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Why Donald Trump Won

People who don’t understand how anyone could vote for Donald Trump are part of the reason Trump won.

Todd KraininTodd KraininI wrote this, or the jist of it, back on June 14. The Orlando shooting happened two days earlier (it seems so long ago), and the tenor of the arguments in the political arena in its aftermath, over immigration, guns, race, and religion were frightening. The odious, smug comments by many on the left made me believe for the first time that it was Trump's election to lose, not to win. Since then, he did a lot to try to lose, while many of his opponents did their best to keep him in the race with their own unhinged reactions.

All these people were helping him. There was so much hate. I tweeted a couple of people, pointing out their toxicity was only helping Trump. That trend continued through November. In September, she put half of Trump voters in a "basket of deplorables." Clinton chose to focus largely on Trump's personal character flaws and controversial statements, without ever substantively engaging or even recognizing the concerns Trump voters said they had.

The news that some Facebook employees tried to get Donald Trump posts banned as "hate speech" was emblematic of the problem with a lot of the left's response to Trump. Zuckerberg rejected the calls. "There are many reasons a person might support Trump that do not involve racism, sexism, xenophobia or accepting sexual assault," Zuckerberg wrote in a post. "It may be because they believe strongly in smaller government, a different tax policy, health care system, religious issues, gun rights or any other issue where he disagrees with Hillary."

Throughout, Clinton supporters ignored her professional flaws—questionable relationships of the Clinton Foundation, a disregard for transparency and the rules in setting up her own email server, as well as a total inability to acknowledge any real faults in her history of foreign policy positions. Instead, they tried to gaslight opponents of Clinton as sexists. Even now, the narrative that "America is more sexist than racist" is taking hold on the left (the notion itself could easily be called racist, at the very least its an distasteful exercise in oppression ranking). Trump won in part because of voters in places like Michigan and Wisconsin who voted twice for Obama. It won't stop some on the left from calling those Trump voters racist, either.

It turns out people don't like being talked down to, and don't like being lied to. They can smell a bullshit argument from someone else even if they subscribe to their own set. So a deeply flawed candidate like Trump was able to win, despite his own best efforts, because of the popularity of the anti-establishment sentiment.

Back in June after Orlando, the left appeared to be fundamentally lying about the situation on the ground. Republicans were to blame for the Orlando shooting, The New York Times argued. The NRA was complicit in terrorism, if not terrorists themselves. The propositions are on their face ridiculous. People can see that. There are many arguments against Trump's brand of nativism. Many of them were made here at Reason. Blaming white supremacy and America's history of imperialism on what was at the time most likely a mass murder perpetrated by a young first generation American Muslim raised in an immigrant, anti-gay household doesn't help. There are arguments to keep borders open. There are arguments against Donald Trump's proposed bans. There are arguments for amnesty. The left largely was not making them.

By refusing to provide any kind of argument, instead misrepresenting the facts and deploying ill-fitting narratives in an attempt to blame shift, they created the space for Trump and actually made it easier for his message to get across. That was a pattern that continued through November, keeping Trump in the race. They're lying, Trump argued the Monday after the Orlando shooting. And he wasn't wrong, even if he was lying too.

Now the left will again blame everyone but themselves. After all they didn't vote for Trump. Paul Krugman went on a Twitter tirade about focus on the email controversy "killing the planet." There are countless examples on social media of the blame going everywhere but at the problems with their own candidate. Democracy itself is at stake, because their candidate didn't win. That's not how democratic societies work. Hillary Clinton was a deeply flawed candidate, with a bloody history on the foreign policy front and the unmistakable stench of corruption surrounding her long career. Clinton campaign emails reveal they favored Trump, Ted Cruz, and Ben Carson, as "pied piper" candidates it would be easier to defeat. Clinton's people knew they would do best in November if they could make the race about the other candidate's perceived flaws or unfitness. Fortunately, perhaps, for democracy, it didn't work. If the Trump presidency animates Democrats and whatever Republicans in Congress remain anti-Trump in 2017 to reassert the power of Congress as a co-equal branch of government and not a rubber stamp and whipping boy for the executive branch, that could move the U.S. political system back toward a republican form where government power is limited, rather than concentrated in the power of the presidency.

