Matt Rothschild

10 Reasons Why Trump Won

Trump’s strengths or Hillary’s mistakes?

By , Wisconsin Democracy Campaign - Nov 10th, 2016 11:27 am
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Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Here’s why Donald Trump won.

  • This was not the year for an Establishment politician. More so than ever, people hated politics as usual and politicians as usual. That’s why Bernie Sanders surged, and why Trump surged. Hillary Clinton was the embodiment of the Establishment; Trump the outsider. People get in their gut that the system is rigged against them, and they were rebelling against that. Trump was not the first politician over the past two years to draw attention to this. Elizabeth Warren has been giving the “rigged” speech for a couple years now, and Bernie Sanders has been talking about it forever. And it’s true! The economy is rigged against regular people, and the political system doesn’t work for them, either. Trump drove this home.
  • This is what the DNC gets when it rigs the primaries. Take a bow, Debbie Wasserman Schultz! The DNC did everything in its power, and some things beyond the pale, to load the dice for Hillary and put Bernie Sanders at a disadvantage. On a fair playing field, Sanders could have beaten Hillary, and could have beaten Trump. In fact, my friends in the Bernie camp warned repeatedly that Hillary would have a hard time beating Trump, and they had poll after poll demonstrating that Bernie would do much better against Trump. They were right. The Bernie folks didn’t bring Hillary down; Hillary brought the Democrats down.
  • Hillary hatred: The level of hatred that has built up against Hillary Clinton is pathological. She’s been thoroughly demonized for decades now, and what we saw during this campaign was a modern-day Salem Witch Trial. “Lock her up” is but a faint echo of “String Her Up.”
  • Messaging: Trump told people, over and over, what they wanted to hear. He was going to, yes, make America great again, and bring people their good jobs back. Those are popular messages, even if the elites sneered at them. What were Hillary’s messages: “I’m with Her”? That slogan was all about Hillary. It’s not about what Hillary will do for me and my family. And her other slogan, “Stronger Together,” was also vacuous, and beyond that, it rang false because people understood that she wasn’t going to be able to unite the country because she is such a divisive figure herself.
  • Free trade: People in the Midwest have suffered from NAFTA and all the other free trade deals, and Trump hammered Clinton on these. Plus, Hillary’s waffling on the TPP didn’t fool a lot of people. She was still seen as a free trader.
  • Elitism: This was a rebellion against the elites, and Hillary’s one bad unforced error in the campaign, “the basket of deplorables,” reinforced the elitism that people so despise.
  • Racism: Hillary was right to point out, however, that Trump was appealing to people’s racism. He was the candidate of the KKK, after all. And there was, as Van Jones so eloquently put it on CNN last night, a “whitelash” against Obama and the changing face of America.
  • FBI Director James Comey’s grotesque injection of himself into the race 10 days before the finish line stalled Clinton’s momentum dead in its tracks, and gave Trump the opportunity to gain ground.
  • When politics has been reduced to a spectator sport, people will choose the most interesting or outrageous performer. Most Americans have become disengaged from the political process. They watch the circus on the TV, and they are sick of standard-issue politicians with their blow-dried hair and their focus-grouped talk. They’re attracted to someone who is unpredictable and entertaining and authentic.
  • Capitalism has devoured our democracy. We don’t really have a functioning democracy anymore because capitalism has generated tremendous wealth for a tiny minority, who now control our politics. They pick the candidates, and they dictate the policies. Study after study has shown that the people’s wishes are ignored, and we only get what we want when the top 1 percent and the business interests also want the same thing. As Jimmy Carter put it last year, we’ve become “an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery.” This breeds great resentment among the people. And capitalism is no longer delivering the goods: People are working harder and longer, and getting nowhere, and their kids are falling further behind. This, too, breeds resentment. So people are ready to roll the dice for a strongman who says that he, and he alone, can solve all their problems.

Matthew Rothschild is executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

Categories: Politics

23 thoughts on “10 Reasons Why Trump Won”

  1. Ellen says:

    excellent article!

