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A Minority President Trump: Why the Polls Failed and What the Majority Can Do


A Minority President Trump: Why the Polls Failed and What the Majority Can Do

George Lakoff

1: The American Majority

Hillary Clinton won the majority of votes in this year’s presidential election.


"With Republicans controlling the Senate, the House, and the White House and enjoying a large margin of victory for California Governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger, it's clear that the Democratic Party is in crisis. George Lakoff, a UC Berkeley professor of linguistics and cognitive science, thinks he knows why. Conservatives have spent decades defining their ideas, carefully choosing the language with which to present them, and building an infrastructure to communicate them, says Lakoff."

"The work has paid off: by dictating the terms of national debate, conservatives have put progressives firmly on the defensive."

This Lakoff quote from 2003 tells the tale of an arrogance and failed Dem leadership (not "progressive", but machine Dem corporate big-money sell-outs) that ignored repeated signs and evidence of loss of the "debate" and issues - utter failure to build a strong actually "progressive", inclusive, base representing the 99%, not 1% - Corporate Dems sabotaged progressive leaders and issues and followed R'Cons to the right - the last two mid-term elections where the Clinton-Obama DLC "centrist" Dem Party got their plow cleaned showed their contempt for "just folks" and arrogance emulating R'Cons - an utter failure - predictably "they" didn't change anything after those defeats, just hunkered-down to another great loss backing HRC, the poster-child for arrogance and tone-deaf machine/corporate/banker politics - destroying an emerging progressive coalition led by Brnie Sanders.

The only good thing (perhaps) to come from this "election" is right-wing corporate/banker Dem power (hopefully) is finally smashed and gone, and a new leadership representative and inclusive may emerge. We will certainly see.......


How did he leave out football?

This science project deserves a "B" or "B+".


The polls didn't fail. The hacked black box voting machines did.


For me, the take away from this article is that we need to formulate progressive opinions in terms of what we are FOR, not what we are against. The Tea Party has used this construct very effectively. While Dems are beginning to (note HRCs 'stronger together') their actions have contradicted their words for decades, negating their legitimacy.

Recognizing and honoring the moral worldview held by both sides is the only way we will be able to come together to defeat the tyranny of the 1%.


In my personal view, the Republicans didn't win but rather the Democrats and their clueless, self serving, and power and greed driven club, the DNC, lost. Anyone that believes that the Democratic Party can be revived, i.e.brought back to life, is deceiving her/him self. Lakoff goes off to many tangents in this essay to have it clarify the reason for the Clinton failure.

In considering that Trump will be able, for at least 4 years, to despoil the US social and economic systems, he and his swamp will have to confront head on the chaos that near term global heating is to bring bring with it. Anyone who either denies, is distracted from, or doesn't understand the science behind AGW is in for a serious, empirical education within his/her individual worldview.


Actually, the in-house polls used by the Clinton camp were apparently fairly accurate and predicted a Trump win.


There is some value in Lakoff's appraisal of language and category that does not deserve to be cast aside with the limits of his political analysis.

He seems to imagine that by virtue of understanding the system in theory, he need not attend to the details of its impact on his own thinking. But it is quite true that all of us of any faction engage in this matter of framing. We impose our categories and then infer from relations of category; this is just part of how a human brain is built.

It means that it does matter what we call things. But breaking down the problems with that is not only a method related to polemic, but an imperfect safeguard within one's own faction with respect to one's own errors.

I think this is what Grandma framed as "perspective." I wished she had more of it. But then, I wish I had more of it too.


Not to criticize your opponent, and not to repeat his verbiage are things to remember from this article for me. Lakoff has made the same points many times before though, so it seems to be a hard point to get across.


I figured your post had to be satire at first with the Pizzagate comment, but then you drifted over to comments that are reasonable. If it was satire, your post didn't work, if you believe in Pizzagate, you should at least skim the Snopes.com article on the topic and stop trolling us.


Very interesting. A couple of points:

"Putin’s anti-American policies." What would those be exactly? Flying spy planes near our borders, maybe? Putting nuclear missiles near our border perhaps? Instigating neo-nazi-supported coups in neighboring countries, I suppose. Taking an interest in and even affecting the outcome of our elections, no doubt. (See previous point) Using his spying apparatus to eavesdrop on world leaders including his own allies, right. Rejoicing when a leader who was an enemy of terrorists got a knife up his ass, I see.

"he is using the presidency to make himself incredibly wealthy — just as Putin has." Other than hearing this repeatedly, (per your article) how do you know Putin has done this?

Would it interest you to know that the election was stolen....twice? Once by the Dems (Bernie) and once by the Repubs.


The assumption behind this article is that one can argue reasonably with a nazi. One can't.


