I believe Hillary is set to crash. She is a priest without faith,
a doctor without intuition. Her idea of a political commitment
is a cocktail party. To date, she is running the same
paint-by-the-numbers campaign that cost her the
Democratic nomination in 2008. Such candidates are on rails;
they can move only straight ahead or backward, never
side-to-side. A switch pulled unexpectedly, a well-placed
obstacle on the tracks, and they are irredeemably derailed.
-- Thomas Belvedere, August 22, 2015, "President Trump?" --
Our "President Trump?" post over a year ago dealt Trump in, not out of a possible presidency.
On top of Hillary´s fatal weaknesses, we gave these reasons why we thought Trump could win:
(i) Ross Perot conclusively demonstrated in the 1992 presidential election that Americans were fed up with pre-fabricated politicians who only know how to create problems, not solve them. National anger and frustration had reached the point where victory was possible by a wealthy outsider -- Perot was a billionaire -- who never held elected office.
In case you forgot -- and you probably did because politicians and mass media magnates are marginalizing it:
Perot ran as an Independent. In June, before he mysteriously dropped out, Gallup had Perot comfortably ahead (39%) of George Bush Senior (31%) and Bill Clinton (25%), the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates.
"Now, imagine a Perot," we wrote, "who (i) has the bone fide credentials of a Republican Party candidate and (ii) does not quit. Is that Donald Trump?"
In the 24 years since Perot was headed for the White House, America´s anger metamorphosed into fury, frustration into exasperation. The core cause is well known and, more importantly, felt throughout the nation from California to the New York island: the widening polarization of the rich and poor and a shrinking middle class. No president yet, Democrat or Republican -- both Bushes, Clinton, Obama -- has stopped it.
(ii) In 2015, the polling firm Public Policy Polling ran hypothetical match-ups of Hillary against 8 Republican candidates. In all of them she either lost or the race was close.
I will say it again: the Clintons do not know how to campaign. For starters, picking John Podesta, Washington wheeler-dealer and Clinton bag man, for campaign chairman was an irreparable blunder. The upshot was an amateur hour in search of a Ted Mack. Watch Podesta try to play the role here.
There is nothing modesta about John Podesta.
All that said, we are no less shocked than the rest of the world by last night´s electoral college results. Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida: all are presently in Trump´s column. In presidential elections, that is a royal straight flush in spades.
Update: November 10. Five observations:
1. Our prior post of November 8 discussed The Locker Split:
In the absence of reliable information, the best election call is 53%-47% with a margin of error of plus or minus 2%.
Back in 2012, without knowing who the candidates would be, we called The Locker Split for the 2016 presidential election. We repeated that call Tuesday morning of the election.
Was The Locker Split right yesterday?
Obviously, (i) the Split applies only to the popular vote. The electoral college tabulation is altogether a different matter. (ii) Only the two major candidates are considered.
As we predicted, Hillary won the popular vote, 59,755,284 to 59,535,522. As of this moment, when rounded off, her 50.09% is slightly outside the acceptable plus-or-minus 2% range of The Locker Split. But to repeat, ALL 2016 VOTE TOTALS ARE NOT FINAL; absentee votes are still coming in. Given where they are located, Hillary´s percentage will improve, especially with 4 million absentee ballots from pro-Hillary California.
Conclusion: we must await more official returns to determine the accuracy of The Locker Split for 2016. (Note of December 4. Please see today´s update below.)
The Locker Split is accurate 90% of the time -- which means it misses 10% of the time. We will accept those odds any day, and without knowing who the candidates will be, we do not hesitate to re-issue our call made two days ago of the presidential election of 2020: 53%-47%.
To understand why The Locker Split works is to understand the essence of American politics. You would be shocked if you knew the correlation of socio-economic and political forces the Split reflects. You would see precious little in common with what you are being told day in day out by the politicians, mass media and academia.
I would write a book about The Locker Split were it not for one simple, cold reality: the primary beneficiary would be the oligarchy running and ruining America.
2. We will never stop arguing that the electoral college should be abolished and replaced by the direct popular vote for president.
In The Big Movida: The Third American Revolution available without cost on this web site, we explain how the college is, among other things, a holdover from slavery. It is innately anti-democratic and juridically unacceptable, i.e., because votes in certain states have more weight than in others, the college violates the one-man-one-vote principle. Candidates are fully aware of that greater weight, which is why in the closing weeks they spend more time and resources campaigning in certain states, e.g., Florida, than in others.
