So that happened. I thought it would be a landslide repudiating Trump. I thought there was no way Wisconsin was in play. I thought the Trump enablers would be forever tarnished by his candidacy. Looks like they will instead be in a presidential cabinet. What does this mean? What are the lessons? Here is my sleepy take.
Our polling techniques are out-of-date. This one is fairly obvious and benign, but clearly the dominant models fail in times of chaos and change. This is a common problem with analytics, and a reminder that sophisticated data and techniques have limitations.
Democrats have to do better. Look what happened when a new generation, i.e. Obama, ran. It was odd to go back to Clinton in my opinion. It will be fascinating to see the next generation of Democrats rise.
This was not a liberal/conservative thing. I look at Wisconsin where almost every school referenda passed. I look at the many Obama/Trump voters that must exist here in the Great Lakes region. There is not an ideological coherence to Trump, but instead an effective appeal to frustrated voters. Class, race, education, lifestyle, fear, etc. These are the things that mattered.
Wisconsin’s principled conservative revolution is over. Governor Walker’s cheery message to president-elect Trump, Trump’s support from Ron Johnson, Mike Gallagher, Alberta Darling, and yes even Paul Ryan. This tells me the R next to someone’s name now matters more to the architects of Wisconsin’s conservative revolution than a candidate’s adherence to conservative principles.
On a personal note, I am saddened this morning. Friends of mine who supported Trump make the logical argument that a disruptive presence can be a force for refreshing our stale politics. Perhaps it is a pressure valve moment where the too often-ignored problems facing many Americans surfaced. But I see a successful appeal to division and fear, to a belief that some Americans are more American than others, and to disengagement from the world. It is troubling to me on so many levels. But I respect the outcome, and I respect every voter’s right to cast their ballot as they see fit. We will survive. Our government is so much more than our president, and I for one have faith in and respect for our institutions, our public employees, and the many paradoxes that define our American experiment.