As a Republican, part of the reason I was pissed off at Trump was that he was throwing away an election that I thought any other Republican could have won. Instead, it was an election any Republican could win. Even one as deeply flawed as Trump.
Many Republicans weren’t enthusiastically on his side. Trump won with those groups by smaller margins than a Rubio, Kasich, Romney or even Cruz would have gotten. That said, there was one group of voters that loved Trump. Blue collar white voters saw in Trump the first candidate in a long time who seemed to legitimately like them.
The Morality of Trump’s Win
The Democratic party apparatus undeniably changed rules to be more favorable to Clinton, because they didn’t like Sanders. That was probably the right move because socialism is wrong, but it’s going to piss off the voters who disagreed with me on that.
Republicans went with the wishes of primary voters, even as an outsider was exploiting the system. I think the party should have put their finger on the scale against Trump, but this did ultimately work out for the party, who was able to for the most part avoid a fracture between Trump’s base and standard Republican voters, winning the White House, and maintaining control of Congress, in an year with a Supreme Court seat at stake. There is an argument that the Republican win was more moral, as the party apparatus did not go against the will of the people.
Democrats probably made the right call going with Tom Perez over Keith Ellison for head of the DNC.
Ellison did predict the possibility of a Trump win when others dismissed it, so he does have sharp insights, but I’m not sure he’s demonstrated major leadership yet.
There were pluses and minuses to picking him. He gives Democrats a prominent African-American surrogate, and as a Sanders supporter, can appease that part of the base. However, the identity politics angle that makes him appealing to many Democrats might turn off the people they need to win in 2018 and 2020. Ten Democratic Senators will be up for reelection in states Trump won (Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Wisconsin) and there are also quite a few open gubernatorial elections in states with reelected Republican Governors, which can matter for post-2020 census redistricting. The final result might have been the best of both worlds for Democrats. As Vice Chair, Ellison will have a higher profile and will be able to appeal to potential activists, but he won’t turn off voters elsewhere the way he would as the official face of the party.
Would Sanders Have Done Better?
The Ellison/ Perez fight was seen as proxy for Hillary Clinton versus Bernie Sanders, with plenty of Ellison supporters thinking Democrats need to be more like Bernie. We don’t know how Sanders would have done, since we haven’t had a General Election candidate like him.
It’s possible there would have been a stronger independent candidate in a race where both the Republican and Democrat were outsiders.
Some of the arguments in favor to Hillary wouldn’t apply with Sanders in the race. PJ O’Rourke, a conservative comedian, had said of Hillary Clinton in his reluctant endorsement “She’s wrong about absolutely everything, but she’s wrong within normal parameters.”
With Sanders, people might have been saying that of Trump. Yes, he might be seen as wrong on a lot of issues, but at least he’s a capitalist.
On the other hand, things could very well have been worse for Democrats without Bernie energizing some of the younger voters.
A Dumb Argument About Why Hillary Lost
There has been a claim in some citcles that Hillary’s loss was due to sexism since she was obviously so qualified. This strikes me as BS.
The most recent Presidents won by beating someone more qualified.
Obama beat a war hero who had been in the Senate five times longer than he had.
George W Bush was elected Governor two years into Al Gore’s tenure as Vice President.
Bill Clinton was the only person elected President whose sole qualification was being a small-state Governor, and he beat an incumbent President. If Hillary’s experience was so valuable, why did Democrats support Obama over her in 2008?