree with you. At any rate it still falls back on Gore and his team.

  21. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 12/05/2016 - 06:38 pm.

    Hillary failed her base as

    Hillary failed her base as much as her base failed her. (Actually her real base was Wall Street and they found a bigger whale). That is the lovely thing about betrayal. It usually runs in both directions simultaneously. The more people you have betrayed, the more you will be betrayed. HRCs life is the textbook example.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/06/2016 - 09:42 am.

      Yes and No

      The thing I’ve noticed over the decades is that the democratic elite and party leadership like the Clinton’s don’t seem to realize they actually have a base, that the problem with “identity” politics. Worse, these democrats as often as not decide that their base is moderate republicans rather than liberals, if anything THAT’S the fatal flaw of the Clinton Strategy. They alienate liberals in pursuit of republican votes they’re never going to get anyways. They actually believed republican voters would come to their rescue and put Clinton over the top! Meanwhile they insulted and derided liberals who wanted some basic liberal policies like single payer, living wages, and equality projects on the table.

      • Submitted by Richard Schulze on 12/06/2016 - 03:44 pm.

        The Democratic Party, in a

        The Democratic Party, in a unique act of self-immolation, turned its back on more than two-thirds of the electorate with its foolish infatuation with Identity Politics.The genius of the Democratic Party had been that it united all races and creeds with a broad appeal of social justice. FDR was elected to four terms with an unlikely coalition of southern whites, working people nationwide and northern blacks.

        Obama showed his hand with his “They cling to their religion and guns” sneer. Clinton showed her loathing for honest labor, albeit low-paid, when she wrote off one-quarter of the population as “deplorables.” That a Democrat should make such a wounding comment about the white working-class was the most offensive remark by a politician in my memory.

        HRC was an awful candidate. Bernie understood where she was taking the Party and he warned against it. But, when he spoke out against Identity Politics he was savaged by the same group of Democratic that caused this month’s catastrophe for economic democracy. The Democratic Party that tried to divide America by race and gender all but destroyed itself. And, it had it coming.

  22. Submitted by Steve Rose on 12/05/2016 - 07:25 pm.

    Still Talking About the Wall?

    The photo at the top of National Geographic article is on the California border and it was built during Bill Clinton’s presidency.

    And, work continues even today to improve security along the border with Mexico. The idea of controlling the border, of being a sovereign nation, resonates positively with many. The Democrats attempted in vain to use the idea of improving border security against Trump; it was a loser issue for them.

    Excerpt from the National Geographic link:

    “Donald Trump has famously and repeatedly promised to seal the border with a wall if he’s elected. He and others have promised to send people who illegally crossed the border—a number that appears to have leveled off—back to Mexico. For these people, the border wall isn’t an abstraction. Many parts of the border are already covered in fences. In other spots, the wall is not made of bricks, but out of scanners, drones, and guards.”

  23. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 12/05/2016 - 08:42 pm.

    I checked

    Mr. Rovick, I reviewed the list and noticed that there is only one TV channel and only one national newspaper vs. many liberal ones. On the other hand, listing Christian Science Monitor, Forbes, National Catholic Reporter, and many others as conservative is ridiculous – have you ever read them? I have. So the fact is: liberal media has a much greater outreach than conservative one.

    Mr. Brandon, you math may be correct for the House vote but it has nothing to do with the presidential election where everyone votes for a president separately… On the other hand, do you think it would be a good idea to let voters in district C decide the entire election? I mean dictate of the majority is pretty dangerous. What if tomorrow 99% would decide that they want to take everything from the 1%… It’s been tried…

    • Submitted by Charles Holtman on 12/06/2016 - 09:36 am.

      Please stop already

      With the “liberal” and “conservative” media. This means of classifying is incoherent and doesn’t correspond to any understanding of whom the media serve, how they operate or the effect they have on how the citizenry thinks. The media, from far-right to liberal, serve establishment interests. Play that out and you will see how they all advance the interests of the elite, and hence an authoritarian trajectory. The “liberal” and “conservative” media construct is just one means by which this is obfuscated.

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 12/06/2016 - 10:15 am.

      Take it up your disagreement with the conservatives who wrote up the list. Make your own amendments to the site–it’s a conservative Wiki.

      It seems to be pretty accurate because they don’t have have the liberals favorite conservative, Mr.” Road to Character” on the list.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 12/06/2016 - 10:57 am.

      Make up your mind

      Is the President chosen by the Electoral College, or by popular vote?
      If your statement is true, then Clinton is President, since the greatest number of individual votes went to her.

  24. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 12/06/2016 - 11:08 am.

    The Trumpian Hordes…

    The failure of the polls can be witnessed right here in the MINNPOST comment pages. Trying to find Trump advocates who supported him and were willing to express that support in the form of comments before the election were few and far between. Now as post election comments begin to accumulate we see more pro Trump support in the comments section.

    They were all too embarrassed by their candidate’s pre-election antics to publicly commit to him, even in a sheltered comments environment. Not until they got into the voting booth did they express their true opinion. Now that he has won, The Trumpers feel it is OK to peek their heads out of the hole and share a few thoughts.

    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 12/06/2016 - 12:18 pm.

      Where Were the Hillary Hordes?

      As I mentioned upstream, I called the Hillary loss in November 2014.

      There are a number of committed liberal commenters and Community Voice authors, who voiced little or no Hillary support. It seems that it was her election to lose, and she did. There was no real passion for her candidacy nor pre-election excitement. Of course it was an assumed win, which we all read about in the pre-election press.

      If you carry the “D” behind your name, and you only capture 46% of the Minnesota vote, you might be the wrong candidate.

  25. Submitted by Jim Halonen on 12/06/2016 - 12:25 pm.

    Look at the big picture

    Instead of focusing on the HRC/DJT polling, it might be instructive to look at the current events big picture: Brexit, Trump, Renzi, Hollande.

  26. Submitted by beryl john-knudson on 12/11/2016 - 06:37 am.

    Excuses will not make it all better

    Corporate media backed itself into a corner on this one…how many faces offered their copycat opinion; stacking the network panels with serial wordsmiths and that is the best they could offer?

    Mainstream media was a joke,whomever tries to explain the silly putty pundits or try to justify what happened?

    Choice already was tainted by two power grabbing star candidates and a general public in a catatonic state sold or carelessly accepted the fate of this nation …only says we are headed down a strange road tomorrow?

    Now in the aftermath we try to patch up our future Trumpian empire so the double speaking ‘chosen one’ here may not really be as bad as he,seems; is not as racist or tyrannical a president as he promises?

    Comptomising cosmetics won’t soften the image’ or change the face of Trump, our future President?

  27. Submitted by beryl john-knudson on 12/12/2016 - 05:44 am.

    correction last comment

    “compromising” cosmetics

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