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  • The Fusionist||

    This is a bit bold on Reason's part after certain staff said Hillary was bound to win.

  • Mr Lizard||

    Yes look at the stoooopid mammals trying to change colors like one of my cousins

  • RightNut||

    Your comment made my night

  • Swiss Servator||

    *claw clap*

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Maybe the Reason staff that stumped for Hillary can answer a question:

    How does Hillary lose when she had a war chest of $687M?

    I know, she sux.

  • Entropy Drehmaschine Void||

    I know, she sux.

    Yup.

    Exactly.

  • Junior Juniorson, III||

    We've got to get money out of politics.

  • Zeb||

    All zero of them are very sad today and won't be answering questions.

    Most Reason staff could fairly be called Anti-Trump, but you people who somehow convinced yourselves that they were for Clinton are fucking nuts.

    The one's who have argued that money in politics isn't a big deal and that you can't buy elections might have some answers for you.

  • Chip Your Pets||

    Clinton campaign emails reveal they favored Trump, Ted Cruz, and Ben Carson, as "pied piper" candidates it would be easier to defeat.

    And they were right about that, they just underestimated how toxic Hillary would become. This race wouldn't have been close if a serious Republican was nominated.

  • Pan Zagloba||

    Less close and it's a rerun of 1984!

    Though hey, we might still get a dose of 1984 anyway! Libertarian moment!

  • Entropy Drehmaschine Void||

    "Report to Room 101, immediately!"

  • ||

    Let the great pants shitting of 2016 commence! Where's Tony?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I collected one of his tears on Vanity.com

    I see another Tony tears on Politico... be right back

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Where's Tony?

    His mom found him hanging in his closet with his belt tied around his neck. Laptop on his lap open to a compilation video of "Hillary's greatest pantsuits" with a bottle of KY in one hand and his dick in the other. Sad, really.

  • KamaK||

    Had a good laugh when I heard the results. My wife is a socialist/librarian and is acting all skittish, scared, and crying saying we need to move back to Europe. Doing my best to act sympathetic and support her.

    I'd say I've lost my faith in my fellow Americans, but seeing how we elected 'Dubya' a few president's ago, I really didn't have any faith left to lose. I never discounted that we'd get a rapist racist troll for president.

    Way to go citizens... golf clap

  • Playa Manhattan.||

    D-. Try harder.

  • butt-head||

    I'm in a similar position wrt my partner and friends. It's a weird position to be in, like I'm lying. Afraid I'll slip up and express satisfaction and thereby ruin one of my relationships. Sigh.

  • spqr2008||

    I expressed it to my boss this way the other day: "At least if Trump wins, he'll be universally hated right off."

  • JWatts||

    "I'm in a similar position wrt my partner and friends. It's a weird position to be in, like I'm lying. Afraid I'll slip up and express satisfaction and thereby ruin one of my relationships. Sigh."

    Would your partner and friends be as circumspect if Clinton had won?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Progressive agenda rejected- Reason staff surprised from trump winning the primary to Trump being elected.

  • Chip Your Pets||

    Speaking of killing the planet, Newsweek is going to be trashing a buttload of commemorative "Madam President" mags. Though I kind of want one as a souvenir.

  • Pan Zagloba||

    God damn it, put it on the stand for double the price. It'll sell out, there's a ton of desperate proggies out there who need that kind of shit!

  • Arroway||

    THIS.
    I saw Sarah Paulson's (of American Horror Story) tweet a picture last night of her clutching a plastic Hillary action figure for comfort, with the text "I'm not going to let you go". Seriously.

  • The Fusionist||

    "But Newsweek says it was a business decision based on the fact that Clinton has been leading in all the polls — and they made a "President Trump" version of the issue as well, just in case."

    Reminds me of this.

