As I write this, the sun is shining, the temperature is a sublime 61 degrees Fahrenheit, and my stomach is growling; essentially a typical Texas day. Like many of you reading this, I was up quite late watching Donald Trump pull an astonishing upset of former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, for president. I awoke to the following headline: How Donald Trump Broke the Old Rules of Politics – and Won the White House.
Shocking. Truly, absolutely shocking. He was the projected underdog since the onset of his campaign, he was belittled and labeled as a racist, mysoginist, bigot, etc. And yet, here he is. For months, the media, various polling outlets, even the POTUS, convinced (or maybe, deceived) the public into thinking Trump didn’t have a prayer, that his efforts were futile. I guess they were wrong. He pulled possibly the greatest political upset we’ve seen in many, many years, and by a large margin at that.
So how did he do it?
Donald Trump is not a conservative by any stretch of the word. In fact, he has a track record of being moderate, or even liberal on several issues. Nevertheless, he managed to garner a remarkable turnout of the Republican vote, as well stunning the country by claiming several swing states and Democratic strongholds (I’m looking at you, Florida and Pennsylvania). He was not able to do this through his staunchly conservative views though, this much is for certain. Furthermore, left to his own devices, Trump nearly self-imploded multiple times (someone delete that man’s Twitter account, please). What attracted the masses to Trump in droves was, I believe, a conglamoration of things, starting with the Republican establishment.
For those who supported Trump, you partially have Paul Ryan and the rest of non-supportive GOP to thank for his success. Here’s why. Have you ever tried to convince your buddy not to date his girlfriend? You warn him repeatedly, reminding him of her wayward mannerisms and unpredictable behaviors. You tell him, “Bro, your girl doesn’t care for your family at all. And I’m pretty darn certain she’s going to get in a fight with that Russian chick down the road.” What happens? Does he listen to you? NOPE. Instead, your buddy goes and marries this woman. At least she has cool hair. Well, that is what happened with the GOP and Donald Trump. Try as they may, the people demonstrated their complete disdain for the opinion of the elite. Usher in the Donald Trump era.
Second of all, the media, and television as a whole. Trump was subjected to repeated, continual criticism by media outlets and comedic television hosts alike. True, he is likely the easiest target television has ever had; it was like he was trying to lose the race. Nevertheless, the people noticed. Say what you will, people love a good underdog story, especially if it invokes a sentiment to which they can relate. As we saw on election night, many of the average, working class Americans recognized their own sentiments in the brash, unapologetic rhetoric that Trump so often employed. And they ate it up. Of course, this was not adequately represented by the public media. In fact, it was very often misrepresented. Trump supporters were portrayed to be mysogenistic, racist, hateful white supremicists who didn’t care for the good of the nation as a whole. While I will readily admit some of these people supplied the ranks of the Trump movement, I find it highly unlikely such individuals comprised the majority of his support.
Furthermore, the national media outlets entirely ignored the investigation of the WikiLeaks email dumps. Big mistake. I, personally, fully support shedding a very bright light on those things which were done in private, for both candidates. In doing so, it provides the voters with a thorough, increasingly comprehensive understanding into the lives of those who wish to assume the role of POTUS. What the media was to Donald Trump, WikiLeaks was to Hillary Clinton. Aside from conservative media outlets (Drudge Report, for example), the email dumps were not given enough opportunity to be evaluated on a national scale. Had this not been the case, and had the American public been sufficiently aware of Clinton’s actions, her fate may have been vastly less successful.
Can we talk primary elections for a moment? Democrats, I’m sorry. Bernie was your guy, and you all were shafted miserably this time around. The establishment essentially predestined the results to be in Clinton’s favor. Sanders clearly had the upper hand with the average Democrat, especially among young people. And I can see why. Between his charisma and overall good intentions, he probably should have been the nominee. But not so. It was Hillary’s world.
Yet again, the people saw. We saw how both parties treated their respective underdogs. And we voted as such.
You want to know why Trump won? It wasn’t because of his domestic policies (heck, I’m still not sure what his policies are, for the most part) or foreign policies (definitely not that), it wasn’t because of his political track record (he has none), and it certainly wasn’t because of his conservative beliefs (he isn’t a conservative). It was because of the powers at be. Like or hate Trump, we have four years with the guy. Buckle up.
The election results sent a seismic wave to the reigning establishments of both parties, to the (extremely biased) news outlets, to the polling sources, and to the world at large. Let’s watch history unfold.
On a more personal note, please, people, stop crying. Y’all are embarrassing yourselves.