How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution
Long ago, the workmen -- and yes, they were in all likelihood men -- removed the phony glass shards encased near the top of
Madison Square Garden's Javitts Center's ceiling that were to cascade down on Hillary R. Clinton's (D) supporters when she triumphantly was to announce her breaking that invisible glass ceiling against women by winning the US presidency. But to the (still) shock and amazement and even horror of (almost) everyone, Clinton lost. And Donald Trump (R) won. (Let's get this out of the way now -- yes, yes she won a majority plurality of the popular vote but it is the Electoral College that counts.)
But not everyone was shocked. Trump wasn't. OK, that's his super confident personality -- winning. And Larry Schweikart, a history professor at the University of Dayton and skilled amateur pollster and analyst along with his Renegade Deplorable Gurus, and Joel Pollak, senior editor and counsel at Breitbart News, weren't either. In their book, out this week, they explain what happened, how it happened and why it happened.
In the thousands upon thousands of articles analyzing the unexpected (to some) election results, the blame (and the attitude is usually blame) is placed on sexism. Or other bigotry. Or narrow minded nationalism. Or populism. Or the Russians doing whatever Russians need to do to change the American vote. Or voter suppression. Or the FBI's James Comey. Or voter fraud. (Well, yes, there was that as Clinton's popular vote winning majority came mainly from sanctuary state California with its many illegal alien resident voters with more thrown in from notoriously vote fixing Democratic run cities including Hillary's native Illinois, but that doesn't count as it was for a good cause.) Or some combination of these and maybe other minor factors.
Schweikart and Pollak have a different answer. "Trump stood for Americans who had been ignored by government...someone was listening." In Trump there was an "historic opportunity for people to take their government -- and their own destiny -- out of the control of a corrupt elite and into their own hands." And so they did. Former Democrats, people who hadn't voted in past elections because no candidate appealed to them, "shy" voters who couldn't/wouldn't admit to themselves, let alone pollsters, their attraction to Trump, proud Americans of all backgrounds, white women, including the college educated, blue collar workers of all ages who had been left behind by the changing economy and technology, small/ medium town residents who had seen jobs leaving their areas and/or had been falling financially over the past few years, even a respectable number of minorities all turned out and voted for Donald J. Trump. And Schweikart's polls caught these voters when other, more respectable, but perhaps more biased didn't.
Well, maybe Clinton's adviser Jake Sullivan understood, late in the campaign, what was happening; telling Hillary to broaden her campaign and reach out more to these voters. But she didn't until it was too late. Perhaps faintly sensing a loss a few days before the election, she cancelled the celebratory fireworks that were to accompany her victory.
Schweikart and Pollak speak with authority because they were there. In alternating chapters based on their diaries and reports, they relate the background, the history, the changes and the sounds and sights of the campaign as it was happening. Schweikart had been following the race for the Republican presidential nomination since the early candidate announcements and was one of the few who immediately believed that Donald Trump could not only win the Republican nomination for president against more experienced political candidates but the presidency itself.
Pollak joined the press tour following Trump in the campaign's final months. Often the only Republican reporter on the plane and bus, he sometimes struggled to keep up with the decades older Trump as he appeared at rally after rally, often several a day, mainly in the battleground states and the states Trump thought he could flip to him. Thanks to Kellyanne Conway, from working class New Jersey, who did break a mythical glass ceiling as the first female successful campaign manager when she was hired in August, Trump improved his messaging. At each rally Trump delivered the same message, tweaked with local references, on making America great again. Build the wall. Jobs in America for American workers. And of course, corrupt Hillary. And everywhere the large crowds enthusiastically responded. Initially pessimistic about Trump's chances, Pollak gradually, slowly became more hopeful as he saw how Trump's message resonated so deeply with so many.
There will be other books, other analyses of the "most astounding election in American history" according to Schweikart, over the years. Some might uncover new information not mentioned here. Others will dig even deeper into the data maybe drawing different conclusions or adding more depth or meaning. But this book, with its solid core information and insights, is a good place to begin to understand the election bringing about what is sure to be a turning point in American history.
(Full disclosure: I was a volunteer for Joel Pollak's losing Congressional campaign in 2010.)