How Trump shocked the world

Lesotho Times - - International -

WASH­ING­TON — The polls said it wouldn’t hap­pen this way. The fore­casts said it wouldn’t hap­pen this way. Even the bet­ting mar­kets said it wouldn’t hap­pen this way.

But on Tues­day, 8 Novem­ber 2016, Amer­i­cans elected Don­ald Trump the 45th Pres­i­dent of the United States.

Sure, there was al­ways a chance. The Bri­tish voted to leave the Euro­pean Union when so few ex­pected them to do so.

Why couldn’t the same thing hap­pen in Amer­ica? That thought lin­gered in the back of many a mind as Election Day neared and polls tight­ened.

Ev­ery pre­vi­ous pre­dic­tion of Trump’s po­lit­i­cal demise had proven pre­ma­ture. But he had in­sulted so many peo­ple — blacks, His­pan­ics, women, the dis­abled, his own party’s lead­ers, just to name a few.

He had bro­ken so many po­lit­i­cal norms — not re­leas­ing his tax re­turns, threat­en­ing to jail his op­po­nent, ly­ing at a rate never seen in mod­ern pol­i­tics. So no one, Repub­li­can, Demo­crat or any other stripe, saw a tsunami of this size com­ing. Only hours be­fore Trump of­fi­cially van­quished Demo­cratic ri­val Hil­lary Clin­ton, one prom­i­nent Repub­li­can com­men­ta­tor was writ­ing a po­lit­i­cal obit­u­ary for his party’s nom­i­nee.

Es­tab­lish­ment con­sen­sus, meet thy an­ti­dote: Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump.

“Now it’s time for Amer­ica to bind the wounds of di­vi­sion,” Trump, sound­ing quite a dif­fer­ent tone than the man who had opened so many of those wounds over the last 18 months, told ec­static sup­port­ers in his vic­tory speech. “It is time for us to come to­gether as one united peo­ple. It’s time.”

It will take days, weeks and per­haps years for Amer­i­cans and their lead­ers to fully un­der­stand what hap­pened on Election Day 2016.

It will take longer for the coun­try and the world to grap­ple with what­ever hap­pens next.

Fi­nan­cial mar­kets were tank­ing even as the prospects of a Trump vic­tory in­creased, and even as world lead­ers tersely con­grat­u­lated him, they were surely brac­ing them­selves to deal with a man who has pledged to re­con­sider decades­old in­ter­na­tional al­liances and trade pacts.

But one thing should be im­me­di­ately clear: Don­ald Trump’s tri­umph on the Elec­toral Col­lege map was over­whelm­ing. He won peren­nial swing states like Florida and Ohio.

He won Penn­syl­va­nia, a state that has at­tracted the at­ten­tion of so many Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates over the course of decades only to in­evitably vote for their Demo­cratic op­po­nents. He won Wis­con­sin, a left-lean­ing state that was sup­pos­edly a safe piece of Clin­ton’s fire­wall.

Even the whizzes who elected Barack Obama as Pres­i­dent con- ceded they had it all wrong. “Never been as wrong on any­thing (in) my life,” David Plouffe, the ar­chi­tect of Obama’s 2008 cam­paign, said on Twit­ter as the re­al­ity be­gan to set in.

If exit polls are to be be­lieved, Clin­ton lost be­cause her cam­paign made a fa­tal mis­cal­cu­la­tion: That the Amer­i­can elec­torate was grow­ing so much more di­verse, so fast, that it couldn’t pos­si­bly fare worse with work­ing-class white vot­ers than the coun­try’s first black pres­i­dent had in 2012. The elec­toral coali­tion was easy to imag­ine.

But it proved imag­i­nary pre­cisely be­cause those work­ing-class whites — who for decades have been slowly but surely drift­ing away from a coastal Demo­cratic Party elite they view as eco­nom­i­cally and cul­tur­ally out of touch with their needs — found his pop­ulist, pro­tec­tion­ist rhetoric spoke di­rectly to them.

Vast ar­eas of the coun­try that had pre­vi­ously voted for Obama, from north­east Penn­syl­va­nia to east­ern Ohio, from ru­ral Iowa to Wis­con­sin and Michi­gan, swung solidly into Don­ald Trump’s col­umn. His­panic turnout mea­sur­ably in­creased.

But nei­ther that nor Clin­ton’s wide ad­van­tage with women was enough to off­set polling mod­els that The New York Times es­ti­mates un­der­counted older work­ing-class vot­ers in the elec­torate by about 10 mil­lion. — Time

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