Home 2016 elections David Roberts Writes the Best “WTF Happened?!?!?!” Post-Election Piece I’ve Seen So...

David Roberts Writes the Best “WTF Happened?!?!?!” Post-Election Piece I’ve Seen So Far; Added Bonus – Great Slam of Chris Cillizza!


Still trying to wrap your brains around the question, “How the bloody hell did we elect a corrupt, incompetent, authoritarian, bigoted, mentally unstable a**hole as President and Commander in Chief?”  Well, I sure as heck am still trying to do that. I’ve read plenty of solid election post-mortems, and a lot of really bad ones, but now I’ve read the best one – Everything mattered: lessons from 2016’s bizarre presidential election by David Roberts of Vox – and I wanted to strongly recommend that everyone check it out right away. For now, here are a few things that jumped out at me.

  • First, the utter “surreality,” disgust, and mind-reeling horror of the very concept that this “unprepared, wildly corrupt authoritarian is headed for the White House.”
  • The appalling fact that Republicans’ strategy of working to make government fail, then running on the concept that only THEY can fix the very government they’ve made fail, was actually REWARDED by voters – or at least a large minority of voters – is just…did I mention the word “appalling?” Oh yes, I did – twice now, but even 1,000 times wouldn’t be sufficient to express my disgust at this.
  • Per the previous point, Roberts correctly (and horrifyingly) notes: “….every ugly impulse, every broken norm, every fetid alliance has now been ratified, affirmed as good politics. Other politicians will learn these lessons. The press will set about normalizing them. The damage Trump has already done to the American democratic process is not inconsiderable, but it is only the beginning.”
  • Unlike almost every other post-mortem, Roberts deserves enormous credit for doing what almost no journalist or pundit will EVER do – admit they were wrong, even “so damn wrong,” as Roberts puts it, about this election. So, in that spirit, let me also fess up: I was “so damn wrong” too, in large part because – stupid me! – I actually listened to “experts” like David Plouffe, Sam Wang, the NY Times Upshot blog, Nate Silver, the prediction markets, the Clinton campaign itself, President Obama, etc, etc., all of whom were somewhere between very and absolutely/100% confident that Clinton would beat Trump, probably by a wide margin. But in the end, I take full responsibility for not challenging the conventional wisdom harder. I did try, privately at least, but almost every time I was told some variant of “put on your big-boy pants” or “don’t be a bed wetter,” so I guess I figured hell, maybe they’re right. But clearly my gut instinct (very anxious that Clinton wasn’t further ahead in the polls, concerned that Trump could narrowly pull it out) was right, while the confident-Clinton-would-win folks weren’t, except insofar as the not-so-minor fact that Clinton will end up beating Trump by 2.5 million or so in the popular vote. Still, Clinton’s not going to be President, which is really what matters in the end, and almost all of us – myself included – go that wrong.
  • A key point by Roberts, one that I can’t emphasize enough, is that the whole concept that the “arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice,” is basically complete horseshit. OK, Roberts didn’t call it “complete horseshit,” he just pointed out – crucially – that said “arc” can just as quickly bend BACKWARDS, away from justice, as it bends FORWARDS, towards justice. In this context, if you’ve never read post-apocalyptic science fiction novel “A Canticle for Liebowitz,” I strongly recommend it, as it shows mankind repeatedly building, then destroying itself. That’s much more my view of the universe – a constant, ongoing struggle between building up and tearing down, constructive endeavors and destructive spasms, “good” and “evil,” whatever you want to call it – than of some sort of inexorable “arc bending towards justice.”
  • What does any of that have to do with the 2016 election? Very simple: as Roberts writes, it is now possible – after the election of Trump, in spite of (or even more horrifyingly, because of???) his “bullying misogyny, his mendacity, his contempt for the free press, his disregard for policy or preparation” – that there are “no longer mediating institutions capable of slowing our headlong descent into epistemological relativism and partisan nihilism,” that things really might turn out okay, that it’s “possible something as bad as or worse than internment camps will come along, or widespread racial violence,” or “a police state,” or an “illiberal strongman.”
  • Roberts ruthlessly mocks village idiot Chris Cillizza of the Washington (Com)Post, who actually tweeted, “There is nothing more maddening — and counterproductive — to me than saying that Trump’s 59 million votes were all racist.” As Roberts mockingly writes, “after the nation’s white people elected a man who campaigned on race-based appeals and promised race-based policies, the top priority of many white pundits was to defend their honor.” Roberts rips Cillizza’s brain-dead nonsense about “nothing more maddening” than “saying that Trump’s 59 million [voters] were all racist”:

