There’s an interesting scene in Faulty Towers – a classic BBC sitcom – where Basil, a jackass to the core, discovers that his hotel is about to play host to a German family and he is not to mention the war. Cue Basil capering around like a … well, like a capering jackass. The entire episode ends with the German wondering, sadly, “however did they win?”
Over the last week, the question has been asked time and time again. How did Donald Trump win? And the answers range from embarrassed to condescending. American voters, we have been told, are too stupid to understand their own best interests. No, American voters are racist sexist bigots too thick-headed to appreciate what Hillary Clinton and the Democrats have done to them. It was the FBI’s fault! No, it was Obama’s fault! Trump won because Americans are scared of strong women. And so on and so on.
And let’s face it. Most of these answers are utter nonsense.
With that in mind, why did Trump win?
First, Hillary Clinton was an appallingly bad candidate. Quite apart from the reasons I discussed earlier, Hillary was a very poor choice. She stole the nomination, she was the establishment candidate, she had the media and Hollywood stars on her side, she was openly contemptuous of the ‘deplorables’, she was allowed to get away with some very serious offences, the idea that she was the ‘feminist’ candidate is laughable … she was, in short, utterly unlikable. Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump everywhere except where it mattered.
In short, given an election they should have won easily, the Democrats messed up.
Second, Donald Trump was not actually a bad candidate. His political instincts were far superior to his opponents. He won the nomination battle fairly (unlike Clinton) and commanded respect, if not liking, from many other Republicans. He put his finger on many problems facing the country (something Hillary could not or would not do) and promised to do something about them. And the media loathed him, which actually worked in his favour – the voters had heard too much crap about successive GOP candidates to believe the latest volley of absurdities from the media.
In short, Trump had a whole series of advantages that played nicely against Hillary’s weaknesses.
Third, and perhaps most important, Americans are fed up.
I’ve mentioned many – many – of the reasons before. Political correctness, government overreach, lawlessness on the streets, illegal immigration … Donald Trump was the ‘hope and change’ candidate in a year where the entire country was crying out for a change. What could Hillary offer that compared to that?
The underlying cause, I suspect, was the left’s focus on identity politics. To them, looking for ways to put people in neat little boxes, everything from the colour of your skin and your sexual identity was more important than your character. Their goal was, effectively, divide and rule. But, as I mentioned earlier, this approach suffered from two significant problems that were literally insurmountable. On one hand, the Left needed to balance the competing demands of different identities, somehow trying to be all things to all men; on the other, as various identities became mainstream, the Left would lose its grip on them. The horrified reaction – and the naked racism/sexism – hurled at black or female republicans is a reflection of the Left seeing its own doom. If minority groups can succeed without the Left, then how is the Left to survive?
The result was inevitable. Straight white men, seeing themselves (rightly or wrongly) increasingly marginalised in their own country, were not going to vote for Hillary. But many black Americans, looking at the legacy of Barrack Obama, also regarded Hillary with suspicion and contempt. Women, too, had good reason to feel that Hillary was not a feminist icon. Hispanics who fought hard to earn the right to live in the United States weren’t keen on simply granting citizenship to every illegal who crossed the Rio Grande. And homosexuals, reeling after Orlando, realised that Hillary was not going to defend them. She couldn’t even bring herself to point the finger at terrorists!
Hillary Clinton – and the vast majority of her supporters – are isolated from the realities facing ordinary Americans, whatever their colour and creed. What does a woman like her truly have in common with a single mother working two jobs, knowing that taking a day off will bury her under crippling debts? What does a young black man have in common with Obama? Or what does a young man or woman have in common with a Hollywood actress who pledged to leave the country if Trump was elected? Or …
I could go on, but why bother?
Donald Trump was elected because Americans were desperately crying out for a change. He was the only person who stood up and pointed his finger at the problem. And that great mass of frustrated and angry people, feeling that there was no escape from the growing power of the federal bureaucracy, heard his call.
And so they made him President.
This may or may not be a good result. We won’t know until after the first couple of years of President Trump. But it was predictable. I predicted it …
… So why didn’t the media?