2106 – The Post-Mortem

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Not the same as everyone else’s. But here goes. Both campaigns, whatever they may say, limited themselves to appealing to a core vote.

In the case of Clinton, that core vote was a loose combination of special interest groups, whose primary interest was cultural rights. She may have thought she was constructing an economic message. But not one that said to the unemployed: here you go, here’s a job right now.

Ironically, she forgot the very mantra that propelled her husband to the White House: “It’s the economy, stupid!”

Trump’s core vote was anyone who felt left behind by thirty years of emphasis on a fluid global economy (for which read: US jobs go overseas; cheap imports and immigrants come here), doing the right thing at home, and spending trillions on doing the right thing abroad, whatever the cost in terms of looking after productive US citizens.

Clinton thought she had the larger core vote. She was wrong. Everyone and his uncle said that Trump could not and would not appeal to enough people with his core message. They were wrong there, too.

Clinton’s message, regardless of the messenger, put off those not in her core vote base. Trump’s message, on the other hand, attracted many outside of his core vote base – regardless of the awfulness of the messenger.

Ironically, Trump did the very thing that all the pundits said he could not do – he expanded his voting base. Just not where the talking heads expected.

For example, why did Trump do so well among college-educated whites? The answer was to be found in the small print of focus groups. Plus a little intuitive extrapolation.

There’s a large group of college-educated whites, especially recent graduates, who would never publicly admit to this. But, in my opinion, it remains true. And it is almost a metaphor for this election result.

They are angry with a system that encouraged them to get a degree, regardless of its ‘usefulness,’ promised them glittering prizes, and left them holding thousands of dollars in students loans, and a job stocking groceries or working in telemarketing or in customer service with WalMart.

Did Trump offer them a way out? No. But he gave them an opportunity to blame someone they saw as standing for a smug establishment that would never need to live with the consequences of its ‘enlightened’ policies. Because those doing the advocating and legislating were protected by trust funds, by political friends and by employment cronyism.

The key word for this election was ‘spite.’ Folks came out and voted for Trump ‘in spite.’ Not enough turned up for Clinton ‘out of spite.’

[Comments from Facebook to be found here.]

[NB I personally love the pst from Laurel Scott immediately above the post mentioned above on my Facebook. I can’t link to it here. So, I’m kind of directing you. One day, I will evolve from the quill pen … ]

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