How Donald Trump won
Even a month after Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election, news commentators, comedians, newspaper columnists, political scientists and their students and just about every Democrat are all still wringing their hands and wondering how it could be that Trump won.
They had all been so sure Clinton would win. Careers were put on the line in statements that Clinton would win because all the good people would vote for her, and Trump would only garner the votes of the “deplorables,” as Mrs. Clinton once referred to the voters she didn’t like during the campaign.
But all those people were wrong, and many of them still don’t quite believe the voters went for Trump instead of the annointed queen of high-priced speechmaking.
Recounts are under way at the insistence of the Green Party, which gathered practically no votes at all. But no recount will reverse the fortunes of the Greens, or the Libertarians, or even the Democrats, because Trump won solidly.
Yes, Mrs. Clinton received a plurality of the popular vote, but that isn’t how the winner of the presidency is decided. It is decided in the Electoral College, where votes are weighted according to a constitutionally determined formula.
Trump was a controversial candidate to the extent he wasn’t the usual candidate. He is not a politician who worked his way up through the ranks, as Mrs. Clinton is.
He is largely self-taught. In fact, he fired a lot of the professional politicians who went to work for him because he instinctively knew they were misleading him, at least as he saw it.
In the beginning of the campaign, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush garnered most of the Republican money and a lot of its support. He should have been a shoe-in. Trump buried him.
Ted Cruz, the darling of the right, put up a good fight, but wound up getting Trumpled. One after another, the Republican party’s anointed fell away as Trump used his showman’s skills to hog the GOP primary spotlight.
And the public liked what they saw. He was not just another Republican, barely distinguishable from the others in the herd. He was unique. And the public understood that. He wasn’t perfect, but he was a leader. The public understood that.
There were many who did not like Trump, of course, but he accepted that and went on with his campaign despite the advice from professional pols, media people, entertainers, and, of course, Democrats, most of whom still can’t stand Trump.
Now, he is putting together his government, and he’s getting the same kinds of criticisms he was getting during the campaign. Oh, he’s hiring someone who’s too conservative; oh, he’s hiring someone with too little government experience; oh, he can’t stop the movement toward climate control.
But wait. Here are some surprises: He seems to have been thinking about governing before the election — something the experts (see above) said he wasn’t capable of doing.
But once the election was over, he surprised most observers by proceeding with tact. He almost immediately began restoring good relations with the Republicans in Congress who had opposed his candidacy. His relations with the White House so far have been cordial. He is showing that he is a leader.
And that was what the voters saw in him.
And also, the voters just didn’t agree with the commentators and others in the media who fairly early on had written Trump off while rolling out a red carpet for Mrs. Clinton.
The voters who went for Donald Trump fired the professional politicians, fired the know-it-alls and hired the guy they thought could do them some good.