This has been an insane election. First, I have to mention two very important facts I learned this election cycle.
- Pollsters really have not yet adapted to the age of internet/cell phones. Polls have been wildly inconsistent or inaccurate. This creates false narratives and analysis which drive news stories through the election. No one saw the election of Trump as a realistic outcome. That’s because they followed the polls. “Garbage in, garbage out” is what happened. Hopefully pollsters learn from this election so that next time around we get more accurate polling.
- The “experience argument” for a Presidential candidate is dead. It failed in 2008 when McCain tried it against Obama. It failed again in 2016 when Clinton and Johnson used it against Trump. Both Clinton and Johnson have vastly more experience serving in public office and winning elected office than Trump. In the end, though, it didn’t matter.
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk a bit more about this. Most people are in shock – either because they did not see it coming and are angry OR did not see it coming and are incredibly joyful about this whole thing. Let it be real for a second: I still don’t think any average American realistically thought this would be the outcome. Polls showed it entirely the other way and polls were wildly wrong. What happened? Well, people smarter than I will discuss that in much much more detail, but here are a few observations I have which I feel need to be discussed and not be cast aside or forgotten as factors in the election:
- Calling Republicans racist and sexist for years means that when someone comes along using actual racist or sexist language, no one will listen. Romney wasn’t racist. McCain wasn’t racist. Neither of them were misogynistic. Neither of them were anti-semitic. Both were honest men with egos (everyone running for President has one) and were painted as monsters. By continually painting good people as monsters, when a real monster arrives many did not believe you. Crying wolf for so long eventually led to being eaten by one. It’s awful.
- And let me be clear about this – Donald Trump did use racist rhetoric on the stump. He promised to establish a database of people based merely on their religion (Muslims). He used inflammatory rhetoric about Mexican and Chinese people including implications that most Mexicans immigrants were rapists. He insinuated that an American born judge could not fairly try a case involving him because he was Latino. All of this was inflammatory and upsetting to minority voters (and should be to white voters too). This will also concern minority citizens now that he won the election. I get the concern and I share it.
- He also used wildly inappropriate language about women. Over and over again. His comments to Billy Bush are promoting sexual assault, they are not merely “guy talk.” His comments over the years with Howard Stern about sex and women were inappropriate and crude. And the way he let others, including Howard Stern, refer to his daughter as a piece of ass in a conversation is still one of the creepier things I’ve heard. It’s your daughter. No. Never. Ever.
- Trump has a rabid and racist fan-base on the internet. Obviously not every single person who voted for Trump is racist, but there is a small and vocal subsegment of Trump supporters online (alt-right) who are wildly racist, anti-semitic, and misogynistic. These people vocally embraced Trump early. They harassed those of us who were non-believers and threatened us on and off-line. They also believe they now have a seat at the table with Trump elected President. I pray they do not.
- The bulk of Trump’s raw vote came from angry predominantly blue collar, rural/suburban Americans. Exit polls show Trump actually earned a higher percentage of the votes of minority voters over both Romney and McCain. If true, this means that disaffected voters across racial lines nationwide ended up being taken by his Nationalist rhetoric. They were also angry at Washington and wanted to give it the finger blaming it for all their problems. Trump spoke to their fears about outsourcing jobs, despite personally outsourcing jobs himself. Trump was their way of flipping off Washington.
- The national media was a willing accomplice to Donald Trump’s campaign. They gave him billions of dollars in free press, letting him call in and answer questions whenever he wanted. They bent to his schedule. They filled the airwaves the Trump events, Trump statements, reactions to Trump, Trump everything through the primary and even into the general. No other candidate was given such free press. He barely spent a dime in the primary and won handily. This was a huge reason why. Let us not forget that.
- Hillary Clinton has always been a terrible campaigner. That’s a fact. She has only had 2 difficult campaigns in her life: 2008 primary against Obama, 2016 general election against Trump. There was no way, realistically, Bernie was going to win the Democratic Primary. He wasn’t a Democrat, the insiders all were backing Clinton, and he never could truly capture the Obama coalition. O’Malley was a non-starter. So Clinton had it handed to her on a platter with the worst possible candidate the Republicans could have put up. She still failed. When under a serious campaign, she fails.
- Half of the American people are hurting and upset right now. As Clinton and Trump fanned the flames of division while the media painted this as “TEH MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION EVAR!!!!!!” people are exceptionally riled up, agitated, upset, and annoyed. We need to approach others following this election with grace, love, and compassion. As a Christian I am commanded to do so, both to my friends and to my enemies. We should heed the Lord’s words.
As I said, I am sure there are others out there who are more insightful than myself who will pull together a number of observations, but those are mine.
I did not vote for Trump. I voted for Gary Johnson. I do not for a second regret that decision. I am comforted by the fact that God is sovereign above all this and trust Him in all things.
That said, here I am in 2016 right where I was in 2008 – disappointed in the outcome of the election, confused how a political neophyte who supports universal healthcare could win on personality alone, and assuming the President-elect will be a terrible President. I am also here hoping I am proven wrong.
Prove me wrong, Donald Trump. Be better than we expect you to be. You’ve already proved most of us wrong before by winning. Prove us wrong again.