When it comes to the electoral college, is the constitution unconstitutional?
I am an accredited expert witness on politics in federal court. If you, dear reader, want to prepare a legal challenge to the college, I stand ready to assist you.
A constitutional amendment can abolish the electoral college. Do not expect Republicans to support it. By favoring narrow wins in small states over landslide victories in big ones, the college favors the GOP. A glance at the electoral map for 2016 confirms the Republican preeminence in smaller states.
In 2008, when President Obama had Democrat majorities in the house and senate, he could have done what most Americans (63%) want: introduce an amendment to close the college. Instead, he sat on his hands.
Ultimately, the responsibility for Hillary not being sworn in as president at noon, January 20, 2017, rests with one man alone. He is not who Hillary is currently blaming -- FBI Director James Comey.
That man is Barack Obama.
Otherwise stated: Donald Trump is Barack Obama´s legacy.
3. Much is being said about a white working class backlash. One CNN commentator even labelled the election a gigantic "whitelash" against a changing country and a Black president.
We are skeptical.
Trump´s 60 million vote total is surprising only in that there is nothing whatsoever surprising about it ...
In 2008, John McCain, the Republican presidential candidate, also received 60 million votes. No surprise either in 2012: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney received 61 million votes. It is difficult to reconcile those facts and figures with a surge of white racist sexist xenophobic deplorables.*
If the Republican vote stayed constant and predictable, the Democratic vote was anything but. In 2008, Barack Obama received 69 million votes; in 2012, 66 million. Hillary´s total of 60 million simply continued the downward trend.
130 million total votes cast in 2008, 126 million in 2012 -- to (PROVISIONALLY) 120 million in 2016. As noted, the Republican vote remained fairly constant, ergo the turnout decline took place almost entirely on the Democratic side.
In a word, Hillary failed to get potential voters for her to the polls. Why?
Our September 30 post ("How to Defeat Trump -- and How to Defeat Hillary") foresaw the principal cause of the low turnout for Hillary: voter ambivalence created by cognitive dissonance:
"All things considered, there is only one way Trump can shock the world and prove the polls wrong:
A low turnout.**
Our next post will discuss the Colombian peace accord referendum held last Sunday. All the public opinion polls showed the "Yes" vote winning in a runaway, often by doubt-digits.
Then came The Big Surprise. "No" carried the day.
How could the polls have been so wrong?
Answer: the turnout was a paltry 37%. The minority that showed up did not represent the majority that stayed away. Thus, the surveys were not wrong; they simply did not poll the right population in terms of real live voters.
Trump can significantly lower voter turnout by creating cognitive dissonance, i.e., mental stress resulting from holding ambivalent attitudes and contradictory ideas.
On the one hand Trump is a conman and brute; on the other, Hillary is a crook and can´t be trusted. Discomfort can be reduced by avoidance; in this case, by not voting.
There´s the good side; there´s the bad side. Somebody in Trump´s camp intuitively senses the value of ambiguity. They countered the damaging Trump sex tape not by denying it but by holding a press conference in which Trump presented women who said they were assaulted by Bill Clinton. Allegations that Trump is a sexist are met with charges that Hillary is a criminal for mishandling top secret documents."
In sum, when examined in the cold light of day, there is nothing mysterious about Trump´s victory. To achieve it, he needed help from Hillary, and he got it. By attacking Trump over and over instead of going positive with common sense projects and visionary goals she wished to accomplish as president, Hillary only reinforced the ambivalence and cognitive dissonance in play.*** Stated in terms frequently employed in the political campaign trade: she got sucked into a pissing contest.
More below on Hillary´s political tone-deafness and the resulting doomed campaign.
4. In addition to abolishing the electoral college, this blog strongly supports holding run-off elections when no candidate receives 50% plus one of the vote. (See our post of April 1, 2013 "Presidential Runoff Elections for America?"). Numerous countries around the world have two-round electoral systems; for a complete list, click here.
You read correctly:
Because neither candidate received 50% of the vote, a run-off election between Trump and Hillary should be held.
That issue, however, pales in significance to the following:
5. For the 2016 general election, the voting eligible population was 231,556.662. Trump´s 59,535,522 million votes = 25.7% of that population.
26%! With such a bottom-feeder number, any claim by Trump to "represent America" will be at best absurd, at worst an outright lie.
