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Election 2016 Revisited

It’s been one year since Donald Trump made history with his stunning upset victory over Hillary Clinton. How did Trump, against all odds, make it to the White House? That is the question that Christopher Curran of the Cranston Herald attempts to answer in an insightful, and refreshingly objective article that is remarkably free from the partisan bias that has been so prevalent in post-election analysis and commentary.

Curran dismisses the knee-jerk reaction of some pundits who claim that the election was stolen from Hillary because of collusion between Trump and the Russians. While he addresses the reality of interference on social media, he correctly notes that Hillary was such a flawed candidate that any Russian attempts to assist Trump had a marginal impact — at best — on the outcome of the election:

The malevolent Russian government provably spread erroneous news about Clinton and other Democrats, but that factor had limited effect on the outcome of the election in my judgment. Readers who found credibility in Russian- generated posts on Instagram and Facebook would be too obtuse and gullible to cast a prudent vote on anything.

Curran also acknowledges, that while Clinton was more articulate than Trump, many voters found his unscripted, unadorned comments refreshing compared to the robotic and lawyerly mode of speech employed by Clinton. He notes that, “Hillary’s political tone deafness regarding her lawyerly delivery of tired regurgitated Democrat ideas were not at all exciting or believable. Whereas, even though most of what Trump’s said was diatribe and dribble, he was effective because of his eruptive style.”

The Clinton campaign was ecstatic when Trump became the Republican nominee because they believed Hillary would handily banish him and the Republican Party to the hinterland. Hillary vastly underestimated the level of animosity that would be created when Sanders supporters observed that the primary process was rigged from the start for Hillary. Some alienated Bernie Sanders’ supporters actually crossed over and voted for Trump as a means of expressing their displeasure with the DNC:

As a result, the backlash within the party faithful further promoted doubt about Clinton’s veracity, which was already tenuous. One could postulate that two normally Democrat leaning states, Florida and Pennsylvania, might have swung for Hillary. Since both states held a great many Sanders voters, Clinton could possibly be president now if she did not act so underhandedly and had won the nomination legitimately.

Indeed, with the publication of Donna Brazile’s new book, Hacks: The Insider Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House, which chronicles her time with the Clinton campaign, we now know for certain that the Clinton campaign, by agreement with party officials, took over and controlled the DNC. As for the political environment within the campaign, Brazile calls the arrogance and haughtiness that permeated much of the staff as a “cult.”

Lastly, Curran observes that there was an entire swath of the electorate that was disenchanted with the system because their quality of life had been declining steadily for years and they had lost all hope for a better life for their children. One of the reasons Trump made it to the White House is that he channeled the anger and frustration of these deplorables, embracing and articulating their frustration and contempt for political elites and incorporating these sentiments effectively at his numerous political rallies.

Curran contends the real lesson of the election is not the result itself, but the extent of disenchantment among a large segment of the electorate that was so great that it could create the conditions for buying into many of Trump’s far-fetched ideas, because for many people, no other politician from either political party had offered any plausible alternatives to halt their despondency.

Curran’s perspective of the election avoids the intellectual dishonesty that is so rampant among stunned and angry Hillary supporters who have no interest in a reality-based analysis of why she lost, what was supposed to be a coronation, to a vulgar and impulsive rank amateur.