Five things that explain Donald Trump’s stunning presidential election victory

Drumpf supporters celebrate on Nov. 8, 2016. John Locher/AP
Drumpf supporters celebrate on Nov. 8, 2016. John Locher/AP

Anthony J. Gaughan, Drake University

A populist wave that began with Brexit in June reached the United States in stunning fashion on Tuesday night. In one of the biggest upsets in American political history, Donald Trump won a truly historic victory in the U.S. presidential election.

Trump’s remarkably decisive win stunned most political pundits, myself included. Throughout the campaign, Trump seemed to have a polling ceiling of about 44 percent and he consistently had the highest unfavorability rating of any major party nominee in history. Accordingly, months ago I predicted that Clinton would easily beat Trump.

Then, at the beginning of October, the uproar over Trump’s lewd and offensive remarks on the “Access Hollywood” videotape, combined with the escalating number of women who accused Trump of sexual assault, seemed to finish off his campaign. Right up until Tuesday afternoon, therefore, a comfortable victory for Clinton seemed like a foregone conclusion.

But I was dead wrong. Trump won a sweeping victory in the presidential race. His night began with critical victories in Florida, North Carolina and Ohio, three states essential to his path to 270 electoral votes. As the night wore on, Clinton’s “blue wall” collapsed amid a red tide that swept across the country from the Atlantic coast to the Rocky Mountains. The blue states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa fell to Trump like dominoes. The election returns made clear that Trump would carry over 300 electoral votes, more than enough to win the presidency.

It’s extremely early to draw conclusions about the 2016 election results, but here are five factors that at least partially explain what happened.

1. Silent Trump vote

There really was a silent Trump vote that the polls failed to pick up on. The nationwide polling average gave Clinton about a 3-point lead overall, and the state-by-state polls indicated that she would win at least 300 electoral votes.

But the polls were as wrong as the pundits. Problems with the polls’ methodologies will undoubtedly be identified in the days and weeks ahead.

It seems equally reasonable to conclude that many Trump voters kept their intentions to themselves and refused to cooperate with the pollsters.

The extraordinary role of FBI Director James Comey in the presidential campaign cannot be underestimated either. Two weeks ago Clinton seemed on the verge of winning a double-digit victory. But Comey’s Oct. 28 letter to Congress, which announced that the FBI was reopening its investigation into Clinton’s State Department emails, changed the momentum of the race. Clinton retook the polling lead at the end of last week, but the final polls masked the lasting damage that the Comey letter had done to her campaign.

Whatever the ultimate explanation for the polls’ failure to predict the election’s outcome, the future of the polling industry is in question after Tuesday. Trump’s astounding victory demonstrated that the polls simply cannot be trusted.

2. Celebrity beat organization

A longstanding assumption of political campaigns is that a first-rate “Get out the Vote” organization is indispensable. The conventional wisdom in 2016 thus held that Trump’s lack of a grassroots organization was a huge liability for his campaign.

But as it turned out, he didn’t need an organization. Trump has been in the public eye for over 30 years, which meant that he entered the race with nearly 100 percent name recognition. Trump’s longstanding status as a celebrity enabled him to garner relentless media attention from the moment he entered the race. One study found that by May 2016 Trump had received the equivalent of US$3 billion in free advertising from the media coverage his campaign commanded. Trump seemed to intuitively understand that the controversial things he said on the campaign trail captured the voters’ attention in a way that serious policy speeches never could.

Most important of all, he had highly motivated voters. Trump’s populist rhetoric and open contempt for civility and basic standards of decency enabled him to connect with the Republican base like no candidate since Ronald Reagan. Trump didn’t play by the normal rules of politics, and his voters loved him for it.

Trump’s victory would seem to herald a new era of celebrity politicians. He showed that a charismatic media-savvy outsider has significant advantages over traditional politicians and conventional political organizations in the internet age. In the future, we may see many more unconventional politicians in the Trump mold.

3. Populist revolt against immigration and trade

It will take days to sort through the data to figure out what issues resonated mostly deeply with Trump’s base.

But immigration and trade seem virtually certain to be at the top of the list. Trump bet his whole campaign on the idea that popular hostility to liberal immigration and free trade policies would propel him to the White House.