Next year, Trump will legally become the 45th president. However, he will lack the only thing which the oligarchy ruling America wants but lacks: legitimacy. It is also the only thing which we the people have the power to bestow or withhold.
Trump or Hillary? Oligarch I or Oligarch II? The lowest UNcommon denominator or a bureaucrat in search of a bureaucracy? This blog called for conscientious non-voting (March 21, 2016, "Why I Will Not Vote in 2016 -- And You Shouldn´t Either") as a means to avoid legitimatizing the illegitimate system that seized control of America in 2008-9.
Illegitimate? Clearly, an explanation is called for ...
Not surprisingly, our perspective is censored by the American media and academia. You will only find it here:
"The First American Revolution, 1776-1789, transformed the political system from a monarchy not into a democracy but rather a ´политей´ or polity, i.e., a middle class-moderated, oligarchy/democracy hybrid inclined toward democracy.
The Second American Revolution, 2008-2009, changed the polity into an oligarchy with democratic residues, accessories. That change was normal, predictable; Aristotle analyzed it 2000 years ago.
The Third American Revolution will resurrect the polity but with greater power for democracy, less for the oligarchy." (The Big Movida: The Third American Revolution).
26%! Someday, somebody will analyze us, the overwhelming 74% -majority of nonvoters and non-Trump voters to determine who we are, what we share, what we think, what we want. To be relevant and truthful, that analysis will need to go where no analysis in recent history has gone: the polity.
I am among the millions of Democrat voters who disappeared between 2008-2016. No Democratic party official or candidate has ever asked me why they are losing their audience.
We do not have to wait for an analysis, however, to know that together, last week, the 74%-majority of America shook the world.
Together, we deprived Donald Trump of legitimacy. Most Americans aren´t aware of the 26%-figure -- they don´t need to know it to smell the stink that illegitimacy leaves in the air. Its verbal expression is already reverberating outside in the streets:
Not My President.
Together, we 74%-majority left Trump with something he never imagined, much less will ever fathom: power without power.
Together, on November 8 we did what we could. In present, immediate terms, it was very little. But if The Third American Revolution comes to pass, the future will show something entirely different.
Together, we won.
Update: Wednesday, November 16. As we noted above, Hillary´s margin of victory over Trump in the popular vote continues to grow as absentee votes are counted. At the moment (9:37 am), her vote total is 61,782,016 to Trump´s 60,834,437. That is 50.39%, up from 50.09% reported earlier (see above).
Unless otherwise indicated, when we speak of turnout we are speaking in terms of actual voters relative to eligible voters. (Looking only at total votes cast, 2016 is shaping up to be more like 2012 than not.)
Actual votes for the two major candidates were 126 million in 2012 versus 123 million (to date) in 2016. The voting eligible population, however, during the same period rose from 222 million to 231 million.
Final official results of yesterday´s election will be available sometime before December 19, when the electoral college meets in state capitols throughout the nation and casts its ballots. For more on the mechanics of the college, click here.
Update: Tuesday, November 29. Hillary´s percentage of the vote continues to rise; it is presently 50.82%. Her current vote count is 64,469,963 to Trump´s 62,379,366. Comparing those figures to 2012: Trump has already bettered Romney´s vote of 60,933,504, whereas Hillary is behind Obama´s 65,519,795.
Update: Sunday, December 4. Vote for Hillary: 65,260,513. Vote for Trump: 62,693,993. Hillary received 51.0% of the vote.
The Locker Split was correct.
Why Hillary Lost
If Hillary´s strategy was simply to repeat Barack Obama´s 2012 vote count, she was gravely mistaken. True, she would have won Wisconsin and Michigan, but not Ohio or Pennsylvania. She also would have lost Florida. In brief, had she equaled Obama she would have picked up 26 electoral college votes -- not enough to defeat Trump.
In only one of the five swing states (Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida) did she win more votes than Obama in 2012: Florida. That finding is especially revealing in the light of the increase of 480,841 in the voting eligible population 2012-2016 in those five states. For Hillary, then, it was as though no increase whatsoever had taken place in the eligible voter pool.
Core conclusion: whether defined in terms of (i) Obama´s 2012 vote or (ii) the eligible voter pool, Hillary failed to get her potential voters to the polls in the swing states. In both respects, she performed on par in Florida. Her problem in The Sunshine State was simply that Trump performed even better.
We treat Florida separately because not only is Florida not a rust-belt case, Florida was icing on the cake for Trump; had he lost it he still would have had 277 electoral college votes, enough to win the presidency. To the contrary, if Trump had lost the four rust-belt states with their 64 electoral college votes, he would have lost the White House.
