Tag Archives: 2016 presidential election

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.

The FBI and Gossip Cops

In a letter Friday to congressional leaders, FBI Director James Comey said he will continue an investigation into Hillary Clinton and certain email exchanges. celebfbi

Comey’s announcement came along despite the likelihood that some — or all — of the new emails are duplicates of those already seen by the FBI .He even included a written warning to Congress that he “cannot yet assess whether or not this material may be significant.” Also significant, voting is already underway in many states, and Election Day is coming up fast. And this announcement, coming so close to voting day, violates longstanding Justice Department advisories regarding investigations.

Reacting to Comey’s precedent-breaking October surprise announcement, two former deputy attorneys general, Jamie Gorelick and Larry Thompson, wrote the following  in The Washington Post:

As it stands, we now have real-time, raw-take transparency taken to its illogical limit, a kind of reality TV of federal criminal investigation. Perhaps worst of all, it is happening on the eve of a presidential election. It is antithetical to the interests of justice, putting a thumb on the scale of this election and damaging our democracy.

They say this is damaging to our democracy, but it’s lucky for Gossip Cops (and maybe the GOP & Donald Trump) Comey and the FBI are on the case.

Off the top of Trump’s head

I’ve been offline and not able to read or listen to any extended news the past couple days. While catching up this afternoon I realized how numb I had become to the fast, furious, and crazy pace of the 2016 presidential campaign news. It is like returning to a street corner to find Trump, the wild-eyed man, from days before still perched on his little soapbox, ranting crazily and demanding more than his share of attention.trumphead

Donald Trump urged Russian agents to “find” his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton’s emails and release them, an unprecedented move by a candidate for president encouraging such a foreign breach.

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you can find the 33,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press,” he said at the presser.

And that remark prompted Senator Harry Reid to suggest Trump not be given the usual security briefing. But if he must be briefed Reid advises: I would suggest to the intelligence agencies, if you’re forced to brief this guy, don’t tell him anything, just fake it, because this man is dangerous,” Reid said in a Wednesday interview with The Huffington Post. “Fake it, pretend you’re doing a briefing, but you can’t give the guy any information.” [added emphasis]

Trump’s comment is alarmingly weird enough, but it is even more so after my stepping out of the news cycle even for short time. This is clearly not a normal election.