  2. PMD says:

    Hillary’s mistakes. I heard two stories on NPR, one yesterday and one today, that highlight a huge error. She took the black vote for granted. A Democratic Party official in Florida and a former state senator/party activist in Cleveland both expressed this sentiment. She sent surrogates to do the work for her and she failed to go to the places she needed to go to make her case as a voice for black concerns. Hence black turnout was down and Trump got more black votes than Romney did four years ago. That was enough to decide the election. More black votes in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Florida and she wins. She didn’t even need to win all four of those states to win.

  3. AG says:

    Mostly, I agree with points above. Of those points, I only take issue with the racism point and the Comey point.

    I know quite a few people who are not racist and are tired of hearing how they are or how easy they have just because they are white, which drove them to vote for Trump even though they despise him. Racism surely exists, but not all people who voted for Trump are racist… far from.

    Comey did what he promised to do, which was keep congress advised of any changes to investigations regarding the emails. HRC only has herself and her email service to blame for that one.

  4. Tim says:

    Comey should have waited until he examined those emails more thoroughly, since a few days later he exonerated Hillary.

    Comey should be tried under the Hatch Act.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hatch_Act_of_1939

    The Hatch Act of 1939, officially An Act to Prevent Pernicious Political Activities, is a United States federal law whose main provision prohibits employees in the executive branch of the federal government, except the president, vice-president, and certain designated high-level officials of that branch,[1] from engaging in some forms of political activity. The law was named for Senator Carl Hatch of New Mexico. It was most recently amended in 2012.

  5. PMD says:

    AG even Republican officials like former Attorney Generals Alberto Gonzalez and Michael Mukasey, both part of the George W. Bush administration, have strongly criticized Comey for his actions. What he did broke protocol and is without precedent. One can find fault with how Clinton handled her emails while also believing Comey was wrong.

    I do not believe every Trump supporter is racist, and there are racists who vote Democrat, but one has to be totally blind to think that racism didn’t help get him elected (https://medium.com/@seanokane/day-1-in-trumps-america-9e4d58381001#.xvfe7kpvy). Those all occurred in a 24-hour period. The media extensively reported on the racist things heard at Trump rallies. White supremacists spoke out in support of a presidential candidate in a way they haven’t since what George Wallace? You cannot deny the role racism played. That’s sticking your head straight in the sand and denying reality.

  6. AG says:

    Yeah, I’ve seen that garbage… but I’ve also seen the other side posting similar crap that is anti-white as well. It doesn’t really say anything about the majority of Americans. Besides, I’m sure those people wouldn’t have voted any other way regardless of who the candidates were (if they even voted).

    Comey was put in a bad situation… I don’t know how I would have handled it in his position. What happens if he knew of the emails, she gets elected, and then he does indeed find evidence strong enough to bring charges? He’d be raked over the coals for waiting till after the election.

  7. Tim says:

    AG, it literally took days to sort out if there was any new information or not. He should have checked before releasing any statements, to the public or leaders of our government. Why didn’t he complete his due diligence?

    In fact, wasn’t Giuliani gloating about his insider FBI information? Then, recanted when he was rightfully being attacked for being part of a plot… he said he just meant Trump’s last minute advertising. I’m not gullible enough to believe that spin.

  8. Ben says:

    In Wisconsin, Donald Trump only received 1,500 votes more than Mitt Romney did in 2012, so if bigotry was an inspiring force to vote for Trump, it was about as inspiring as Mitt Romney.

    The real tragedy is voter turnout. We knew for a long time before the election that Trump wanted to ride to power on a wave of prejudice, yet this did not alarm Wisconsinites enough to turn out to try and stop him. About 100,000 fewer ballots were cast in this election than in 2012, which would have been more than enough to overcome Trump’s 27,000 vote victory margin had they been cast for Clinton.

    This series of events leaves me utterly disgusted with Wisconsin. I am inclined to agree that, probably, most Wisconsin voters did not vote for Trump simply because he’s a racist, misogynist, xenophobe, etc. Nevertheless, many Wisconsinites apparently did not feel it was important enough to bother voting in order stop someone like him from becoming the most powerful person on Earth. Many people’s lives, all over the country, and maybe all over the world, are now much more dangerous, thanks, in part, not to prejudice, but to apathy.