From the beginning to the end of his campaign, he returned time and again to those two cornerstone issues. In his announcement speech, he promised to build a wall on the Mexican border and deport 11 million unauthorized immigrants. He also pledged to tear up free trade agreements and bring back manufacturing jobs. From day one, he made xenophobic and nationalistic policies the centerpiece of his campaign.

Critics rightfully condemned his vicious attacks on Mexicans and Muslims, but Trump clearly understood that hostility toward immigration and globalization ran deep among a critical mass of American voters.

His decision to focus on immigration and trade paid off in spades on Election Day. It’s no coincidence that Trump did exceptionally well in the traditionally blue states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, all of which have large populations of white working-class voters. Previous Republican nominees such as John McCain, who embraced generous immigration policies, and Mitt Romney, who advocated free trade, never managed to connect with blue-collar voters in the Great Lakes region.

But Trump’s anti-immigration and protectionist trade policies gave him a unique opening with white working-class voters, and he made the most of it.

4. Outsiders against insiders

Trump will be the first president without elective office experience since Dwight Eisenhower in the 1950s. Eisenhower, however, served as supreme allied commander in Europe during World War II and had unrivaled expertise in foreign affairs.

So how did Trump make his lack of government experience an asset in the campaign?

The answer lay in the intense and widespread public hostility to the political, media and business establishments that lead the country. Trust in institutions is at an all-time low and a majority of Americans believe the country is headed in the wrong direction.. The angry and volatile public mood made 2016 the ultimate change election.

Amid such a potent anti-establishment spirit, Trump’s vulgar, intemperate and unorthodox style struck voters as far more genuine than the highly cautious and controlled Hillary Clinton. As the brash and unpredictable Trump positioned himself as an agent of change, Clinton seemed like the establishment’s candidate, an impression that proved fatal to her campaign. Indeed, Trump used Clinton’s deep experience in the White House, Senate and State Department against her by citing it as evidence that she represented the status quo.

Ironically, Bill Clinton won the White House 24 years ago using a similar anti-establishment strategy. In the 1992 election, he successfully depicted incumbent President George H. W. Bush as an out-of-touch elitist. Eight years later Bush’s son, George W. Bush, employed the same tactic to defeat Vice President Al Gore. And in 2008 Barack Obama successfully ran as an outsider against John McCain.

Trump is thus the fourth consecutive president to win the White House by running as an “outsider” candidate. That is a lesson that future presidential candidates forget at their peril.

5. America, the divided

Above all, the 2016 election made clear that America is a nation deeply divided along racial, cultural, gender and class lines.

Under normal circumstances, one would expect the new president to attempt to rally the nation behind a message of unity.

But Trump will not be a normal president. He won the White House by waging one of the most divisive and polarizing campaigns in American political history. It is entirely possible that he may choose to govern using the same strategy of divide and conquer.

In any case, Trump will soon be the most powerful person in the world. He will enter office on Jan. 20 with Republican majorities in the House and Senate, which means Republicans will dictate the nation’s policy agenda and control Supreme Court appointments for the next four years. It seems highly likely therefore that Nov. 8, 2016 will go down in the history books as a major turning point in American history.

The 2016 election defied the conventional wisdom from start to finish. It is probably a safe bet that the Trump presidency will be just as unpredictable.

The Conversation

Anthony J. Gaughan, Professor of Law, Drake University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Harry Reid super-PAC returned money from Miami donor Ibrahim Al Rashid-Did Patrick Murphy?

The donor, an old friend of Rep. Patrick Murphy, pleaded guilty to assaulting his wife.

A Democratic super-PAC influenced by Harry Reid is returning $100,000 given by a donor who pleaded guilty to assaulting his wife after The Hill alerted the group to the donation.

Senate Majority PAC, the super-PAC led by Senate Minority Leader Reid (D-Nev.), which supports Democrats running for Senate, had taken the money in late March from Miami donor Ibrahim Al-Rashid.

Al-Rashid, the son of a Saudi multimillionaire, pleaded guilty in 2014 to simple assault of his estranged wife, Morgan, who had served as Rep. Patrick Murphy’s (D-Fla.) finance director in his first campaign for Congress.

Al-Rashid, who is an old friend and major financial backer of Murphy’s, received one year of probation.


Read More:

Source: Reid super-PAC returns money from Miami donor | TheHill

The CBS4 investigation about Congressman Patrick Murphy #Florida #FLSEN 

For instance, he has never worked a day in his life as a Certified Public Accountant.
For instance, he has never worked a day in his life as a Certified Public Accountant.

