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Why Trump Won: Pundits and Press Still Missing the Big Picture


Why Trump Won: Pundits and Press Still Missing the Big Picture

John Atcheson

CNN’s Fareek Zakaria’s recent explanation for why Trump won has been getting a lot of play. It’s similar to explanations most of the other pundits have been pushing for some time now, and it sets up the Democrats in general and progressives in particular for more loses in the future.

The conventional take on Trump’s victory


I don’t think there is any easy explanation. This was a unique election because one of the two candidates was clearly unqualified to be president in both knowledge and temperament. Trump also represented a clear threat to both human health and survival of the country. He made very concerning statements about using nuclear weapons suggesting he might use them. He denied climate change and probably most voters know that climate change is an existential threat. And he advocated doing away with EPA which protects us from toxins and carcinogens in the environment. So, there has be more going on here than people feeling the system has abandoned them. How can you stay home when someone as threatening and unqualified is running. If the threat of Trump doesn’t get you out to vote what will? Apparently many people are unable to make the obvious connection between politics and their lives, or they feel what does a single vote matter when millions of people are voting and choose to stay home because they cannot see how their vote can make a difference.


Because the Dems offered no real alternative, all Trump had to say was “What have you got to lose?”

In my opinion, The Dems should have stepped up with a real answer to 40 years of stagnant wages, by following Warren Buffett’s lead and proposing a “big-time” increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Newly elected U.S. Rep Ro Khanna is proposing a $1 Trillion increase in the EITC. Why can’t we coalesce around Rep. Khanna?


That theory doesn’t explain voters choosing “none of the above” for president, or voting for down ballot offices and leaving the top of the ticket blank.


Trump won because hand counted paper ballots were not used.

Both sides of the Duopoly were engaged in numerous illegal tricks, such as voter purges, voter suppression, and hacked voting machines just to name a few.

American voters seem content to vote for corrupt, corporate criminals posing as politicians in the Republican and Democrat parties.

I really do not see enough of them gaining enough intelligence to cease what they are doing by voting for the corporate parties, and stopping the madness of this totally unrepresentative form of rule.

American voters love to be in a “US against Them” game.

This however is not a game.

I prefer a “US and Them” scenario where sane groups and individuals find common ground and legislate for the common good.

Perhaps in my next lifetime.


Bullshit! People DO make “the obvious connection” between politics and their lives. “The obvious connection” is that voting has meant shit to our lives, so most people don’t vote. Atcheson is right.

You are a shameless toady for the DNC and the Clinton campaign, and you post here for hours a day on their behalf. Like them, you will think and say ANYTHING… except the obvious truth, which Atcheson states: The winning strategy is to push POPULAR, PROGRESSIVE PROGRAMS (not fake neoliberal sloganeering and corporate sell-out, but REAL, like universal health care that cuts out the looting profiteers who fund the Clintons of the world).

Go eat your own arm, you shameless ugliness.


Precise! and right on the mark.


Think not just about paper ballots, but also dump the winner-take-all plurality voting (which strongly degenerates to duopoly) that is standard and generally unquestioned in the USA.

With Rank Choice Voting, Approval Voting, or Score Voting, there are no more “wasted vote” or “lesser evil” or “third party spoiler” blame-games. Your vote is not black/white either/or, you vote for who you actually want AND your vote is never “wasted.”

Your vote is not limited to just expressing a single opinion about one candidate, but you weigh in on EVERY candidate on the ballot, whether in your order of preference (rank choice voting) or yes-no (approval voting) or on a scale (score voting). Look into it.


“Most pundits see it something like this: The Democrats lost because Trump appealed to the angry white voter, and he used a demagogic mixture of xenophobia, racism, fear and hate to accomplish this.”

While pundits are often way off in this case I think the got it right. Most academics that I have also have the same view. I understand this does does jive with the democratic socialist message and people on the left are trying to make the argument that Trump won because of neglect of people’s economic situation. I agree that played a role but I am going with the pundits on this one. An analysis of Google search data which is probably the most honest data that is available, since people often lie on surveys, showed a good correlation between areas Trump was strong in and searches for the N-word (and rap ;lyrics were accounted for because in rap the N-word usually ends in the letter “a”).