  • Junior Juniorson, III||

    WHERE THE FUCK IS CYTOTOXIC

    Lil' Canuck was sure as shit that Trump was going to lose in a wipeout.

  • butt-head||

    Lol I forgot about that. Fuck him.

  • The Elite Elite||

    He's going to go hibernate for a few years. He'll come back around the 2020 election and hope everyone forgot about him. He'll start telling us how Elizabeth Warren is the most qualified candidate ever and will for sure defeat TRUMP.

  • GILMORE™||

    Freddie DeBoer still wins the analysis-contest IMO


    Freddie@freddiedeboer
    I am honest to god begging you guys, John Oliver and Lena Dunham are fucking killing you and you have no goddamn idea, please stop it

    Pete@pdpage
    @freddiedeboer @YeaYouRite
    really? You think we should have broadened our appeal to racists and misogynists?

    Freddie ‏@freddiedeboer 5h5 hours ago
    @pdpage @YeaYouRite You can't just spend the rest of your life saying "well they're all racists" when you lose, or you're just gonna lose.

    The fact that was the response he got to his point is just emblematic of how deep they are invested in their own fart-sniffing moral superiority

  • Junior Juniorson, III||

    And look at how binary those fuckheads are.

    Freddie De Boer: Enough with the celebs!

    Pete: So racists and sexists, then?

    There is no middle ground. If you're not on board with Beyonce and Lebron James, you're obviously a Grand Dragon of the KKK.

  • NebulousFocus||

    Kudos to him. He's still a communist.

  • Password: pode$ta||

    You can't just spend the rest of your life saying "well they're all racists" when you lose, or you're just gonna lose.

    This made me laugh.

  • ||

    I'm going to take some time enjoying the schadenfreude of dems who did not see this happening but soon we must band together to support free trade against a Trump administration. The dangers of Trump have certainly been exaggerated in the media (including on this website) but this is a low bar to rise against. The one thing Trump has been against over the course of his career has been a respect for the free market in international trade.

    To be clear, support for free markets is dying in this country. Not only has Trump pandered to this constituency but Hillary has moved in this direction to appeal to Sanders voters. They must be opposed. Free trade has been the greatest force for liberty and peace in the world and it is the most important issue of our life time to support these principles going forward.

  • Zeb||

    Yes. It's nice to see Hillary defeated, but Trump is still going to be a very unlibertarian president.

    The fact that both Sanders and Trump did so well doesn't say a lot of good things about they way things are headed. There's a good chance of some bipartisan anti-free-trade bullshit now.

  • Invisible Finger||

    doesn't say a lot of good things about they way things are headed.

    To coin a phrase, Hilary would have been worse.

  • Scarecrow & WoodChipper Repair||

    I stand by my earlier conversion to Trump the crazy clown being less dangerous than Hillary the corrupt felon precisely because Trump is so volatile and unstable that no one will know what he wants and will be like deer in headlights, never starting any project for fear it will be canceled or repurposed in a week; they will be standing still after they get tired of running around in circles.

    And both Republicans and Democrats despise him, so any honeymoon from Republicans will be short lived. I expect they'll approve his Supreme Court nominees without trouble, but that's about it.

    Jesse Walker had that post about the Texas entertainer who won the race for governor and got nothing done because the "real" politicians despised him so much. That is what will happen with trump, unless the Dems go full sulk and make Trump look like the sympathetic victim.

  • Azathoth!!||

    See, THIS is the good stuff.

  • Crying Zelda Morning Link||

    I see the H&R Dilbertarians are going to be fun for the next four years. Enjoy sticking your finger in the eye of the uhleetz. An anti-trade, anti-immigration, cronyist manchild has a GOP congress to rubberstamp his nationalist dream for the next four years. At some point, LOL SJW tears! won't be a defense.

  • GILMORE™||

    Fuck you i voted for Gary.

  • ||

    I did too and to be honest licking the tears of hillary tears for "spoiling" the elections will be way more fun than if Hillary won. But Trump's anti-free trade rhetoric is pretty concerning, way more than any bullshit people have bitched about. This is something he has been consistent about for decades. We need to oppose it.

