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Why Trump Won

There was a plethora of things Clinton’s camp and the media miscalculated:

  • The fear for their safety with which so many live
  • The economic hardship under which so many suffer
  • The resonance of Trump’s simplistic promises which Clinton could not effectively refute
  • The backlash the derisive dismissal of Trump’s supporters by an overwhelmingly pro-Clinton intellectual and media establishment would cause.
  • The smugness so many discerned in Ms Clinton’s demeanor.
  • The smugness with which many in Ms. Clinton’s base dismissed any criticism of her at all.
  • The scent of scandal that has dogged her on so many fronts for so many years
  • The feeling many held that she was unduly influenced by sinister foreign interests.
  • The feeling that the Clinton Foundation was—despite whatever good it  did—primarily fraudulent enterprise to enrich the Clinton’s and further their political goals.

Many will find these realities hard to read.

For many, myself included, Mr. Trump’s liabilities and scandals far outweighed Ms. Clinton’s debits, but the Clinton camp—for all their technical skill and political experience—could not make their case at the end of the day in a way that resonated with the overwhelmingly red stripe of middle America.

By portraying Trump as a buffoon and his supporters as in large measure “deplorables” the Clinton camp mobilized the sentiment against her to a degree her camp grossly underestimated.

There is also, for certain, the pendulum factor.

In ugly terms it was indeed a “white backlash” against  America’s first Black president. But it is also a consistent factor in American politics. Pendulums swing and after eight years of Bush, the country was ready for eight years of Obama. After eight years of Obama the pendulum swung back.

When congregations pick a new rabbi, they so often choose someone they perceive does not possess the traits or way of doing things that they did not like in the rabbi who is leaving or retiring. The retiring or leaving rabbis strengths, they feel, they can do without.

The American electorate choosing a new president is much like a congregation choosing a new rabbi. There is a natural tendency to choose a candidate unlike the retiring incumbent. Clinton’s camp underestimated the impact of Trump’s contention that, “Electing Hillary would be like another eight years of Obama.”  Again for Clinton’s base, who largely revere Obama, that would have been fine. But many were ready to forego Obama’s skillful statesmanlike style for the blustery “Tell it like it is” Trump.

The desire for change is especially important when people perceive their economic future is not bright, that their streets are not as safe as they should be and that a significant foreign threat looms with which the incumbent did not deal to their satisfaction.

Like many, I am frightened by the prospect of President Trump. I pray that our democracy will withstand the challenge ahead, and that our nation will find a way to move forward in a manner that promotes “liberty and justice for all.”

 

7 thoughts on “Why Trump Won

  1. I understand many white Americans, especially men are missing the better life in the fifties when they were more prosperous. It is fair to address their economic fears. I am afraid, though, that a lot of the problems with Obama and Clinton as these men saw her, were based on their race and sex. I am afraid, too. I know it is all the rage at my shul to have supported Bernie, but no one noticed ho nasty his supporters were to critics or to women. I am afraid as far as the treatment of women is concerned, we are going back to page 35 in Genesis, where women were created to be men’s help meet. We don’t need equal pay, daycare, education, or equal protection under the law. As for the President, under the gentile manners of the “progressives” I have met, is a streak of racism. As one luminary put it, (Daniel Matt, the speaker at a bagel brunch event for Kol Hadash), he is the man we love to hate. How come? Now America has purged Hillary Clinton, and this country will be run by a woman hater, and a congress 100% behind him. Hillary has been vilified as a bitch and a witch, and Trump has told her after he is elected she will be going to prison. As for the President, some of Trump’s supporters, specifically her butler at Mar a Lago, think he should be lynched, as should Clinton, and their bodies hung from the White House porch. this is wrong, and I do not sympathize with the racism and sexism of my “values driven” fellow Americans. As long as I’m the subject, some of them think women should be denied suffrage, I’m sorry, but while I know lots of “progressives” have been a pain in the ass with their moral superiority, I have to say, there is such a thing as justice, and I am not seeing it, at this time in our country.

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