Not the election of a xenophobic klepto-fascist. Not the surge of race-based hate crimes after the election. Not the appointment of Steve Bannon, who has spent years mainstreaming white nationalism, to a key position in the next administration. Nothing is more maddening than having the innocence of white Americans besmirched.

My god, is that Cillizza (and his ilk) to a “t” or what?

  • On a related note, Roberts viciously (but rightfully so) mocks the braindead concept of “racism without racists” –– that is, Trump “might be a racist…but his voters aren’t.”  This, despite overwhelming evidence that: “racist and sexist biases are rampant in America. Racist and sexist outcomes are rampant in America. But apparently there are very few racists or sexists in America. We just perpetuate systemic racism and sexism by accident. Oops.”
  • A subject that Andy Schmookler and I fundamentally disagree on, and frequently argue about, is whether you can be a “good person” and still vote for what is, essentially, evil. He says “yes,” I say “no.” Here’s what David Roberts says: “What American mainstream pundits often cannot see is that the latitude they extend white voters — ‘they know not what they do, they’re good people at heart, they’re just hurting’ — is the essence of white privilege.” For my part, I assume they DO know what they’re doing, and that – in an existentialist sense – they are both defined by and ultimately responsible for their actions.
  • Finally, Roberts takes on the whole concept that people who voted for Trump did so because they are uniquely “hurting,” and also the media’s obsession with profiling these (overwhelmingly white) people. As Roberts points out:

What I haven’t seen [from the ” disproportionately white, male, educated at Ivy League schools, cosmopolitan in outlook” media] are nearly as many tender profiles of working-class black families in cities. I didn’t read as much about second-generation Latinos struggling to pay for college. There weren’t a ton of thumbsuckers on single mothers in the Atlanta suburbs, Muslim families in Dearborn, Michigan, or seasonal farm workers in California. (This stellar New York Times piece on Latina hotel workers was a welcome exception.)

America is full of different kinds of people, many of whom are suffering, all of whom face difficult challenges. They all deserve empathy. They all deserve a living wage and decent public services and fair treatment under the law. They all deserve every consideration as Real Americans.

Again, I couldn’t agree more with this brilliant election post-mortem by David Roberts. A must read.

  • Quizzical

    I didn’t think he gave enough weight to the hacking of the DNC and Podesta emails. That was something Clinton should not have had to deal with.

    Let me put it this way: Could Trump have won if the RNC and Paul Manafort emails had been hacked and released during the Republican convention and the last 5 weeks of the election?

    • True, I’d personally weight those emails – and the utterly disgraceful media coverage thereof – higher. Still, I think Roberts really nails it overall…

      • Quizzical

        Oh yes, it was an excellent article, well worth the time to read.

  • frankoanderson

    Fantastic, definitely worth the read. What stood out to me: “Partisanship has been revealed as the strongest force in US public life — stronger than any norms, independent of any facts.”

    • Quizzical

      To me, the lesson of the 2004 election was the importance of a “ground game”, and that you can’t win elections with social media alone. Yet Trump won this election even though Clinton had a massive ground game and he had very little. By making it a mud fight, Trump’s campaign turned it into a base election. The results show that the Republican base, at least, can be turned out without a ground game, through talk radio and Facebook. Or so it seems. There’s the power partisanship, fueled by fake news.

      • Did you mean 2004 (Kerry vs.. Bush) or was that a typo? I don’t remember that election as being about “social media alone,” as social media was still in its infancy. As for social media, I’d argue that it’s still proportionately far underutilized (and poorly utilized) by Democrats, who continue to go with the extremely LOW bang-for-the-buck, close-to-worthless (but super expensive) broadcast TV ad option. Stupid.

