First and foremost, I was wrong.
This column has denigrated, mocked, condemned and criticized Donald J. Trump repeatedly over the last year and a half. I declared that he was clueless politically, bankrupt morally and not only unfit but unable to become President of the United States.
The jury is still out on what kind of leader Trump will be, but one thing is clear: He is no fool when it comes to electoral politics, and he knew what he was doing when he started his campaign. Trump won in a crushing fashion, and once media outlets projected Trump winning Florida, there was hardly a doubt that the real estate tycoon would acquire the new address of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in January 2017.
That is not to say that Trump was helped along the way. For one thing he had the perfect candidate to run against. Hillary Clinton is one of the weakest and most flawed candidates in modern political history. From the high negative public opinions ratings, the emails, Benghazi, and voter paranoia, this election was defined by political outsiders.
Clinton epitomized the ultimate insider, and was, perhaps, the worst candidate for the Democratic Party to nominate this election cycle. However, that was only one of the many factors that came together to create the “Trump Coalition” into the Oval Office.
Whether it be race, class, religion, trade, the economy or what have you, Trump’s victory was as complete as it was dominant. He won states that Republicans have not competed in since 1988 and in doing so disproved the myth of the “Blue Wall.” Trump proved that demographics are not, in fact, destiny.
Campaigning in a brash way and completely heedless of the so- called autopsy of the Republican Party – performed after Obama’s 2012 win – which declared that the party had to reach out to African- American and Hispanic voters, Trump outperformed Romney among both groups, while Hillary scored well below the benchmarks set by President Obama in 2008 and 2012.
There will be plenty of angst and soul-searching among Democrats following this result. Plenty of finger-pointing and blaming will occur as the party tries to figure out what went wrong and how they lost an election that everyone – pollsters, media, elected and appointed officials, the president, the candidate – thought was a sure thing.
One thing that might have significantly hampered Democrats was the way in which party insiders cleared a path for Hillary during the primary season.
For Republicans, questions remain as well. Now, for the first time in a long time, the GOP controls the House, the Senate, the White House and depending on who Trump nominates once he is sworn in, will likely have an ideological ally in the Supreme Court as well. Of course, no one is quite sure how the Donald will govern now that he will be the president. It will be a riveting few months for Americans as the Trump Administration takes shape, and we all consider what the next four years of American history will look like.
Two things I am seeing Democrats go after on social media right now are the FBI and third party voters. James Comey’s back-and-forth routine did not help Hillary, but he did not sway every battleground state Trump won, which gave the mogul a 30 vote cushion in the Electoral College. Likewise, the third party candidates: They did not elect Trump. It is false to make an assumption that all the Libertarians, Greens, Reformers, Constitutionalists, etc. members would have voted for Clinton; it is more likely that they would not have voted at all or perhaps would have split their votes between the two parties.
And again, there is no single explanatory factor for the Trump victory on Tuesday night. He dominated in a way that Republicans have not done since the days of Ronald Reagan. Raging against the FBI, third parties, protest voters or older voters misses the point: Trump was the overwhelming winner of the election.
I hope that I was as wrong about his ability to serve as president as I was about his ability to become president.