Whether it’s painful or pleasurable, get used to saying President Donald Trump in a sentence. For those who followed the press, pollsters and pundits, Tuesday’s unexpected result was both a shock to, and a betrayal of, the system that so many believe in. For those who followed the rise of Trump it was both an inevitable and anticipated conclusion to a stagnant partisan political era that demanded change. In order to make sense of it all, Democrats are playing the blame game (think: FBI, Bernie Sanders, Emails, Racism, Sexism or Terrorism). And while there are many elements that led to a Trump win and a Clinton loss, the election ultimately came down to a simple truth: so many people were so desperate for change that they were willing to elect the first person who promised to deliver it.
But why did everyone predict the exact opposite result, you ask? Well for a start polling was consistently incorrect when it came to Trump, partly because Trump motivated new people to vote and they weren’t included in polls and partly because so many were demonized for voicing support for such a controversial candidate that they didn’t reveal their voting intentions until the election. There were also assumptions made by the Clinton campaign about which states were battleground states and they spent their money accordingly, ignoring blue states and the democratic base and instead campaigning for swing votes. As well, Clinton’s status quo platform, supersized email baggage and failure to articulate a vision for America other than “better than Trump” didn’t excite her own supporters, let alone undecideds. Many also underestimated how many voters would stay at home, protest vote or vote for a third party candidate in this election. Finally, the press and pundits failed to see or realize the extent to which Trump had managed to tap into voters’ two most powerful emotions: anger and hope. Anger from white men with old-school conservative values and old-school job skills who are being left behind in a rapidly changing world; and hope from the declining middle and working classes that Trump’s promises of bringing jobs back and making everyone wealthy again were true.
So what does this result mean, you ask? Well it will be impossible to predict the effects of a Trump presidency for a long time, partly because he’s so unpredictable, and partly because half the country fears and loathes him. But three things need to happen right away: Democrats have to accept the results of the election, which Obama and Clinton are already urging voters to do; Republicans have to reach out to the anti-Trumpers and reassure them that the country is not going to implode and that they don’t have to move to Canada; and both sides have to start planning how they are going to work together for the next four years, starting with stopping the bleeding from Trump’s platform of hate and helping people to heal the wounds that have been caused during such a divisive campaign. Make no mistake, wounds are still being inflicted on both sides and the pain is all too real. TBD whether Trump will take responsibility for his part in all this.
Feel sick of the status quo and think it’s time for a change? Movie for your mood: Blue Collar