Corollory: Trump did not win the election as much as Hillary lost it. On the one hand; on the other: I suspect ambivalence was especially high among Bernie Sanders supporters. Their cognitive dissonance would have discouraged them from voting in the presidential general election.
Reinforcing my suspicion: Sanders defeated Clinton in Wisconsin and Michigan in the Democratic primaries.
Precinct analysis plus survey research would reveal if the lost Sanders base in the four swing rust-belt states is what cost Hillary the White House. That hypothesis is probative in that in those states the actual turnout for the presidential race declined from 2012 to 2016 by (to date) 336,204 votes. (Turnout in 2012: 18,515,350. Turnout in 2016: 18,179,146).
That decline, incidentally, runs contrary to the "whitelash" thesis.
There is always circulation in the voter pool. Turned off by Trump, did many long-standing Republicans stay home? If so, and if they were replaced by a surge of white working class voters, the overall 2012-2016 Republican vote total would stay the same, thus hiding the surge.
To get a preliminary idea, we reviewed vote patterns in the so-called rust belt states that switched from Obama to Trump, 2012 to 2016. Those states won the election for Trump. To be more precise, they lost the election for Hillary.
I repeat our warning: ALL 2016 VOTE TOTALS ARE NOT FINAL; absentee votes are still coming in.
1. Wisconsin. 3 million total turnout in 2012 v. 2.8 million in 2016. Romney and Trump both received 1.4 million votes. Obama in 2012 received 1.6 million (v. 1.4 million for Hillary).
As of the moment, this is an easy call: the Democratic drop-off 2012-2016 of 200,000 voters cost Hillary the state of Wisconsin.
Conclusion: there is no prima facie evidence of a white working class surge for Trump in Wisconsin.
2. Michigan. 4.7 million total turnout in 2012 v. 4.5 million in 2016. In 2012, Romney received 2.1 million votes versus 2.6 million for Obama. In 2016, Trump received 2.3 million v. 2.3 million for Hillary. (As of this moment, Trump is ahead by only 12,000 votes, which makes Michigan too close to call.)
It can be argued that (1) Trump´s total included a surge of 200,000 angry white working class people.
Keep in mind, however, that it is questionable that white racist working class people would have voted for Obama over Romney. Consequently, the drop from 2.6 million for Obama to 2.3 million for Hillary cannot be ascribed to such a switch. Keep in mind also that the total turnout dropped by 200,000 between 2012 and 2016; ergo, Trump´s narrow victory cannot be attributed to a sudden influx of new rural white working class racist voters.
A second explanation: (2) Hillary failed to turn her vote out to the tune of 300,000 people who voted for Obama.
A final conclusion about Michigan requires a detailed analysis of working class, middle class, upper class, Black, GOP, Democratic, rural, urban, white, Hispanic and other precincts; the final answer is to be found there. What is undeniable is that the disappearance of 300,000 Obama voters cost Hillary the state of Michigan.
3. Ohio. 5.3 million total votes were cast in 2012, v. 5.1 million in 2016. The drop in overall turnout we noted in Wisconsin and Michigan continued.
In 2012, Romney received 2.6 million votes v. 2.7 million for Obama.
In 2016, Trump received 2.8 million v. 2.3 million for Clinton.
Conclusion: see Michigan. Did the 200,000 increase for Trump in Ohio come out of the 400,000 Obama voters Hillary lost? To repeat, it is hard to see white racist working class people voting for Obama, so where did the Trump increase come from? Is there another, significant, non-white-non-racist-non-working-class sector in the Obama vote that switched to Trump?
Again, a precinct-by-precinct analysis is called for. One thing is already certain, however, and it is what we have already seen in Wisconsin in Michigan. Had Hillary simply duplicated Obama´s vote total in 2012, she would have won Ohio.
4. Pennsylvania. 5.5 million votes were cast in 2012 v. 5.1 million in 2016. The pattern of a drop in overall turnout prevailed. (NOTE of November 29: the total Pennsylvania vote for 2016 is now at 5.7 million, thus overturning the prior result).
In 2012, Romney received 2.6 million votes versus 3 million for Obama.
In 2016, Trump received 2.9 million v. 2.8 million for Hillary.
Conclusion: see Michigan and Ohio above. Pennsylvania is the only rust belt state in which Trump bettered Obama´s 2012 vote (but only by 5,000 votes).