        • Quizzical

          Yes, I meant 2004, Bush-Kerry. Bush was absolutely flayed alive in social media, but still won. I don’t know if social media was in its infancy back then or not. After 9/11, social media really took off, is my recollection, and there was plenty of it for the Bush-Kerry election.

          • Yeah, social media was miniscule in 2004….no Twitter, no Facebook, no YouTube, no Instagram, no Pinterest, relatively few blogs, also no significant smart phone usage by campaigns, etc, etc. Social media as used by campaigns really took off starting in 2005, 2006 (as my book, “Netroots Rising,” discusses, the “macaca” video was one of the first uses of YouTube by a political campaign that may actually have had a significant impact on an election; also note that Facebook finally opened up to all users in the fall of 2006).

          • Quizzical

            RaisingKaine was a great political blog, no doubt about it.

            But anyway, for the 2004 elections, there was considerable blogging activity, as this flawed historical summary indicates.

            Blog was the word of the year in 2004 for Merriam-Webster.

            I had forgotten the whole thing about “Rathergate” being exposed by the LittleGreenFootballs blog and others who researched IBM Selectric typefaces. And now that I think of it, there was the “Swiftboating” of Kerry probably was partly carried out on blogs.

            But the post mortems after the 2004 election included as I recall that the Democratic Party’s “ground game” had been insufficient, and that was remedied in 2008. The “ground game” was supposed to be a big advantage for Clinton in 2016.

          • Yes, there was considerable blogging activity in 2004 (e.g., Daily Kos got going in 2002/2003), but miniscule compared to today. Also, again, almost none of the major social media platforms we use today – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, etc, etc. – were around in 2004. Also, use of smart phones for political purposes was in its infancy. In short, 2004 may only have been 12 years ago, but an enormous amount has changed since then, certainly re: social media.

          • Purple

            Perfect example of the Democratic parties messaging problem to rural Americans – 65% of rural Americans don’t have access to high speed Internet at home (Pew 2015), does the party care ? 48% don’t have smart phones (Pew 2015), 33% don’t even own a computer (Pew 2015), are Democrats reaching them ?

          • You’re arguing Dems (and Republicans, who use the same tools of course) shouldn’t use social media? Or what?

          • Purple

            No, I’m arguing that it’s a matter of priorities. I’m arguing what Sam Rasoul is arguing in the piece you cross-posted, he sounds like some kind of genius.

            EVERY CORNER STRATEGY – Sincere involvement means we need a multi-year strategy of supporting candidates in every corner of the Commonwealth. In the information age, campaign dollars have a sharp diminishing return. We can get more utility by investing in our message and organizing in every community. If our purpose and values are solid and we find and train good candidates, then our message will spread.

            RADICALLY EMPATHIZE – Empathizing does not mean we must agree, but Martin Luther King Jr. was successful when he preached we should love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Split up Trump voters. Yes, some may be racist or bigoted, and we should aggressively condemn their actions, but many did not begin as Trump voters. Empathy is tough and we need to listen to the concerns of all Americans.

            STOP NEGATIVE POLITICS – We are disrespecting voters when we try to scare them into voting our way. Our obsolete campaign tactics erodes trust with voters. They feel manipulated; the same feeling as we have with a bad car salesperson. We should never say anything about anyone unless they would agree with it if they were in the room. Don’t be a bad car salesperson, respect the voter enough to come to her/his own conclusion.

          • Also, we’re mostly talking about how communications technology usage in politics has changed over the past 10 years or so…

      • A_Siegel

        1. There were serious problems in the Clinton ground game — data for canvassers had problems throughout the country. For example, here is what happened at multiple University campuses (have talked to active D volunteers from six campuses in four battleground states over the past several months): The student canvassers were given packages for the dorms based on 2012 and 2014 voters. Okay, WTF, how many students are in the same dorm room that they were in two or four years earlier? Okay, maybe an error or … In at least two cases (different universities), I was told that the lead went back to ‘higher ups’ (explicitly told paid Clinton staff in one case) and, in essence, was told: ‘Shut up and execute the packages we’ve given you. We know what we’re doing …’

        2. The “Trump Campaign” formally might not have had a big ground game but AFP and other groups invested heavily in it. And, well, had a (painful) discussion with someone involved in one of those efforts post election who laughed at the sort of data problems like described in [1] with a snide ‘our quality control structure is designed to prevent stuff like that …’ comment.

