Disenchanted voters gave Dems harsh lesson

November 17, 2016

No matter who you voted for, the presidential election results are so staggering as to have us all bumping into walls with disbelief. It was remarkable enough that Donald Trump wiped out a deep and experienced field during the primaries and became the Republican nominee, but for him now to have gone all the way to President-elect seals the deal: It is without question the most remarkable political story in U.S. history.

Film director and progressive activist Michael Moore felt the tremors a couple of weeks or so before the election and expressed his concerns at about the same time the FBI decided to re-examine Secretary Hillary Clinton’s e-mail conundrum. At the time Mrs. Clinton held a substantial lead in the polls and had the liberal intelligentsia and a huge preponderance of the mainstream media squarely in her corner (including the AP, one of The Post and Courier’s principal news sources).

She was the darling of nearly all Washington insiders — some Republicans included. The fact that such “traditional” or “mainstream” Republicans and “conservative” syndicated columnists as former President George H. W. Bush, Gov. Mitt Romney, George Will, and David Brooks openly voiced their distaste for Trump only seemed to factor into Clinton’s broader support.

It was no surprise that the Hollywood and music entertainment elite nearly blindly endorsed Mrs. Clinton. With the exception of Fox News (Megyn Kelly notwithstanding), all major TV news outlets implicitly backed Mrs. Clinton in the context of their news reporting and explicitly so through direct editorializing, as did National Public Radio. Two of my favorite publications and two of the best and most influential of their kind in the whole world — The New York Times and The New Yorker — went into full-throated attack mode in the weeks leading up to the election with language that, in its own effete and pretentious way, pushed the offensiveness quotient to Trump-like heights.

Despite some of the problems with President Obama’s signature legislation (the Affordable Care Act) and other aspects of his legacy that would be perpetuated by Secretary Clinton, and despite her e-mail disaster, trust issues and so forth, an overwhelming majority of national polls projected her winning handily right up until Election Day. Right up, in fact, until the East Coast time zone voting precincts closed for the day. Does this not suggest an unbelievable bias even in the mundane world of obtaining polling data?

Mr. Moore recognized all these problems and in effect said as much. He knew his people in the industrial Rust Belt, comprising those crucial states in the upper Midwest that form the impregnable Democrat “firewall.” He knew they felt as though they were suffering, that no one seemed to care, that no one was listening, that everyone had forgotten about them, and that such disenchantment might end up costing the election. Not passively, mind you, but with a collective extension of the middle finger to all of the Washington establishment, to all the limousine liberals whose words and actions don’t jibe, to all of the media bias, all of the insular and brain-dead Hollywood and music industry political scientists, all the bogus pollsters, everything and everybody.

And that’s pretty much what happened, leaving, of course, what the Electoral College wished for: President-elect Donald J. Trump, a man who has never held any type of public office. Incredible, isn’t it? Both he and Secretary Clinton gave gracious and heartfelt speeches after the fact in what were meant to be healing and unifying remarks for a fractured country.

The New Yorker’s David Remnick wasn’t so magnanimous, calling Trump’s victory “An American Tragedy…a tragedy for the Constitution, and a triumph for the forces, at home and abroad, of nativism, authoritarianism, misogyny, and racism…,” and it goes on and on. At one point he adds, tellingly, “Liberals will be admonished as smug, disconnected from suffering, as if so many Democratic voters were unacquainted with poverty struggle, and misfortune. There is no reason to believe this palaver…”

That may be true, Mr. Remnick. But, as Mr. Moore suggests, there were apparently enough who did on Election Day to have turned the outcome. And that’s one of the major problems the Democrats are going to have to work on over the next four years.

Edward M. Gilbreth is a Charleston physician. Reach him at edwardgilbreth@ comcast.net.