Round-up the usual Trump storylines

It will take a while  weeks, but more likely years  to sort out exactly how and why Trump won on Election Day. Unreliable first drafts of “conclusions” are already forming. Speaker Paul Ryan is claiming Trump “just earned a mandate.”   Well, I got to say it “mandate my ass.”

unusualtrumpsOnce certain storylines  true or false  take root, it is hard to dig them back out. Steve Waldman writes in Washington Monthly about four storyline “conclusions” that “don’t comport with what the exit polls show.” Here are two recent “conclusions” about Trump’s win that seem prominent now and could be with us for while.

  • This was a revolution of the economically downtrodden.

Many pundits were saying Donald Trump’s victory was fueled by people who are economically dispossessed and struggling.  Here’s what the exit polls actually showed:

Voters with incomes under $50,000 went for Clinton 52%-41%.   Over $50,000 went for Trump 49% to 47%

That’s not to say economic anxiety wasn’t a factor in eroding support for Clinton. She did lose among those without college degrees. Relative to 2012, [Trump] did better with the less affluent than Romney. But the bulk of his winning coalition was wealthier.

The alienation seems more complex – having more to do with racial standing and a sense of whether their futures seem bleak or hopeful more than whether they can actually put bread on the table at that moment.

  • This was a Trump landslide

It was shocking. It was disruptive. It was unambiguous. But by recent historical standards, it was not a landslide. For one thing, Hillary may end up winning the popular vote.  That would mean Democrats will have won the popular vote 6 of the last 7 times.

Beyond that, in the last ten elections, the winning candidate got more than 300 electoral college votes seven times. If you look at both the popular and electoral college, this would count as the second or third closest election of the last ten.

While sifting through the wreckage I’m going to keep in mind this dictum: eye witnesses are the least reliable at recalling details. Meanwhile popular pundits and politicians struggle to find storylines to explain how and why they all got it so wrong about President-elect Trump. A hint to help them find a major piece of the puzzle: try looking in the mirror.

3 thoughts on “Round-up the usual Trump storylines

  1. There is a classic book by a man named Crane Brinton called The Anatomy of Revolution. He analyzes a series of significant revolutions (English Civil War, American, French, Russian) and looks at their commonalities.

    One commonality is that while revolutions tend to cross class lines, the core is the disaffected upper middle class. These are people who are reasonably successful but feel “cramped” by the aristocracy above them. They and their children have hit a ceiling and feel that their possibilities for further success have been unfairly limited. Sound familiar?

    The Trump movement has the variation that these people have been convinced to punch down instead of up. They partially recognize that there is an aristocracy holding them back, but they have been conned into viewing the problem as the elite acting on behalf of marginalized people. They will get a new, overtly socially reactionary elite that plays to their prejudices while screwing them just the same.

    I wish I was a better person, but when they start complaining about losing their insurance coverage I am going to laugh at them.

  2. We have just witnessed the death of truth in America. It is no longer relevant since the voters have demonstrated pretty clearly that it has no meaning for them.

    Future campaigns, and even this and future presidencies are likely to reflect to this new paradigm since it was demonstrably effective in 2016.

    The press having allowed themselves first to be exploited then vilified by the number one truth-slayer, will be further marginalized in the Trump administration. For a time, at least, his supporters simply will not believe their own ears when the shit goes down.
    He will call the press liars and his followers will believe it…for a time.

    …But watch out when it finally trickles down to impact their own narrow interests.

    For that, you’ll need popcorn and “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe.”

  3. P.S., B.P…The lineup pic is great but they’re all too skinny.

    Now that DT has taught us what a key factor body fat is in determining who deserves respect, you should be depicting him as the “fat pig” he himself is.

    He’d make two of those guys, sideways.

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