    People will try to say that rural whites in Rust Belt states like Wisconsin are revolting against a system that they don’t feel is working for them. They’ll say that working class whites are tired of the free trade deals our elite-run government has been pushing for the past 35 years, which have wrought devastation across the Midwest. They’ll say that working class whites wanted to shock our political system in the hope that it might change for the better. Or, they might say Trump’s rhetoric inspired their deep-seated racism. I don’t buy the potency of these narratives, especially since Trump performed in Wisconsin no more impressively than Mitt Romney, an elite who was not blatantly bigoted and who represented everything Trump said was wrong with American politicians. Wisconsin also refused to repudiate its Congressional delegation, which is also part of the elite and not blatantly prejudiced. Lastly, rural and working-class whites in Wisconsin have a history of organizing and affecting change in the wider American political system, not making gambles with total wild cards.

    It remains to be explained how Wisconsin could simultaneously vote in Trump and re-elect its Congressional delegation. One thing is clear to me, though, and that is the apathy of the American political system. Apathy, not to rural and socially conservative whites, who were able to vote in two presidents in the past 16 years without winning the popular vote, but rather to anyone who is not a straight white man. This has been true since the founding of the country, and it was one aspect of the system whites didn’t mind keeping in place.

  9. Jason says:

    Hillary never came to Wisconsin to rally the base but only to collect big donor checks behind closed doors, and it always seem like Obama loved to fill up the old Mecca arena or ignite Madison students. She just assumed Wisconsin would go blue. Second, I think white America could not connect with the National Anthem protests supported by ESPN and other news organizations. Third, Trump appeared more hungry and seemed to find every rural city in America. Fourth, anytime you add Anthony Weiner to the mix it is not a good sign for Hillary. Lastly, the press focused on his taxes which only resonated with the left, and then the secret Trump denigrating women video, but as a Conservative, I cringed at watching the Al Smith dinner but it seems the press did n’t seem to want to cover it. Trump raked her through the coals. He went into the heart of the progressive Left and kept roasting her.

  10. Tom says:

    Trump rode the coatails of the “politics of resentment” strategy that Scott Walker successfully harnessed in his 3 victories. Walker’s Wisconsin is a microcosm of Trump’s America. Three easy words for success: Divide and Conquer.

    Trump harnessed the hatred of the same angry white males that Walker energized. Two weeks ago, driving down Hwy 21 from Oshkosh to Redgranite, I think that every house had a Trump sign displayed, often with a Hillary for Prison or Trump that B$#ch sign as well. More than one farmhouse had a scarecrow dressed as Hillary hanging by a noose.

    After witnessing the absolute hatred of so many of the residents of rural Wisconsin towards Hillary Clinton, I wasn’t shocked by Trump’s victory.

  11. Jason says:

    The Democrats in Wisconsin can not just count on running up votes in Dane and Milwaukee they must compete in other areas of the state. Second, maybe your right rural folks may despise Obama or Hillary but also remember Trump went out to the rural parts of the state. Trump went there to recognize that they exist. Trump stood with the little people and like all politicians promised to make their lives better. Trump also tried to do urban venues like Chicago but had to cancel due to protests and Trump supporters getting beaten up while the cops did nothing.

  12. WashCoRepub says:

    Excellent and well-thought-out analysis. One of the better post-election ones I’ve read.

  13. Mike says:

    The biggest reasons Clinton lost was because of arrogance and hypocrisy.

    The arrogance really came in with the whole media really harping on the “uneducated white voter” meme, which struck me as if they were saying “the hillbilly racists”. Just because one doesn’t have a college degree does not make a person uneducated and does not make their positions less worthy than a person who managed to get through 4 years of school. There was a condescension I saw that was really off putting.

    The arrogance also comes in with the leaps in judgment people make on certain positions. If you believe in border security you are a racist or a xenophobe. If you think it might be a good idea to at least screen Syrian refugees you are a xenophobe, If you think people should go to the bathroom that corresponds with their gender you are a homophobe.