  • GILMORE™||

    We need to oppose it.

    Let us know when "It" becomes something more than rhetoric,

    Last i checked, gitmo is still operational, and Obama hasn't exactly ended the wars in Iraq.

    iow... What people gab about during their campaign aint exactly carved in stone.

    Similarly = the "reasons people say they voted for a person" and "the agenda they end up supporting" also tend to bear little actual relation to one another. I'm not saying zero, but policy battles tend to be opportunistic, not formulaic

    I think things that Trump can do out the gate are largely positive =

    e.g.
    - set a plan for the repeal/restructure of the ACA. strip the bullshit mandates and open up the market to 'cobra' style-minimum coverage plans, etc.
    - repeal Dodd/Frank
    - end the various EPA/DoE boondoggles
    - tee up some justices, etc.

    as for 'trade concerns'... i suspect he'll fly to china to get a photo op. and maybe junket over to the EU. Whether anything comes out of those meets, who knows. I sincerely doubt he's going to demand an immediate imposition of tariffs on day 1.

  • Robert||

    Trump could revert to the line he had for decades re narcotics, and get major deregul'n of them by his att'y gen'l.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Libertarian Party is pretty close to 5% based on what I see.

    Nothing to be ashamed at, if you voted GJ. Weld sux but we all know that.

  • Crying Zelda Morning Link||

    Yep, and you're celebrating the triumph of economically illiterate Rust Belt Boomers who believe the government is their trade union. There's no love lost on seeing Clinton tank (other than my standard gridlock preference of power), but I'm not gonna pat those protectionist assholes on the back just for fucking up Hillary's dreams. This is the second worst result we could have gotten, behind a full Dem slate.

  • GILMORE™||

    boo fucking hoo

  • Crying Zelda Morning Link||

    Like I said, enjoy your night of flapping your dick around. Just be ready to put on your big boy pants tomorrow.

  • GILMORE™||

    Nothing is quite so pathetic as a patronizing half-wit.

  • Crying Zelda Morning Link||

    You finally understand.

  • Swiss Servator||

    Self awareness not your big suit, eh CZML?

  • Migrant Log Chipper||

    Call a fucking wwwaaaammmmmbulance, dipshit. Even a guy like me who thinks Trump will be terrible has to laugh at a fucktard cankle licker like you.

  • Crying Zelda Morning Link||

    No, I voted for Gary, little man.

  • Azathoth!!||

    SJW tears?

    Oh, no, not SJW tears.

    YOUR tears.

    They're so much better than SJW tears, don't you see?

    SJWs openly wanted Hillary, and their tears so plentiful that they have tides now.

    But your tears are those revealed as the mask was ripped away.

    We all knew it would be Trump or Clinton, and many--not enough of us went for Johnson to get to that coveted 5%. But we knew. And we knew that, all things considered, Trump would be far less horrible than Hillary.

    But not you. You, for some reason, preferred the open statism, the enthusiastic collectivism, the unfettered corruption, that would have been a Hillary presidency to Trump.

    Can you not see why your suffering is so sweet?

  • lafe.long||

    Great article, Ed.

    Even though the tears will be delicious, I haven't yet decided if I'm gonna log into Derpbook today... but if I do, this article gives me some excellent things to copy and paste.

  • TapDancingXenomorph||

    Will Shikha be too busy shitting herself to write a tirade later today?

  • GILMORE™||

    they should do like the rest of the media and start pretending that the crazy shit they wrote over the past year was "creative license" and prepare themselves to actually react to "things people actually do/say" in the future instead of the projections of their fevered imaginations.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I just bought mason jars and am labeling them for special tears that I collect.

    Shikha where are you?

  • Password: pode$ta||

    The commentariat is going to troll her really hard for "calling" this election a few times. I'll pitch in if I catch the article(s) in time.

  • Entropy Drehmaschine Void||

    I don't even want to go to sleep tonight.

    The Proggie Salty Ham Tears are soooooooooooooooooooooooo Delicious.