I care about the Democrat Party. So do millions of people. I would like to see it more united to take on the Republcans next year…


This is one of the most insightful things I’ve ever read here.


The voters are to the left of both legacy parties on most policy prescriptions for what ails this country.
Atcheson is absolutely right in his analysis. The Dims are so addicted to bad money and offending their paymasters, it is shocking to behold.
The Clintonistas need to go, yet the MSM keeps bringing these talking head zombies back, to comment on the MENA, Russiagate, Venezuela, N. Korea, Healthcare, Char’ville, etc. CNN & MSNBC are the worst offenders, no doubt. They’re trying to subvert progressive movements, stifle needed conversations about the utter failures of Neo-Con foreign policy, the disaster of Neo-liberal economic indifference to 90% of Americans, etc.
It is really time to think about creating a national network to compete against them. Something akin to an Independent News Network where progressive issues are thoroughly explored and objectively vetted. Not strangled in the crib by the likes of the owners of Cable News & their overpayed millionaire lackey chattering chipmunks.


John Atcheson:

"In reality, the solution is to get a greater share of the 40 percent who have essentially dropped out of politics to show up.

This disaffection was a result of a long-term trend engineered by a “Silent Coup” four decades in the making, designed to transfer power from the people to the Oligarchy."


Now we’re getting there - I agree John Atcheson - Thomas Piketty’s magnificent book is in large measure a reason I am so sure of this - and I imagine you too ?


As John is big on climate change - this is new - and supplies another worse than thought moment.

The West Antarctic Ice Sheet is the most vulnerable in the world - it is undergoing what is known as a marine instability, thinning from both top and bottom with a worst case grounding line retreat - and now this - -WAIS can now claim to be the world’s most concentrated region of volcanism, more so than even the East African Rift Zone - it is becoming abundantly and frightening clear why this maritime ice sheet has de-stabilized so quickly multiple times in the past.


This is very good, I agree. There are some very wise folks who know what needs to be talked about, but they’re " too progressive " for the MSM.
I wish Sanders & Warren would go after the MSM, from a progressive perspective, like Trump does from the right. They’re really horrible, imo.


Atcheson is right, ie, he sees it the way I see it!–Over forty percent of eligible(?) registered(?) voters did not vote for prez–This is the constituency the Demos need to appeal to, but I don’t believe the Demos can take advantage of 20118 and we’ll likely see things stay the same or worsen–Turnout is how Obama was elected and reelected, not appealing to angry white unemployed people–Turnout, my friends, is how the Demos win, why else would Repubs be so obsessed about voter suppression?


What Webwalk said. Lrx, I imagine you (along with the rest of the DNC) plugging your ears and chanting “La, la, la, la, I can’t hear you!” “We WILL win next time! And we don’t need to listen to anybody about anything! La, la, la, la, la, la.”

Atcheson is Right On.


As one who hasn’t QUITE dropped out – I still vote for local- and state-level candidates and propositions – the above hits the nail squarely on its head so far a I am concerned.  Unlike Nevada, California doesn’t have “None of the Above” on its ballots, so I wrote in “Bernie & Beth” at the top of my ballots in both 2012 and 2016.  I pre­sume that I’ll have to do something similar in 2020, if I’m still around.  And that’s assuming we will even HAVE an election in 2020, or even in 2018 the way things are going . . .

The clear answer is that BOTH candidates were perceived as ethically unqualified, thoroughly dishonest and untrustworthy, but the bigger liar at least promised to change a deplorably corrupt system with which the est­ablishment candidate was closely associated.  Also – as noted above – he ran a campaign that was decidedly populist in many respects. This, combined with the outmoded ‘electoral college’ system, was enough to decide the election.

IMHO, Atcheson is absolutely correct in stating that the DamnocRats have abandoned the middle class, and until and unless (fat chance!) they perform a very public housecleaning by purging DWS, Podesta, Schumer and their fellow-travelers, the RePooplicans will likely retain control of at least Congress, and maybe the White House, through at least 2022.   I’ll probably support a few of the more progressive DamnocRatic candidates in 2018, but will not donate one thin dime to the DNC, DSCC, or the party itself.


