Wednesday, November 09, 2016
Winners and losers from the 2016 election
For the first time in 64 years, the voters selected someone who had never been in politics, and unlike Dwight D. Eisenhower, Donald Trump did not even have the benefit of a stellar military career to recommend him for the job.
All he had was name recognition, an unerring instinct for drawing attention to himself, and perfect timing.
Trump made his decision to run at a time when social media, to a large extent, was replacing traditional media as the way to reach millions of people.
In other words, a strong ground game, the primary compliment that everyone paid to the Hillary Clinton campaign, did not mean as much in a society where people are instantly connected through Twitter, Facebook, and SnapChat.
The loss of the heavily favored Clinton was reminiscent of Patrick O'Connor's great book about Boston politics, The Last Hurrah, in which an aging mayor runs one last campaign. The mayor is easily the best qualified for the job, but he has a well-deserved reputation for not always operating on the right side of the law.
As Hillary Clinton fell victim to the new force in politics, social media, The Last Hurrah's mayor, Frank Skeffington, who had a strong ground game, was unable to overcome the new force in politics during that decade- television.
In other words, when you don't adjust to the new reality, it will come back to bite you.
Some winners and losers from today's state and presidential elections:
Donald Trump- Obviously. He beat a large group of Republican candidates, nearly all of whom had better political pedigrees than his. He latched onto a populist wave and knew far better than many of those in his party who criticized him what the hot button issues were that meant something to his potential voters.
The Missouri Republican Party- I am not quite ready to write an obituary for Missouri Democrats, but tonight should give the party a reason to do some serious self-evaluation. Jason Kander was the bright light of the party and he was beaten by Roy Blunt (at this writing, Blunt is three percentage points ahead with only a few precincts left to be counted) Chris Koster, the strongest and best known of the statewide candidates, didn't come anywhere near another Trump-like non-politician vowing to swoop in and save us from career politicians, Eric Greitens.
David Humphreys- The Joplin businessman and members of his family contributed millions in an effort to implement so-called right to work legislation in Missouri. With the election of Greitens to go along with wide Republican majorities in both the House and the Senate, Missouri seems destined to finally become a right to work state.
Elizabeth Warren- If Trump's first term is a nightmare, this could be our first female president and she does not have the baggage Hillary Clinton has. Clinton's loss and an electorate that has clearly had its fill of Clintons open the door for a progressive. populist candidate and Bernie Sanders will be 78 years old in 2020.
Fox News- It seems surprising in a year that has seen Roger Ailes depart as Fox News CEO under a cloud of sexual harassment charges and the most fawning interviews you have ever seen with Donald Trump from both the morning show Fox and Friends and the insufferable Sean Hannity., but Fox will come out a winner. Megyn Kelly was the early media star of the campaign because she was the first reporter to really challenge Trump, with a tough, but fair (and balanced) question and continued to build her brand name throughout the election season. Chris Wallace also offered the best performance of any of the moderators during the debates. What really puts Fox News in the winners category, however, is the election of Trump. If anyone thinks Sean Hannity is not going to get some kind of job in the Trump Administration, you haven't been watching him. And if Hannity leaves Fox News, that moves FNC into the winners' circle.
Las Vegas- Billy Long has to celebrate somewhere.
Mark Halperin- Halperin, the Bloomberg News political editor, the co-author of the great political book Game Change, about the 2008 presidential election, was one of the few non-Fox News pundits who did not declare a Hillary Clinton victory weeks ago. While Halperin expected Clinton to win, he outlined paths that Trump could take to victory, including the Rust Belt approach that proved successful. (And if you have never read Game Change, and you are interested in politics, find a copy. He and Jon Heilmann explain why Hillary Clinton lost to Barack Obama and much of it reveals the same flaws that led to her loss to Donald Trump. The book also reveals a human, sympathetic look at Sarah Palin and if you did not already despise him, it proves just what a horrible human being John Edwards is.)
KellyAnne Conway- The Trump campaign manager's stock was sky high even if he lost, Now she can write her own ticket.
Deplorables- They have moved into the mainstream.
The Democratic Party- The WikiLeaks documents showed how Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the party big wigs stacked the deck against Bernie Sanders in this, the one year in which a socialist could have been elected president of the United States. Sanders was riding the same populist wave as Trump, but with far more humanity and far less baggage. The Democrats were so intent on anointing Hillary Clinton that they ended up nominating the one candidate who could lose to Donald Trump.
Hillary Clinton- "I was wrong. Here are my e-mails." That would have gone a long way if she had done that many months ago. It still might not have been enough.
Claire McCaskill- McCaskill seemed to be a sure bet to be appointed to a position in a Clinton Administration. In two years, she faces re-election and she is not going to be able to handpick a Todd Akin this time around.
Public Education- The election of Eric Greitens as governor poses a true threat to Missouri public education. As revealed in the October 8 Turner Report, Greitens accepted more than $700,000 from opponents of public education and proponents of charter schools.
Unions- All of the millions the unions spent could not get Chris Koster elected and that means right to work is a virtual lock.
Political Dynasties- The Clintons and the Carnahans both took a hit today.
The Media- I was not pulling for Donald Trump, but I was irritated to death hearing reporters continue to ask his surrogates questions about whether he was going to concede if he loses. It is that kind of useless question thar irritates people so much about the media. The media also never seemed to understand that Donald Trump could win the election and it colored a lot of the coverage. The election of Trump spells the beginning of a war between the president and the media. Actually, that should just mean business as usual.