As a great man once said:
“First they ignore you
Then they laugh at you
Then they attack you
And then you win”
Donald Trump’s election as the 45th President of The United States is nothing short of a political revolution. I might not like it, you probably don’t, but surely no one can deny the fact that this is probably the single greatest upset in modern political history. Not only because of the massive potential implications of this result on both American and global politics but also due to the incredible damage in has done to contemporary political strategy and thinking. Just so we’re clear:
This is the first case in modern American history when the candidate with overwhelmingly the most money has lost.
This is the first time in years when higher voter turnout ended up benefiting the Republican.
This is the first time in practically all of American history when the candidate who had less funding, overwhelmingly unfavorable media coverage, unfavorable polling, vastly inferior party organization and a significantly worse ground operation than his opponent has managed to win.
Pollsters and political scientists all over America will spend the next several months, if not years, trying to figure out how on Earth this was even possible. How the strength of the entire US political and media establishment, with the best minds and technology that money can buy at their disposal, has failed to defeat an incredibly unpopular reality TV star whose campaign was run not by long established strategists but by the former editor of Breitbart.
Millions of people are furious, maybe you’re one of them, and over the next few weeks, you will see that anger directed at all the wrong places. You will hear that this election result is the fault of those who refused to hold their nose and voted third party. You will hear that Trump’s ascendance to The White House is the result of racism, rampant xenophobia and a resurgence of white nationalism. You will hear that this is the fault of ordinary Americans. Ordinary Americans who will undoubtedly be smeared as ignorant and stupid, and probably also as some of the above (as racists, xenophobes, sexists, and nationalists). Such a reaction would not just be counterproductive, but also plain wrong.
According to exit polls, 60% of those who voted had an unfavorable view of Trump, which is clearly more than the number of those who voted for both Hillary and the third parties combined. The inevitable conclusion, therefore, is that many of those who voted for Trump did not consider him a good candidate. They were forced to choose between the lesser of two evils, they made that choice, and it just happens that it was not the one that the pundits expected. The only people who are to blame for this, and hence the ones that deserve your rightly justified anger, are Hillary Clinton and The Democratic Party.
The Democratic Party who’s sheer and terrific cronyism led it to ignore all the evidence and nominate one of the most unpopular presidential candidates in American history. The Democratic Party which broke its own impartiality rules by collaborating against Bernie Sanders and hence putting the interests of their donors ahead of the interests of both their party and their nation.
Bernie Sanders would have crushed Donald Trump, not least by completely countering the latter’s anti-establishment appeal. Yet the Democrats chose to cynically gamble the future of their country on a person who was so obviously the weakest available candidate, and even then, Hillary Clinton never helped herself. Her campaign, despite all its money and superior organization, spectacularly misjudged the issues that many American voters happened to care about.
She didn’t lose because over 50 million Americans are somehow closet racists or sexists. Hillary Clinton lost because, believe it or not, promising to bring back jobs and fighting unpopular trade deals is actually a lot more popular than meaningless bullshit about being “stronger together” and breaking down some metaphorical glass ceiling. The Democrats have made their bed, and now they have to sleep in it while news organizations across the world print three words that seemed a terrible joke only this time last year: President Donald Trump.