Ultimately, I don’t think Trump “won” the election - Hillary lost it.

1. Voter turnout was low. More Democrats stayed home than Republicans because Hillary didn’t give voters anything to vote for. Her primary message was “It’s my turn, and Trump is a jerk.” She was right on the second part, but most people want to vote for something, not just against something.

2. She was every bit as much a candidate of Wall Street as Trump, or even more so. Look at her record, look at her donors. While Trump is the billionaire (as opposed to just a multimillionaire like her), Wall Street has always been more connected to the moneymen (and women) than Trump.

3. She was the anti-populist. Central to her strategy was distancing herself from Bernie and the populists behind him. Her strategy throughout the primary campaign was to dampen down and stop the populist wing. Is it any wonder that they chose in many cases to either stay home or vote Green? Trump, on the other hand in his own way tapped into the emotions of populism on the right.

Hillary lost through hubris. Trump was the lucky opponent who got to play opposite the worst Democratic candidate since Mike Dukakis. Message to the Democrats - find a candidate that people can be for don’t just count on disgust for the the other candidate.


And who did Clinton appeal to? No one, very successfully. Because her message was weak, weak tea!

If you were sincere about that, you would be fighting hard for a strong left populist platform. But since you are a corporatist DNC toady, you are here fighting like hell for weak, weak tea.


I’m reluctant to pile on, as others have already addressed some of the weak points of your post. But you really just don’t want to “get it”, do you? The author is spot-on the money but you either fail to read or comprehend; or perhaps you just refuse to consider what every fact and every statistic scream out. It was abundantly clear even before the election, to many of us. I wrote a letter to the DNC in May 2016, and again a month later,

An excerpt from the 2nd of my letters:

What I fear, and what must be apparent to many, is that the massive appeal generated by Sanders, which would draw a sweeping majority of voters from both Party and independent ranks, will be scuttled; replaced by apathy and even antipathy if Clinton is the nominee. This severe drop-off in both enthusiasm and turnout is the scenario in which I fear Trump will take the White House and Democrats in Congress will not only lose the chance to gain seats, but may lose even more because of attendant hostility to the Party.

There is thus both a wonderful opportunity and a serious threat. Now I expect that many of you in the DNC will say it’s not your call; it’s the democratic process at work; but we all know that isn’t exactly the case, especially given the role of super-delegates; as well as the substantial advantages the Party leadership has already conveyed to Ms. Clinton.

If the Democratic Party leadership does not seize on the opportunity created by the G.O.P. disarray, and instead of choosing a candidate who can clearly build new vitality in the Party, backs a candidate as vulnerable as Ms. Clinton, rightly or wrongly you will each bear the brunt of the blame. And you will have done lasting damage to the Party of which I’ve been part for my entire voting life.

Please don’t make that unnecessary and highly risky gamble; it is one we are all likely to regret.

That you and other Democrats refuse to understand how we got to Trump is deeply disturbing, for it portends a dismal future for my former party. You have apparently learned nothing, and will therefore continue to blow every opportunity to repair the damages. Apparently you’re content that the Party now represents such a small percentage of eligible voters.


Yeah, and a lot of folks felt that Clinton, in her own way was as much of a threat - you are making the routine argument for LOTE voting and folks, believing that TINA to the D/Rs, said “a pox on both their houses”… I distinctly remember on election day, sitting outside my local polling station with my Stein poster - a woman walking past on her way in to vote saying “I still haven’t made up my mind”, sounding clearly consternated, and i said - “Here’s someone you can vote for”, pointing to my sign, “a good candidate!” I don’t know how she voted but it’s pretty clear that most folks feel that indeed, TINA to D/Rs - they don’t like either, so they vote LOTE, whoever they conceive that to be, or just stay home … they don’t know there are other choices and our press, both “mainstream” and “prog” seems to be quite content to keep it that way …