Nearly 91% of all republican women and 90% of republican men voted for Trump. Think about it for a moment.
Foreign policy conservatives, -who for years, have supported our alliances such as NATO and harbor a deep skepticism about Russia's intentions against its neighbors, voted for someone who was sympathetic to strongmen such as Putin and Saddam.
Economic conservatives who espouse free trade almost as a religion voted for a failed businessman arguing for tearing up free trade agreements and promising to start a trade war with our partners.
|Trump has derided Trade agreements like NAFTA, TPP, etc.|
Think about it for a minute. How come, all these republicans voted for Trump? Because, Hillary Clinton had a private email server? I am not sure that was the case.
Throughout the election, it was evident - even to many republicans, that Hillary Clinton had the experience, preparation, and policy chops that would serve her well, if elected. For nearly 30 years, republicans had primed the American electorate to distrust her by launching one investigation after another, from Whitewater, to Benghazi, to Clinton Foundation, and the email servers. Although these investigations, often led by partisan republicans, did not reveal any wrongdoing on the part of Hillary Clinton that would merit prosecution, they did serve the one goal that republicans had in their mind all along -to drive up Hillary's negatives, which they did.
Her opponent, Donald Trump started his campaign by insulting Mexican immigrants, insulted his fellow republican primary opponents with petty name calling, insulted women, insulted a parent of a soldier who died in combat in service of his nation, proposed a blanket ban on Muslims entering the country, boasted about not paying taxes, and changed policy positions at the drop of a hat. This is but a small sample of his hateful rhetoric over the course of his campaign.
The differences between the candidates could not have been stark. I followed the arguments between the two candidates closely, checked on reputed pollsters such as Nate Silver and Sam Wang on almost a daily basis, and I convinced myself that Hillary Clinton will win. My conviction was not just based on polls and pollsters, but also in believing that the immediacy of a Trump presidency would jolt Americans to their senses. It is clear now that it was not the case.
I am sure many a thesis will be written about how and why Trump won. Hillary was a weak candidate; Trump was a master salesmen; It is difficult for a party to win three times in a row, etc. There will be a kernel of truth in each, but the big question in front of progressives is:
To understand the mindset of the republican voter, who is willing to faithfully cast his ballot even for a candidate like Trump.
Once that is understood, we can craft a message to reach them. Obviously, whatever that we have been doing is not working. Perhaps, the first place to start would be to read the book by George Lakoff, who addresses this issue head on. More on that in a later post.