  • ||

    If the Trump presidency animates Democrats and whatever Republicans in Congress remain anti-Trump in 2017 to reassert the power of Congress as a co-equal branch of government and not a rubber stamp and whipping boy for the executive branch, that would could move the U.S. political system back toward a republican form where government power is limited, rather than concentrated in the power of the presidency.

    ^^^This this this. Voted Johnson but hoped Trump would win mainly because of this this this. But my bet is that it puts paid to the idea that either main party wants to follow constitutional rule rather than have an executive king of their making.

  • Pay up, Palin's Buttplug!||

  • XM||

    The libertarians had a very decent night. More states legalized medicinal and recreational pot and Gary Johnson got just under 4 million vote.

    But Trump's win bodes ill for the libertarian wing of the GOP. Not that long ago free trade and economic freedom was nominally part of the GOP's agenda. Now there is no major party which stands for any of that. What republican would vote against tarriffs and trade barriers after this Trumpnani? The democrats will nominate Bernie Sanders or other wannabe socialists in 4 years to upend Trump.

    The libertarians might have lost a lot of allies on the GOP side who now has to cater to angry rust belt whites demanding "America first" policies. Hopefully Trump can prove us wrong one more time as president and give up on his nonsense super wall and trade wars.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Trump's campaign exposed the same RINOs and LINOs that would cause Libertarians grief.

    We got rid of Hillary and now push the USA toward Libertarianism.

  • Swiss Servator||

    U.S. Reps. Justin Amash (R-Michigan) and Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky) and Sen. Rand Paul were all re-elected to Congress.

    I am glad of that.

  • DesigNate||

    Or they could defect to the Libertarian party and prove that they were sincere about their freedom stances. Or they can just fight against Trump as Republicans.

  • Butts Wagner||

    June 14

    Flag Day. Just a thought. Definitely not a sermon.

  • Ken Shultz||

    It was a referendum on elitism.

    The people who voted for Trump (both in the primaries and the general election) had two interesting characteristics:

    1) They were the white, blue collar, middle class that progressives have been demonizing for the last eight years.

    2) They were Democrats who've been chased out of the Democratic Party by progressives.

    From the progressives leadership of the Democratic Party to progressive journalists everywhere, why would demonizing everyone who isn't a feminist, a radical environmentalist, an illegal alien, a Muslim, or a black lives matter sympathizer win you any elections?

    Same thing happened in 1980 and 1984.

    "Reagan Democrats" no longer saw the Democratic party as champions of their working class aspirations, but instead saw them as working primarily for the benefit of others: the very poor, feminists, the unemployed, African Americans, Latinos, and other groups.

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

    That same sentence could have been written about Trump Democrats tonight.

    It was the same demographic voting for the same reasons.

  • Bill||

    True, Ken. And Clinton helped them get the bubba vote back, remember that?

    They even had American flags at the convention!

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Reagan Democrats" no longer saw the Democratic party as champions of their working class aspirations, but instead saw them as working primarily for the benefit of others: the very poor, feminists, the unemployed, African Americans, Latinos, and other groups."

    The sooner progressives accept that they're chasing their own base out of the Democratic Party, the sooner they'll become a force again.

    I wouldn't necessarily depend on Trump's unpopularity to see them through.

    For one thing, if Trump can achieve a thing or two, he might become more popular.

    For another, what kind of idiot believes the polls about Trump after tonight?

    Nate Silver was giving Hillary an 78% chance of winning!!!

  • ChipToBeSquare||

    Nate's model was invalidated once the Cubs won

  • Dallas H.||

    Nate's numbers were mocked for being too bullish on Trump since the HuffPo 98.1% and Princeton >99% calls for Clinton were the actual truth and he was just trying to get clicks.

    I hate Nate Silver but he was less wrong than most aggregators (while still being massively wrong).

  • american socialist||

    "People who don't understand how anyone could vote for Donald Trump are part of the reason Trump won."

