The election: Why Hillary came in second, again
Hillary Clinton was one of the most formidable presidential candidates in history, said David Horsey in LATimes.com. The Democrat had wide government experience, powerful fundraising, and a sophisticated ground operation. She ran against the most unpopular nominee ever, and “was the consensus winner of the three debates.” So how the heck did she lose to Donald Trump? Democracy, we’ve been reminded again, is “not a logical process.” Tens of millions of Americans were disgusted with Washington and didn’t trust a scandal-tarnished Clinton to clean up the mess; at the same time, a majority of white voters felt they were losing “the country they grew up in.” Those gut feelings propelled Donald Trump into the White House. It didn’t help that the media obsessed over Clinton’s private email server, said Rebecca Traister in New York magazine, or that FBI Director James Comey announced, just 11 days before the election, that he was re-examining her emails. Comey’s blunder reversed the momentum of the race, but it still doesn’t explain how a bigot and misogynist like Trump got elected. “The only reason this election was even close was because of white people” who despised Clinton and loved Trump’s pledges to “lock her up,” ban Muslims from the country, and build a wall to keep out Mexicans. Clinton lost, and Trump won, because millions of voters wanted to regress to a world with “white men restored to their place at the center.”
Racism and misogyny can’t explain it all, said Jonah Goldberg in ChicagoTribune.com, and “the fact that so many liberals went straight to this explanation” explains why Democrats “lost the white working class in the first place.” Many supposedly “racist” blue-collar Trump voters in Wisconsin and Michigan gave their votes to Barack Obama, the country’s first black president, in 2008 and 2012. These “Joe Sixpack and Charlie Lunchbucket” types flipped to Trump because they believe Democrats now care mostly about the cultural issues of “affluent cosmopolitan whites and racial minorities,” at the expense of “bread-and-butter issues” like the economy. In the swing states, said Robby Soave in Reason.com, voters were tired of “elitist privileged leftists jumping down the throats of ordinary folks” who can’t keep up with the latest politically correct language and attitudes on gender and race. Afraid to speak their minds, these “deplorables” went for a guy whose main qualification is that “he isn’t afraid to speak his.”
Clinton’s biggest tactical mistake was to take the Rust Belt for granted, said John Daniel Davidson in TheFederalist.com. Her team assumed that the historic “blue wall” would hold in states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, and failed to campaign aggressively in the region or address its economic anxiety. Most of all, the race was decided by “the deeply misunderstood Midwest”—an area blighted by deindustrialization and “a horrifying heroin epidemic.” These forgotten Americans turned to Trump not because they think his anti–free trade and immigration bluster will really “bring back the steel mills or put coal miners back to work,” but because he’d paid them the basic respect of acknowledging “that they have been left behind.”
Clinton also learned “there’s no such thing as female solidarity,” said Naomi Schaefer Riley in the New York Post. She assumed a sisterhood outraged by Trump’s boorish behavior and rhetoric would deliver her the White House—particularly after an audiotape emerged of Trump boasting about groping women. Instead, 53 percent of white women chose Trump instead of electing the first female president. Why? Women do not vote as a bloc. Their views, life experiences, and politics are largely shaped by their race, their class, their geographic location, and their educational attainment, not their gender. And despite what feminists would like to believe, most women “do not see themselves as victims.”
Trump didn’t really win this election, said Jonathan Alter in TheDailyBeast.com. Clinton lost it. She trailed the vote totals of her predecessor, Obama, in almost every demographic, and got nearly 9 million fewer votes than he did in 2008. “Under constant assault” over her email server and the Clinton Foundation—scandals that alienated young Bernie Sanders supporters—Clinton “failed to move smoothly to an upbeat message,” and relied too heavily on attacking Trump. In a year when “the electorate was looking for someone to buck Washington,” said Rachel Larimore in Slate.com, “Clinton was the most establishment candidate possible.” Yes, most voters thought Trump was inexperienced and ill prepared. But in a change year, 69 percent said in exit polls he was the guy most likely to shake things up. On paper, Hillary had all the right credentials to be the 45th president. But in the end, “the enthusiasm just wasn’t there.”
▪About 100 million eligible voters elected not to cast a ballot in this year’s presidential election, according to turnout estimates from the U.S. Elections Project. About 132 million did vote—by percentage, the lowest turnout since 1996.
The Washington Post
▪Hate crimes against Muslims in the U.S. rose 67 percent in 2015, according to a new FBI report. The bureau’s Uniform Crime Report, which catalogs data about assaults, vandalism, and other crimes motivated by race, religion, and other factors, documented 257 anti-Muslim hate crimes—up from 154 in 2014.
▪Slovenian native Melania Trump will be the second foreign-born first lady in U.S. history. The first was English-born Louisa Adams, wife of John Quincy Adams, who served as first lady from 1825 to 1829.
▪More people in their 40s and older are moving in with their aging parents for financial reasons. In California, adults ages 50 to 65 living with their parents rose 68 percent between 2006 and 2012, and national data shows a similar trend.
The Wall Street Journal
▪Republicans now have a governing trifecta—where they hold control over the governor’s office and both chambers of the state legislature—in 24 states. Democrats have a trifecta in just six.
The New York Times