    Read most of the articles that are posted on places like the Huffington Post that everyone on Facebook likes to repost and you see the point. These articles don’t argue for a position usually, but go to the “you an angry, racist, homophobic, xenophobe” if you don’t agree with my position.

    So the arrogance allows the Democrats to take the minority vote for granted and have positions like “you people are too stupid to get an ID to vote, and that’s why you should vote for us” and doesn’t quite get why a blue collar worker may feel that unchecked immigration and free trade may have led to stagnant wages and fewer opportunities in those areas.

    The hypocrisy comes in when you nominate someone like Hillary Clinton. You say Trump is a misogynist yet Hillary Clinton is married to a guy who at best had inappropriate relationships with subordinates to at worst may be a sexual predator. Her top aide is married to Anthony Weiner. So it comes across like these things only really matter if someone has an R after their name.

  14. PMD says:

    The Washington Post had a post-election story that explains how Bill & Hillary used to be second-to-none when it came to appealing to middle class and blue collar folks. But they got filthy rich and lost their touch. She obviously didn’t pay nearly enough attention to Sanders and his success with voters who like him and Trump a lot more than they like her.

    I hope those folks hold Trump accountable. As Jason says, he made a lot of promises about improving their communities and bringing jobs back. As much as that message resonated, that’s much easier said than done. I hope he succeeds.

  15. PMD says:

    I get what you are saying Mike and you make many fair points. But we do vet Syrian refugees, extensively. I heard a story in October about Syrian refugees arriving in Montana. There was a lot of fear about it there. One person said Sharia law already exists in 20 states and it’s set to be implemented in Montana. Another said the refugees will either kill or convert them. One person lamented all the mosques that will be built in Montana. This was all said before a single refugee had arrived in the state. Comments like that are hardly an anomaly. Over the last year or so they could be heard over and over again all across the country. How should Democrats have responded? You can’t just call them all racists and ignore them. What should they have done? What kind of outreach to voters like that would have been effective?

  16. Phyllis Brostoff says:

    interesting….you never mention that she was a woman — this was also one of the most significant issues!

  17. Casey says:

    Phyllis- I have many “deplorables” in my family (I am not ine of them) but not a single one of them had an issue with her being a woman. Your statement is exactly what Mike above is talking about.

  18. PMD says:

    That is anecdotal Casey. I have family members who voted Trump, a brother-in-law and father-in-law, who are insanely sexist. I know Bernie Bros who are sexist. So your evidence is flimsy.

  19. Casey says:

    Just as flimsy as Phyllis’

  20. PMD says:

    So chants of Lock Her Up, Hillary For Prison shirts, bumper stickers saying Life’s a Bitch Don’t Vote For One, despite all of that, sexism wasn’t an issue?

  21. Casey says:

    “Lifes a bitch, dont vote for one” is sexist. I only saw those on Bernie’s supporters cars.

    I guess what im trying to get at is her gender was not a key issue for a vast majority of voters. Not enough to sway the election

  22. PMD says:

    I saw them on Trump and Bernie supporter’s cars. Sexism is bipartisan.

  23. Al Lindro says:

    What made me very queasy about Hillary (though I could not vote for Trump) is the Clinton Foundation which is reportedly (and increasingly) being investigated for charity fraud on a massive scale. From what I have read and heard, it is likely to be an open and shut case, not only in various states but internationally in the sense that many countries have tighter and harsher charity regulations than we do in the US (varies by state here, as well as Federal laws. And the burden of proof is on foundations to show that abided by the rules of the game, not that the government(s), state and federal have the burden to prove that they were rogues,

    Not talking here about the “pay to play” allegations which would be extremely hard to prove even if they existed, but the Foundation has been seemingly operating outside the laws for a tax-exempt charitable foundation in terms of governance, reporting, auditing, etc, and the trustees have not complied with fiduciary responsibilities “Follow the money”. The Clintons amassed such wealth due to simple generosity of others? I kinda doubt it. The outlandish speaking fees raised my eyebrows; what was going on with that? I hope we find out.

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