A partial and provisional conclusion for all 4 rust belt states taken together:
(i) Total turnout down; (ii) vote for Trump up over Romney; (iii) vote for Hillary down from Obama.
The electoral shifts were not substantial, but they were enough to cost Hillary the presidency.
To the point: did white working class precincts (i) turn out significantly more in 2016 than in 2012, as well as (ii) vote for Trump in significantly greater numbers than for Romney? Those two findings together would support the "whitelash" hypothesis.
Or, did white working class precincts undergo, as did precincts elsewhere, no substantial increase in turnout? For that matter, were upper class GOP precincts turned off by Trump and experience a drop in turnout?
To repeat: to prove the existence of a "whitelash" requires a precinct analysis of all four rust belt states. Nonetheless, as of this writing the proverbial bottom line is in: Clinton lost all 4 states by 561,949 votes. That number will decrease as absentee votes come in. Already, however, it does not show a colossal tidal wave of working class white racists -- or anybody else -- in favor of Trump.
The truth seems to be too mundane for Washington and the mass media to grasp:
White working class people did not surge for Trump; rather, they simply did not vote for Hillary. Their presence does not account for Trump´s win; rather, their absence accounts for Hillary´s loss. Ditto young voters: they were disproportionately in favor Hillary, but did not turn out in sufficient numbers. Ditto middle class voters such as myself, who voted for Obama in 2008 -- actually, against Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin -- but did not vote in 2012 or 2016.
Finally, there is another explanation of the 2016 results: the presidential election was stolen. In certain states, the GOP is alleged to have (i) stripped minority ethnic groups and other Democratic base voters of their voter registrations, discouraged them from voting via distributing false information about precinct locations and by posing additional hurdles; and (ii) used computerized voting machines to flip votes from Clinton to Trump.
The possibility of corruption in the rust belt is probative and worth an investigation. I have never opposed any vote recount and will not do so now.
**Trump got the low voter turnout he needed. As I write these words, the 2016 turnout was the lowest in 20 years.
***In creating cognitive dissonance in order to lower turnout, I speak from decades of campaign experience.
To cite one election:
I worked for a Democrat running for governor. A large percentage of the Republican base vote was in the suburbs of a big city, hence, easy to locate geographically. As would be expected, that base was loaded with upper middle class college graduates -- doctors, engineers, lawyers, scientists.
Both my client and his Republican opponent -- a rancher who had earned his money the hard way: he married it -- had been state senators. I prepared a flier showing that, unlike my client, our rival had voted against state funding for education not once but three times.
We hand-distributed the flier to thousands of households in the Republican suburbs.
The objective was not to convert the Republican base vote -- an impossibility -- but to give it something extremely serious to ponder. On the one hand, on the other ... There´s the good side and the bad side ...
Our tactic worked -- the doctors, engineers, lawyers and scientists stayed home in droves. My client won the governorship by less than 3,000 votes.
Republican and Democratic base voters are demographically different. Consequently, things that create cognitive dissonance in one base do not necessarily create it in the other. Those things account for why, even though they were exposed to the same reports, rumors and messages in the mass media and the Internet, the Democratic base experienced greater ambivalence and shrank relative to the Republican base.
Hillary and her staff proved time and again to be politically tone-deaf to how ambiguity/ambivalence/cognitive dissonance reduce turnout. A noteworthy, perhaps decisive, incident:
FBI Director James Comey had conducted a year-long investigation of Hillary´s emails. Just before the Democrat Convention, he announced she was careless but not criminally liable. On the one hand; on the other sums up his conclusion. Then, weeks before the election, he announced new emails had appeared and that he was conducting a new investigation.
Comey´s second investigation was a textbook example of our 2015 observation about Hillary-type campaigns cited above: a switch pulled unexpectedly; the obstacle on the tracks ...
Hillary jumped for joy when, two days prior to the election, Comey announced he found no criminal activity in his new investigation.
On again; off again. I shook my head in disbelief: she just doesn´t get it ...
At issue was not Comey´s final all-clear announcement taken in isolation, but the overall context that announcement was part of and in fact reinforced. That context was inconsistency and contradiction, skepticism and uncertainty; in a word, ambiguity.
There´s the good side and the bad side. Tossed to and fro, riddled with ambivalent emotions, with contradictory ideas -- in toto, with mental stress -- millions of potential Hillary voters in the rust belt and across America said to hell with it and stayed home.