Sifting through the post-election debris, we find ….

hillary-clinton-concession-speech-ap

(AP)

If you’re searching for a unified theory to explain Donald Trump’s victory, you search in vain. Like most such events, it is explainable only as the result of an unlikely sequence of circumstances, every single one of which had to come true to produce the final outcome.

In this particular case, the necessary sequence goes all the way back to 1789, to the founders’ fateful decision to select presidents through the Electoral College rather than the popular vote. Little did they know what consequences that would produce. From there, the sequence runs all the way up through Bill Clinton’s presidency and NAFTA, to Russia’s intervention and the last-minute bungling by the FBI’s James Comey, concluding with the simple failure of liberal voters to show up and vote in the right states.

All of those things had to happen, and then did happen, to produce President-elect Trump.

It would take a long, long time to sift through the historic implications of all that, and given all that’s happening we don’t have that luxury.  But we do know this much: From the Democrats’ point of view, the election never should have been close enough to be settled by such outlandish twists of fate in the first place.

In hindsight, one of the circumstances necessary for a Trump victory was probably the nomination of Hillary Clinton. Four years ago, Democrats wanted to run a campaign in which they cast the Republicans as defenders of the elite and the wealthy 1 percent. When the Republicans nominated Mitt Romney, the walking, talking epitome of the wealthy elite, the Obama campaign could not have been more pleased. It’s a rare gift to see your campaign’s entire argument personified in your opponent.

Well, in 2016, the Democrats fully returned the favor.  Trump’s campaign strategy was to rant and rail against the failings of the entrenched establishment, casting himself as the man who could come in and topple it, and in Clinton he was handed the perfect foil for that argument. Her ties to Wall Street, her six-figure speaking fees, the Clinton Foundation, her three decades in Washington, her status as former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state — she came pre-packaged as a caricature of all that Trump wanted to talk about, and he took full advantage.

A lot of the Trump campaign against Clinton was based on lies. On the other hand, the problem with the description above is that it was largely true, and thus hard to refute

Would Bernie Sanders have done better? I doubt it. He may have had the right argument but he wasn’t the right candidate. Elizabeth Warren would have been effective, but she didn’t believe herself ready. And frankly, Obama and the Clintons have been such dominating figures over the last quarter-century that they have made it difficult for the party to raise a new crop of presidential-ready contenders. Now that the big oaks have fallen, sunlight should begin to hit the forest floor again.

But the Sanders example does raise an important question: How and why did the Democrats so quickly cede the economic argument that they had used effectively just four years earlier, and that Sanders had ridden to unlikely success in the primaries? Back in late spring and early summer, you may recall, the Clinton campaign was claiming to have learned a lot from Sanders’ example, yet by the time fall rolled around, they seemed to abandon economic populism as a theme.

In one sense that was understandable, because Trump’s obvious character failings and outrageous behavior offered an easy target in campaign ads and debates. In hindsight, they also proved a fatal distraction. The Clinton campaign chased the shiny objects that Trump always leaves in his wake and never aggressively prosecuted the economic fairness argument that might have made this a runaway.

Consider the huge natural advantages that the Democrats enjoyed yet threw away. According to Gallup, 61 percent of American voters believe that the wealthy pay too little in taxes; just 15 percent say they pay too much.  Sixty-seven percent believe corporations pay too little; just 12 percent believe they pay too much. Those sentiments are shared widely even within the GOP base.

Now contrast that with the Trump tax plan. According to the Tax Policy Center, the wealthiest 1 percent of taxpayers would enjoy more than 50 percent of the tax benefits under Trump’s plan. The top 0.1 percent — those with incomes of more than $3.7 million — would enjoy an average tax cut of more than $1 million, for a 14 percent increase of their after-tax income, while middle-class households making $48,400 to $83,300 would see tax cuts of roughly $1,000, or a meager 1.8 percent increase in their after-tax income.

Put another way, the rich would get the lion’s share, gorging themselves and leaving everybody else to squabble over what remained of the carcass.

trumptax

The result is more than a little maddening. Over the next few months, we’re going to watch a political party that ran on an anti-elitist message, a party elected on the notion that the establishment and special interests enjoy too many advantages, begin to enact policies that will consciously, deliberately compound those existing advantages. Then, having slashed government revenue, they will announce that a whole range of government programs have become unaffordable and will have to be slashed, again at the expense of the very people they were supposedly elected to help.

And the Democrats will bear a substantial part of the blame for that. They failed to offer voters a candidate and a message that would make clear the real stakes in this election. They became so caught up in talking about the things that were important to themselves and to their own base that they stopped talking about equally important things important to other voters.

Republicans would explain that failure by claiming that the Democrats just lost interest in those voters. I think there’s something to that.

