Political earthquake: Why the wonk lost and the bully won | Guest column

By Charles Mish

Special to The Weekly

On election night, millions were stunned. How could such an experienced, eminently qualified candidate endorsed not only by the liberal but also by much of the conservative press lose to “the most unstable, proudly uninformed, psychologically unfit president ever to enter the White House” (Dorothy Rabinowitz, Wall Street Journal)?

As reported in the Islands Weekly, Pulitzer -winning journalist Hedrick Smith said in his speech on Orcas that what sparked the biggest populist backlash against the elite since 1826 was not racism nor ideology, but inequality.

As New York Times columnist Eduardo Porter points out, less educated whites who lost their well-paying factory jobs feel left out of the economic recovery.

Over the last nine years, while Hispanics added three million jobs; Asians, 1.5 million; and blacks three million; whites lost 6.5 million jobs.

Bottom line: less -educated whites in rural areas and small towns had a solid economic motivation to turn out in droves for a change candidate.

But let’s be clear – this was not a landslide victory for Trump. And Clinton was not a weak candidate. A weak candidate does not win all three presidential debates and nearly three million more votes than her opponent.

Had the tight races in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania edged toward Hillary, she would have picked up 46 electoral votes and won the election. Trump’s combined margin of victory in the three states: 72,000 votes.

Actually, Trump won no more votes than Romney in his loss to Obama in 2012. The difference in this election, Smith said, was the 6 million no-show, former Obama voters.

But many voters were blocked from voting by strict new voting laws in Republican-run states. In Wisconsin, where Trump won by 22,000 votes, 300,000 voters were turned away at the polls.

In Michigan, however, where Trump won by 10,000 votes, 94,000 voters voted Democratic down the line but left the top of the ticket blank.

What soured them on Hillary? In addition to a vicious smear campaign, Hillary took a big hit from three unexpected sources: Russian hackers, the mainstream media and the FBI.

Paul Krugman (New York Times) says the mainstream media “breathlessly reported” the DNC and Podesta emails leaked by the Russians as “shocking revelations” and Hillary’s use of private emails as a major scandal despite the complete lack of evidence of criminal wrongdoing.

The biggest blow to the Clinton campaign was “ the totally unjustified last-minute intervention by the FBI,” Krugman said. Although the FBI found “literally nothing,” this fake bombshell 11 days before the election dominated the news, and internal polling showed Clinton’s support plummeting in swing states.

Bernie Sanders supporters here may want to blame the Clinton campaign for various mistakes, but were it not for subversion of the 2016 election by a foreign power, a rogue FBI, and an irresponsible media, the candidate who won the popular vote would be our new president. And the whole world would be breathing a lot easier.