CBS4 Investigative Reporter Jim DeFede’s four-month long investigation about Congressman Patrick Murphy, the man who wants to be Florida’s next U.S. senator.

MIAMI (CBSMiami) –Today Congressman Patrick Murphy is on the fast track to the United States Senate. After just three years in the House, the Democrat from West Palm Beach is the anointed star of his party, enjoying the full-throated backing of President Barack Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden – both of whom came to Miami in recent weeks to campaign for him.

Tens of millions of dollars will be spent to get him elected, with Democrats hoping to take back control of the Senate if he prevails.

Republicans, fearing no one can stop the handsome 33-year-old, have pressured Marco Rubio to jump back into the race and try and retain his seat.

For Murphy, the newfound role as the Democrat’s Most Eligible Candidate is extraordinary; and not just because he’s only been a Democrat since 2011.

Murphy’s rise is extraordinary because of how little he seems to have accomplished to get here.

Read More:

Source: The Making of Patrick Murphy « CBS Miami

A History of Cynicism in Recent Democratic Presidential Races

The Florida Squeeze

1066294085_f289d22142_mMark Twain supposedly said, “history doesn’t repeat but it does rhyme.”  Yet history, in the Democratic primary, appears to be repeating.

Democrats are well known for circular firing squads and eating their own.  Unfortunately, this enthusiasm often abates during general elections against actual ideological opponents.

Former Vice President Al Gore’s savage attacks on former Sen. Bill Bradley in 2000 contrasted with this lackluster general election campaign.  This week, it appeared the campaign of former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, was following Gore’s lead.

In 2000, Sen. Bradley proposed health care legislation which was similar to the overhaul advocated by the Clintons and Vice President Gore in 1994.  Still Gore criticized Bradley’s plan for being both too large and too small.  The media never picked up on this hypocrisy and the Bradley campaign failed to effectively defuse the attacks.

Among Gore’s complains are these from a 2000 CNN story:

“His plan…

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WHO STOLE THE SOUL: Defining the battle for the “soul of the party”

The Florida Squeeze

Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 3.01.17 AM

It’s been said of Florida’s highest-profile 2016 Democratic primary races, that they’re battles for the soul of the party. It’s strange nomenclature, even if on the the face it seems clear cut. It’s not obvious what the party’s soul actually is, what it looks like, or how we’d know if was won or lost. Regardless of how vague and ambiguous it is, “The Battle For The Soul of the Party” (BFSP) is compelling. You don’t want to miss a moment of this action, which will continue on for the next eight months, and beyond.

There are certain assumptions that can’t be avoided in this scenario. Even though it’s not made explicit, it’s implied that there’s one candidate who represents The People (the soul) and one candidate who doesn’t. So the BFSP is an epic battle of the little guy trying to win against all odds against the forces of…

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Yes, Now It Is Time For Us All To Be Honest


July 16, 2015

Yes, Bill Clinton admits his crime law made mass incarceration ‘worse’, now it is time for us to be honest. Bill Clinton admits his crime law made mass incarceration ‘worse’

Honestly, it was not the only law that made life worse on Americans.

