Five rea­sons Trump won

Fiji Sun - - Analysis - Feed­back: jy­otip@fi­jisun.com.fj

Don­ald Trump has de­fied all ex­pec­ta­tions from the very start of his pres­i­den­tial cam­paign more than a year ago. Now he’s pres­i­dent-elect Trump. Here are five ways he pulled off what was un­ex­pected by most and in­com­pre­hen­si­ble to many.

Trump’s white wave Toss-ups were tossed aside. One af­ter an­other, Ohio, Florida and North Carolina went to Mr Trump.

That left Mrs Clin­ton’s blue fire­wall, and the fire­wall was even­tu­ally breached. The Demo­crat’s last stand largely rested on her strength in the Mid­west. Those were states that had gone Demo­crat for decades, based in part on the sup­port of black and work­ing-class white vot­ers. Those work­ing-class white peo­ple, par­tic­u­larly ones with­out col­lege ed­u­ca­tion - men and women - de­serted the party in droves. Ru­ral vot­ers turned out in high num­bers, as the Amer­i­cans who felt over­looked by the es­tab­lish­ment and left be­hind by the coastal elite made their voices heard. While places like Vir­ginia and Colorado held fast, Wis­con­sin fell - and with it Mrs Clin­ton’s pres­i­den­tial hopes. When all is said and done, Mrs Clin­ton may end up win­ning the pop­u­lar vote on the back of strong sup­port in places like Cal­i­for­nia and New York and closer-than-ex­pected losses in solid-red states like Utah. The Trump wave hit in the places it had to, how­ever. And it hit hard.

Te­flon Don­ald Mr Trump in­sulted dec­o­rated war vet­eran John McCain. He picked a fight with Fox News and its pop­u­lar pre­sen­ter, Megyn Kelly. He dou­bled down when asked how he once mocked the weight of a His­panic beauty pageant win­ner.

He of­fered a half-hearted apol­ogy when the se­cret video sur­faced of his boast­ing about mak­ing un­wanted sex­ual ad­vances to­wards women. He gaffed his way through the three pres­i­den­tial de­bates with clearly lightly prac­tised per­for­mances. None of it mat­tered. While he took dips in the polls fol­low­ing some of the more out­ra­geous in­ci­dents, his ap­proval was like a cork - even­tu­ally bounc­ing back to the sur­face.

The out­sider He ran against the Democrats. He also ran against the pow­ers within his own party. He beat them all. Mr Trump built a throne of skulls out of his Repub­li­can pri­mary op­po­nents. Some, like Marco Ru­bio, Ted Cruz, Chris Christie and Ben Car­son, even­tu­ally bent knee. The hold­outs, like Jeb Bush and Ohio Gover­nor John Ka­sich, are now on the out­side of their party look­ing in.

And for the rest of the party in­sid­ers, from House Speaker Paul Ryan on down? Mr Trump didn’t need their help - and, in fact, may have won be­cause he was will­ing to take a stand against them. Mr Trump’s pox-on-them-all at­ti­tude is likely to have proved his in­de­pen­dence and out­sider sta­tus at a time when much of the Amer­i­can pub­lic re­viled Wash­ing­ton (al­though not enough to keep them from re-elect­ing most con­gres­sional in­cum­bents run­ning for re­elec­tion).

The Comey Fac­tor The polls clearly did a woe­ful job pre­dict­ing the shape and pref­er­ences of the elec­torate, par­tic­u­larly in Mid­west­ern states. In the fi­nal days of the cam­paign, how­ever, the re­al­ity is that the polls were close enough that Mr Trump had a path­way to vic­tory. That path­way didn’t look nearly as ob­vi­ous about two weeks ago, be­fore FBI direc­tor James Comey re­leased his let­ter an­nounc­ing that they were re­open­ing their in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Hil­lary Clin­ton’s pri­vate email server.

True, the polls were tight­en­ing a bit, but Mr Trump’s sharpest rise in the stand­ings came in the weeks be­tween that first let­ter and Mr Comey’s sec­ond, in which he said he had put the in­ves­ti­ga­tion back on the shelf.

It seems likely that dur­ing that pe­riod, Mr Trump was able to suc­cess­fully con­sol­i­date his base, bring­ing way­ward con­ser­va­tives back into the fold and shred­ding Mrs Clin­ton’s hopes of of­fer­ing a com­pelling clos­ing mes­sage to US vot­ers.

Trusted his in­stincts

Mr Trump ran the most un­con­ven­tional of po­lit­i­cal cam­paigns, but it turned out he knew bet­ter than all the ex­perts. He spent more on hats than on poll­sters. He trav­elled to states like Wis­con­sin and Michi­gan that pun­dits said were out of reach.

He held mas­sive ral­lies in­stead of fo­cus­ing on door-knock­ing and getout-the-vote oper­a­tions. He had a dis­jointed, some­times chaotic na­tional po­lit­i­cal con­ven­tion that was capped by an ac­cep­tance speech that was more doomand-gloom than any in mod­ern US po­lit­i­cal his­tory. He was vastly out­spent by the Clin­ton cam­paign, just as he was dur­ing the Repub­li­can pri­maries. He turned con­sen­sus wis­dom about how to win the pres­i­dency on its head. All of these de­ci­sions - and many more - were roundly ridiculed in “knowl­edge­able” cir­cles. In the end, how­ever, they worked. Mr Trump and his clos­est con­fi­dants - his chil­dren and a few cho­sen ad­vis­ers - will have the last laugh. And they’ll do it from the White House. BBC

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