  • Purple

    I agree it was an interesting article and worth the read, and I also agree with the basic premise that the election was lost (or won) by the thinnest of margins and that it was really a combination of “all of the above” that caused it to happen.

    That said, when you become the minority party and the opposing party has the House, Senate, Presidency, Supreme Court, majority of state houses, and the majority of governor’s mansions … essentially EVERYTHING, then I think its time to take a look around and honestly decide if the road you’re going down is the right road.

    At some point urban Democrats are simply going to have to admit to themselves that they’ve lost the faith of a large percentage of the population, and that the rhetoric the party has been using isn’t helpful.

    The Democratic party when I was young never looked down its nose at people like so many do now, I don’t ever remember Democratic leaders being so snide and condescending towards large segments of the population. The party faithful are going to have to admit to themselves, honestly, objectively, that they’ve become the party of the urban folk, and that they have institutionalized urban culture and values and made political enemies of everyone who doesn’t agree with them.

    No reasonable person actually believes that the majority of Republicans are racists, that all they care about is large corporations, that they are anti-science, that rural people are too stupid to know Democrats are the party watching out for them, etc. Democrats are losing for a reason, and its time to actually sit down and figure out what those reasons are, objectively.

    I’m not saying I know what those reasons are, I don’t. But I will say this, if you are an urban Democrat, if you look at your window and see big buildings or endless suburbs, you might not know what those reasons are either.

    • Quizzical

      Here’s another post mortem rant, by Kos.

      Kos also doesn’t say much, if anything, about the breaches of the DNC and Podesta emails, and the publishing of them on Wikileaks whenever Clinton started to build momentum.

      Maybe I’m wrong about the importance of that, but I don’t think so.

      • Yeah, that was fun, in a dark/depressing sorta way.

      • A_Siegel

        David’s & Markos’ pieces are both seriously worth reading … yet, at the same time, interesting what gaps that they both have along with clear biases.

        • Agreed, although of course everybody’s got biases and nobody’s going to include – or emphasize – everything we want them to. Looking forward to your post-mortem on the election. 🙂

    • John Skelly

      I didnt say sexism was the only reason. I merely said it was the biggest reason.

      • One of the biggest disappointments was that women – particularly young women – weren’t more excited about the idea of the first woman president, and a superbly qualified one at that!

        • A_Siegel

          Personally, I found this to be a regretful element of emphasis throughout the campaign (primary and general).

          Note how having a Black man as President shows how far the nation has come and how having a female President would as well … and then move on.

          However, my ‘personal’ desire to have more meaningful discussion/focus on policy / substance / implications for my children’s and nation’s future is at odds with how American (and, well, most other nations’) elections work.

    • A_Siegel

      “No reasonable person actually believes that the majority of Republicans are racists, that all they care about is large corporations, that they are anti-science,”

      Well, in fact, very reasonable people — based on things like polling data — do “actually believe that majority of Republicans … are anti-science”.

      Let’s start with climate change: Here is an Oct 2016 article https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2016/oct/06/pew-survey-republicans-are-rejecting-reality-on-climate-change: “ust 48% of Americans realize that the Earth is warming mostly due to human activity. Highlighting a vast partisan reality gap, 79% of liberal Democrats and just 15% of conservative Republicans answer the question correctly. … ”

      Okay, let’s just end there … although we could look at other arenas like evolution and …

      When roughly 75% of Republicans reject basic science on an issue any ‘reasonable person’ has reason to ‘believe that the majority of Republicans … are anti-science’.

    • “Democrats are simply going to have to admit to themselves that they’ve lost the faith of a large percentage of the population”

      Actually, Hillary Clinton now leads Donald Trump by more than 2.5 MILLION (!) votes in the popular vote, while Democrats won more votes for U.S. Senate as well. So…no, Democrats have NOT “lost the faith of a large percentage of the population,,” that’s just blatantly false.