    Yep. I watched Donald Trump on many occasions and the thing that got him elected-- other than the racism, which obviously was a part of his appeal-- was that he wasn't full of shit on trade, on business lobbying, and on HRC's militarism. His areas of strongest support correlate with the places in America where there is the greatest deindustialization and despair. What did HRC, with her talk of getting women elected to the boards of Fortune 500 companies, have to offer a White male working in a manufacturing job? Nothing. They didn't vote for her-- nor should they have.

  • ||

    Clinton chose to focus largely on Trump's personal character flaws and controversial statements, without ever substantively engaging or even recognizing the concerns Trump voters said they had.

    Ed, I am impressed. This is the most salient point you have written about this whole election. The most important thing about trying to sell one's ideas to another is to first understand what it is they want/feel/think about a certain issue. Regardless of if you agree or disagree initially. There are more than just the Kevin D. Wiliamson, "Meth Addled Great White Unwashed," out there to respond to his brand, as this election was really mostly about Classism, from where I sit. I've said on these boards recently, "If you keep kicking and kicking at an old dog, no matter how docile or downtrodden, at some point it will bite back." Being totally tone deaf to their concerns and refusing to engage them is what led to Troomp, regardless of racial demographies of the ones who voted for them.

    Because of that, it's also perfectly to phrase your thesis this way:

    Reason chose to focus largely on Trump's personal character flaws and controversial statements, without ever substantively engaging or even recognizing the concerns Trump voters said they had.

    It is possible to point out another's sincere concerns free of invective without endorsing the concern or idea. That't the mark of a good salesman. Or a good doctor, FTM.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    It is possible to point out another's sincere concerns free of invective without endorsing the concern or idea. That't the mark of a good salesman. Or a good doctor, FTM.

    Or a good politician, which Hillary most definitely isn't.

  • ||

    I love all the salty teats. Yummy

  • GroundTruth||

    Trump had clearly won FL and OH by 10PM Eastern, 95% in, a 2 % lead (as I recall), and the media (even FOX) were unwilling to state the obvious, Trump has won those states, and the war was probably already over. Both sides need to open their eyes and realize that this is not a country bouncing between two crazy extremes, but a republic of many people with very strong, differing opinions. Trump has no "mandate", the popular vote is a statistical tie, and he, like Obumah and Twig before him, would be well served to bear that in mind. I'm sure he won't.

  • Fruit Sushi 2 Go||

    Nailed it, Ed. Mainstream Ds and Rs were complaining of Johnson being some sort of protest vote but the real protest vote was for Trump. No one voted for him on principle. It was to stick it to the John Olivers, the Lena Dunhams, the Jessica Valentis, and everyone bitching about middle class, blue collar, white males. They're getting what they deserve. I'm not a Trump supporter by any means but 2% of me does enjoy the chaos that will ensue.

  • ||

    Turns out that a corrupt candidate running a campaign demonizing wide swaths of the electorate does not a winner make. Who knew?

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Well said, Ed.

  • Scarecrow & WoodChipper Repair||

    Nailed it, Ed. The continually fooled themselves, cried wolf to the public and themselves. Just could not see that people were simply fed up with the system, that this particular coercive government has grown to the size that it pisses off everybody in one way or another, and the system may as well be rigged for how much it pleases people.

    I saw a sentence fragment this morning in google news which pretty much sums up the Dem attitude: "I love that Trump says he is trained, not educated". I do not know whether "he" is Trump or somebody else, but it doesn't matter; it's the sneering contempt for "training", which a plumber might get, or a rent-a-cop, as compared to what a real professional gets, "education".

    Thanks for the writeup.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Hillary Clinton was a deeply flawed candidate,

    It's funny how the left knew this 8 years ago, then became so in love with themselves they ignored their own flaws.

    For the first time in my life the most narcissistic candidate lost. The only surprise is how easy it was for the left to find someone more narcissistic than Trump.

  • bacon-magic||

    Great article, Ed.

  • CraigL||

    Interestingly, the shorter candidate has almost never won the presidential spot. And Hilary is SHORT.

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