I find Lakoff's information and suggestions to be creative and provocative - worth studying carefully. Of course the use of language affects what we automatically reject and accept. And, yes, each of us knows the power of the repeated message (advertising). Lakoff is challenging us to use our intelligence and heart to language our values associated with the "nurturant family" and expanding that frame to include the entire country and what we want for ourselves. He's pinching us to wake up to what makes advertisers so powerful so we can speak in value laden language aimed directly at the unconscious to advance our own progressive values. How would YOU frame progressive values to appeal to the hearts, minds, and especially the unconscious of our fellow citizens?


Trump is president as a result of our Electoral College system. Following each election, the party that loses vows to bring an end to this archaic system. However, it has been around for a very long time. In fact, the Electoral College is established by Article Two of the United States Constitution.

When it comes to votes, much of the country opposed both candidates, so their choice was to either vote third party or withhold their votes. 2016 (according to CNN) saw a record low voter turnout, with only some 55% of eligible voters voting. Much of the country concluded that regardless of who won this election, masses of us will lose.

Because of Trump, it could have been a banner year for Democrats, except for one problem. Understand that the Dem voting base had long consisted of the poor and middle class, for the common good. The Clinton wing split this base wide apart, and we've maintained our war on the poor for the past 20 years. Many saw Obama as the last possible chance to turn things around. We're more deeply divided by class and race than we were a decade ago, and then Democrats chose the most anti-poor pol available as their candidate.


"Hillary Clinton won the majority of votes in this year’s presidential election." NO, Hillary did not get a majority of the votes because she did not get more than 50% of the votes. She did get a plurality; she got more votes than any other candidate.

When this happens in all other democracies, there is a runoff election between the top two candidates. The winner of the runoff wins the election.

The polls did not fail. Hillary won the election by more than 1 million votes and the polls all showed her with a slight lead over The Donald.


My greatest surprise (and disappointment) in this whole election was the eagerness with which Dem supporters took up the neo-Cold War anti-Putin rhetoric. The Russians aren't coming.


You should rethink your notion that the Democrats are responsible for the election of The Donald.

The Donald is predicted to win in the Electoral College because a large number of rural states voted for The Donald and if you sum all of their electoral votes (it is winner take all; this means if The Donald gets one more vote than Hillary in a state, all the electoral votes go to The Donald), The Donald gets a majority in the Electoral College and is elected president..

The question you should be asking is why did all those people (primarily whites without college educations) vote for The Donald?

Apparently, they, like the lunatic left, hated Hillary. The Donald told them in the campaign that Hillary is a corrupt liar and that he would throw her into jail after he becomes president. This was music to their ears and they voted overwhelmingly for The Donald.

I live in Nebraska with two cities (Lincoln and Omaha) and a large number of rural counties. Lincoln and Omaha went for Hillary (barely) and those rural counties gave The Donald the biggest margin in the entire country.

But the joke is on them. On "60 Minutes" last Sunday, The Donald said that the Clintons are "good people." Today, he announced that he will not be investigating Hillary. This contradicts what he said in the campaign.

The Donald is a con-artist who tells people what they want to hear to get their votes. After he has been elected, he tells people what he really thinks. The Donald would make a great used-car salesman. Anybody who believes a used-car salesman is proof-positive that a fool and his money are soon parted.

Now we need to ask all those whites without college educations how they like being conned. Maybe if they get mad enough, they will march to Washington and tar and feather The Donald.


Tell that to the people in the Ukraine and the Crimea. Putin is trying to restore the old Soviet Union by retaking territory that was lost when the Soviet Union broke apart.

If you think Putin is a good guy, then you would probably have been one of those naive leftists who thought Stalin was a good guy while he was killing more people than Hitler killed.


The count at this time shows she received less than 48% of the votes cast for President. And some people showed up to vote and left the presidential race blank, so her percentage of ballots cast would have been smaller. But many of the votes she did receive were votes against Trump, so I'm not sure in what sense she "won" those votes. She certainly didn't earn or deserve them.

The current national popular vote shows she received 1,913,516 more votes than Trump, but her lead in NY and CA alone now stands at 5,240,738 votes. That means that for the other 48 states, Trump currently leads by 3,327,222 votes--larger than Clinton's national lead. I suspect this election is not going to convince a supermajority of states that we need to do away with the electoral college system.


Hey George, It was you who understood Trump was very smart. Now you rail that he lost the election. I know you are clever, but saying that is just dumb. Trump will defeat your efforts. Look who he defeated to get to the Presidency.
He defeated the Democrats He defeated the Clintons and the Bushes. He defeated all the pundits and comedians on radio news and tv. He defeated international condemnation, The Billionaires, like Soros, and Murdock etc. all the corporate interests, Hollywood celebrities and yes, the Republicans themselves. That is quite an achievement!!!