Reader Comments 0

1953 comments
russholt123
russholt123

HILLARY WAS ARROGANT, how  do you call  millions deplorable  and win??

tireOfIt
tireOfIt

@russholt123 You can  bet the cons are calling them the same thing behind their backs.

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

FYI  Liberals, January 23th 2017 has been designated " Eat Crow Day " in honor of all the work put in by the Liberal media and Elitists planning for the swearing in of the first woman President in US history also Hillary will not be handing out cookies at her home in New York as previously reported, she will be down in the Islands looking for lost electoral votes while drinking heavily   

nam51
nam51

This 'popular vote' excuse is wearing very thin. He ran the campaign to win electoral votes, not the popular vote. Had that been the standard, he could/would have campaigned far more heavily in California and New York, and while he might not have carried those states, there were more than enough votes for the taking that would have put him over the top.



Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@nam51 

I don't think you'll find folks here saying anything about popular vote - except for some conservative fly-bys, I guess.

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

@nam51 The " Popular Vote " is just another excuse by the Elite Liberals who just can't understand why others can't view the World as they do. The electoral vote was the way the Clintons were playing, Trump just beat them as their own game.    

ZAZ
ZAZ

@nam51 We should all be relieved that the EC is in place the last thing any of us need is CA and NY dictating the agenda until the end of time.

nam51
nam51

@Nick_Danger @nam51 That's what the liberal elite is dabbing their wounds with...the idea that their candidate really won. George Stephanopolous (sp?) just this morning led the broadcast with exactly that statement. 

gotalife
gotalife

If you love scandals, you are going to love trump.

BabyCakesATL
BabyCakesATL

My take on the election…

We don't have to lie or cheat to win.  Bernie lit the fire and Hillary failed to keep it going.Clinton campaign/surrogates lost sight of the party’s future - the millennials.We have to do better and put forth leaders that know how to ignite the electorate. Trump knew how to manipulate feelings - he didn't even need a message. Obama had that 'make-you-feel-good" mojo.Almost like you been to church when he spoke at rallys.  Bernie had fire, but the media and Dem establishment were having none of it.  And so, the millennials and disenfranchised stayed home.

gotalife
gotalife

@BabyCakesATL It is true the President outworked her because of the illness and she could not energize folks to vote like he did. She should have deleted the emails like bush. It is what it is.

BabyCakesATL
BabyCakesATL

@gotalife @BabyCakesATL  We have to move away from so-called conventional wisdom when it comes to politics and get with what works for today.  Tim Kaine did nothing for her ticket.

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

@gotalife and she deleted 30 thousand plus she has no transparency only lies when confronted  as to why she was loose with National Security information

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

@gotalife Hillary is " Entitled " to be President, why do you think the DNC supported her

tireOfIt
tireOfIt

Former presidential candidate Ben Carson says he won't join Trump's Cabinet because he has no government experience

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@tireOfIt


That doesn't make any sense. He was running for president yet doesn't think he can run one department. I doubt he even wants to be a part of a Trump admin. 

gotalife
gotalife

Just pretend trump never won and play politics for four years.


It is a winner.


Say he is not your president and illegitimate.


Use karma.

gotalife
gotalife

It is like being pulled back to the dark ages after religion produced evil doers.


Doing the right thing is unacceptable in politics these days.


dems need new leadership and ideology to win elections.

Unless they can find another Obama..

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

@gotalife But Hillary said she would keep " Doing Obama " maybe that was part of her problem

CASmith01
CASmith01

Good analysis of the situation.  I really do hope that those who voted for Trump will begin to see that he is really not their savior--that he really does not care about them--or anyone else.  Unfortunately for them & for the rest of us, he will have inflicted way too much damage by the time they do.  I still wonder, though--how could the polls & the predictive market have been so wrong?  The predictive market truly misread the voters.  So did nearly all the polls.  Did voters who eventually voted for Trump tell pollsters they were going to vote for Clinton?  

JamVet
JamVet

@ZAZ @CASmith01

Every time I read one of the drumpfed talk about Bill's sexual misadventures, I just shake my head and hope at least they have daughter with a nice a-ss who is worth p&ssy grabbing by the piggish degenerate...

InTheMiddle2
InTheMiddle2

@CASmith01 But that's all I want. Someone to care for me and hold me and let me take naps and eat pizza and pet puppies and stuff. I need a safe place.

InTheMiddle2
InTheMiddle2

@KUTGF @InTheMiddle2 @CASmith01 That's the best you got. I got one better. TRUMP WON. hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

ZAZ
ZAZ

@CASmith01 We all know he's not a savior [most of us anyway]. As reported, we took him seriously, not literally. A crap shoot, big time, but we couldn't stand the thought of pants suit lady for 4 years with Bill back in the sandbox assaulting teenage interns.

HDB0329
HDB0329

@PaulinNH ...that was to be expected....the nuts have been unleashed.....