  1. Repealed the Glass-Steagall Act – During his years in office he completely failed to act on regulating derivatives, a central cause of the crash. In 1999, he repealed the Glass-Steagall Act, a nifty bit of legislation that effectively blocked the creation of today’s dangerously unstable super-banks. As The Guardian noted in 2009, sub-prime loans before the repeal accounted for only 5 percent of all mortgage-lending. By the time of the crash, they’d hit 30.
  2. Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which repealed the Glass-Steagall Act, a cornerstone of Depression-era regulation. He also signed the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which exempted credit-default swaps from regulation.
  3. In 1995 Clinton loosened housing rules by rewriting the Community Reinvestment Act, which put added pressure on banks to lend in low-income neighborhoods.Clinton also toughened a 1977 act that required lenders to relax their rules for poorer borrowers. In other words, he made it a legal obligation for companies to throw money at people who couldn’t possibly repay it—a policy that, in all fairness, George W. Bush would continue. According to The Wall Street Journal, this was the biggest influence on the gigantic housing bubble that managed to knock the global economy off its axis. It was under Clinton that Fannie and Freddie really began blowing the housing bubble, issuing epic amounts of mortgage-backed debt.
  4. The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was a piece of legislation that legally defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman. It was specifically designed to stop homosexual couples from accessing the 1,000-plus federal rights afforded to straight people, including the right to visit your long-term partner in the hospital. In short, it was a piece of paper that ensured not everyone was equal before the law—and Bill Clinton signed it.
  5. His 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, for example, splurged federal money on the construction of new state prisons. That’s not a bad thing in and of itself, but the bill also forced states that took the money to cut back on paroles and change their sentencing guidelines to make sure inmates spent more time in behind bars. This meant keeping people locked up longer for doing the same crime, and since this was the ’90s, “crime” meant “drugs.” Thanks to stuff like hideously unequal drug sentencing laws—which Clinton blocked Washington from changing—nearly 60 percent of those incarcerated in the Clinton years were in for nonviolent drug offenses.
  6. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was supposed to be the jewel in the Clinton crown. Created to allow free trade between the US, Canada, and Mexico, it was supposed to create jobs for America, boost the Mexican economy, and generally make the world a better place. Instead, it proved an unmitigated disaster for everyone involved.
  7. Welfare Reform Bill The Family Support Act that President Clinton signed is not welfare reform. It does not promote work effectively, and it will hurt millions of poor children by the time it is fully implemented. What’s more, it bars hundreds of thousands of legal immigrants — including many who have worked in the United States for decades and paid a considerable amount in Social Security and income taxes — from receiving disability and old-age assistance and food stamps, and reduces food-stamp assistance for millions of children in working families. Why is the new law so bad? To begin with, it turned out that after all the noise and heat over balancing the budget, the only deep, multi-year budget cuts actually enacted were those in this bill, affecting low-income people.  Child-nutrition programs have also been cut, by nearly $3 billion over six years, affecting meals for children in family day care and in the summer food program.

Unlike Bill, Hillary tends to come across as far more taciturn and far less empathetic than her husband, and this plays into much of the reason that Mrs. Clinton does not poll well on questions regarding honesty and trustworthiness. In addition to that, though, the history of the Clinton administration itself, which Mrs. Clinton was heavily involved in from the beginning, includes many instances where the trustworthiness of the president, the first lady, or those speaking on their behalf was questionable at best. Voters faced with a choice between Hillary Clinton and someone else in 2016 may have to decide just how eager they are to return to that era of the ethical questions and partisan warfare that marked the better part of the Clinton presidency.

It also needs to be noted that John David Podesta is the Chairman of the 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. Podesta previously served as Chief of Staff to President Bill Clinton.

Wall Street deregulation pushed by Clinton advisers, documents reveal

“The argument for reform is that the separation between banking and other financial services mandated by Glass-Steagall is out of date in a world where banks, securities firms and insurance companies offer similar products and where firms outside the US do not face such restrictions,” wrote Podesta.”

In conclusion, when you take in to consideration all the lives affected from all of the above mistakes, considering the wall street ties, the history, we need as Democrats to be honest.  We need to go into the 2016 election more opened eyed with facts. For every reason you have to vote for a person, make sure it is a valid reason, supported by facts.


The Clinton Fallacy

The Untold Story Of How Clinton’s Budget Destroyed The American Economy

The Worst Thing Bill Clinton Has Done

MY BAD! Bill Clinton Admits His Policies Threw Too Many People In Jail

Why Hillary Clinton may be her own worst enemy

Wall Street deregulation pushed by Clinton advisers, documents reveal

GUEST COLUMN: Alan Grayson is the visionary we need for the Senate

The Florida Squeeze

Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 5.55.27 PMGUEST COLUMN BY KAREN COOPER WELZEL, former Polk County Democratic Executive Committee Chair, member Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida.

A dour German philosopher once said: All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.

Alan Grayson is a perfect example of the visionary leader who is just far enough ahead of the pack to first garner ridicule for his ideas, then violent opposition, and finally receive the acceptance of the issues being self-evident.

One of my favorite examples of this was his prescience two months prior to the upheaval in Ferguson, when Grayson introduced an amendment to prevent local police departments from buying surplus military equipment. The amendment failed just days before the nation was shocked to see what a militarized police force looks like in the aftermath of the Michael Brown killing.

Then, because the matter had…

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