What Trump managed was, unquestionably, the greatest upset in American political history, and arguably, the greatest electoral upset in the history of the modern world.
…thus wrote Scott McKay in today’s American Spectator. He goes on to add:
Hillary Clinton lost this race more than Trump won it. Which is not a disparagement of Trump’s upset; if nothing else, his late surge came from an excellent display of political discipline in largely refraining from any controversial words or deeds once Clinton’s legal troubles began multiplying 10 days out from Election Day — that restraint allowed her to lose the race and made him President of the United States.
Because what happened on Election Night was that the national gag reflex manifested itself. And the Democrats’ attempts at forcing down a charmless Alinskyite grifter under multiple FBI investigations ran afoul of that reflex. She found herself the victim of a massive laryngeal spasm on the part of the electorate.
Well, maybe Scott. Certainly the ‘anyone-but-Hillary’ force was strong, but….was it really that great an upset, really so unpredictable? To quote black talk show host Larry Elder: I Hate to Say I Told You So – Actually, I Really Don’t Mind. Back in March I wrote this blog post, before Trump even got the nomination. I should add that then and now I don’t see Trump as a good or great man, though he now has a huge chance to show such qualities, but rather, I thought I was being realistic. All this amazement from pollsters and the media getting it wrong really does show how little they live in the real world. The one British hack who completely gets this is a lefty – the estimable John Harris of the Guardian.
I revisited it 5 months later, by which point Trump had the nomination, but very little true support from within the Republican party. At that time I quoted a member of my own family: I’m stunned to think that anyone can consider a racist dishonest misogynistic hateful, despicable human as Trump as suitable over any other candidate. I agree Hillary leaves a lot to be desired but for sheer evil Trump outstrips her every step of the way.
You would think that after Brexit people might start to question the received wisdom of the media/Establishment, if only to save a little face. Impeccably liberal Maureen Dowd of the humiliated New York Times gives an interesting and fair minded take of her own family’s split on the topic here.
Anyway, in the spirit of closing the loop (as those of us involved in clinical audit like to say), here are the specific predictions in the 8 month old blog revisited:
- Trump will be the Republican candidate, without a brokered convention
Yup, that was actually very straightforward
2. The party will rally round him with a few unimportant exceptions
3. He will rapidly and overtly assemble a team of big hitters — few people will turn him down
Well, Pence was an inspired VP choice for folk who found Trump a bit too wild. Giuliani was solid. Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway were brilliant choices for the big run in. Trump is either very lucky or a good judge of people.
4. He will win the election
5. That will primarily be because he’ll gain votes from former Democrats who can’t stand Hillary and actually like what Trump says, but they won’t tell pollsters that
Tick! Look at the electoral map – even California gets in on the change. As for the neglected rustbelt, disdained by Obama and his toadies…
6. A negligible number of Republican voters will defect, or abstain
Tick! Well the turnout was around 56%, and the lowish figure is thought to be mainly disaffected Democrats (according to Vox)
7. He will gain more of the black and Hispanic votes than anyone is predicting at the moment (read the original post for some interesting detail on this)
Most surprisingly, official exit polls show Trump won 29 percent of the Latino vote; Romney had won 27 percent in 2012…As with Latinos, black men voted for Trump in higher numbers than their female counterparts, at 13 percent compared to 4 percent of black women.
8. He will be far more cautious and pragmatic in office than current rhetoric suggests – he will listen to advisers
Well he certainly listened during the campaign, especially latterly – the relaxed, discursive confident Trump in the late rallies
I’m still hoping on this, but there’s at least 23 to choose from, albeit I’ve not heard of lots of them, so ‘celebrity’ might be pushing it. It should be easy enough to spot if Barbra Steisand has actually upped sticks. Apparently Canada don’t want most of them
10. Economically he will avoid the threatened trade war, but send out a few protectionist messages
He’s a pragmatic businessman who will have to do something to support the US worker. It might be bumpy, but US power – and the ubiquitous dollar – is great enough for him to manage it. The UK will do well with Trump.
11. Foreign policy will be left to a smart Secretary of State and the military
Well, war is sometimes necessary, and I take the view that difficult though it may be, the West will have to play a significant part in destroying ISIS. Heraclitus would concur, I think. Trump may not be squeaky clean on Iraq – like many people who suspected it was a bad idea, he vacillated a bit. There is no evidence at all that he would be a gung-ho neocon or Hillary style Libyan interventionist. As for this weird Dem obsession with hating Putin/Russia above everyone else, I know he’s a bad guy, but he is against some of the worst people. Try Rod Liddle on this.
12. I’ve no idea what he’ll do in reality re immigration
Though Ann Coulter has…
I think I did alright with the predictions so far. Even if it goes a bit pear-shaped (but nowhere near as bad as Barack has managed), at least we have the late John von Kannon‘s wise advice:
“If you can’t have good government, at least have entertaining government.”