      • A_Siegel

        Pause to consider word “large percentage”. Large could mean 25 or 35 or 45 percent, doesn’t need to be majority. Let’s be clear, the vicious partisan nature of our society is such that there are roughly 40% of voters who will vote GOP even if the person is a corrupt, misogynistic, arrogantly ignorant narcissistic documented liar without adding in other factors like horrible media coverage, Russian cyber-warfare, and FBI election interference. Is 40% a “large percentage”? Add in those factors (and don’t account for voter suppression), and we get that 40% to >45%.

        Of course, the GOP has ‘lost the faith of a large percentage of the population’ as well …

    • “The Democratic party when I was young never looked down its nose at people like so many do now”

      Any evidence of this? Also, any evidence that Republilcan elites respect – let alone advocate policies that would HELP – rural areas and people??? Nope, didn’t think so on either count.

    • frankoanderson

      I do think we Democrats need to re-evaluate the rhetoric we use and the perception, though largely undeserved, that we are condescending towards rural voters. But can you give me an example of “urban values” which are at odds with rural voters? I think there are values that most in the party share, which unite people regardless of where they live.

      Most Republicans are not explicitly racist or bigoted, but as Roberts pointed out there is a lot of implicit bias against minorities and women. If we want to appeal more to white rural voters, I’m not prepared to curtail our efforts to reach out to other demographics who are some of the most vulnerable such as minorities and urban working class voters. The two should not be mutually exclusive. There are ways that candidates can have a broader appeal to both rural and urban voters. But tempering your message to placate racially biased voters in the hopes that they will come back around, is not the way forward.

      • Perhaps “urban values” like putting a premium on the importance of education? quality/affordable health care for all? a clean/healthy environment? a strong social safety net? standing up for workers against corporate power? the importance of respecting each other in a diverse nation? Yeah, those damn “urban values” sure are horrible, and totally at odds with rural people, eh? (snark)

      • Purple

        “But can you give me an example of ‘urban values’ which are at odds with voters.”

        It isn’t “at odds”, necessary, that I’m talking about, it’s sometimes just a matter of emphasis.

        Let’s take a typical rural voter. Now a lot of people imagine every rural voter is a farmer, but the truth is that a lot of rural voters are making ends meet any way they can, they might have a cow and some chickens, but more than likely they’re doing something like running a small business of some kind like say being a landscaper, or cutting firewood for customers, or something similar. Maybe they work in a factory, or are unemployed, or whatever, but let’s just choose someone who has a roofing business as an example.

        So we’ve got this guy, he’s got a truck, he goes out with a buddy or few and does roofing jobs. He’s getting up in the morning, driving to Lowes, picking up supplies, picking up his workers, going to somebodies house, and putting a new roof on it. He spends a fair amount of time looking for work, it’s mostly seasonal, and he sits around the kitchen table with his wife working out the numbers all the time. He maybe has health insurance, maybe doesn’t, but now he’s paying a tax penalty if he doesn’t. He has to wade through a fair amount of red tape to run his business.

        Now let’s take a typical issue that the Clinton talked about in her campaign, that Donald Trump is a racist, and that half his supporters are also racists.

        Diversity is a huge issue with urban Democrats, as is the subject of racism, sexism, LGBT issues, etc, and nobody would argue that these are not wonderful, lofty goals, and important issues for urban populations – obviously there are real issues with race in this country and reasonable people agree about that.

        But think about where this roofer is, what he’s trying to do, and what he’s hearing from the Democratic party. First, and importantly, if he’s living in a very rural area in most of the state of Virginia (excluding south central) the African American population where he lives is probably down around 3-5% of the population. He may have gone to a high school with like 1 or 2 African Americans in the ENTIRE school. He probably knew a gay person in high school, but he probably didn’t know a trans person, simply due to the small size of the rural high schools in the state.

        The question is, what is he thinking, what does the Democratic party mean to this guy ? I mean he gets up early, goes to put a roof on someone’s house with his crew, it isn’t like he’s sitting around worrying about racial issues all day. He isn’t staying awake at night worrying about whether trans people will have their own bathroom. He isn’t worried about a great deal of what the Democratic party spends so much time talking about, so much energy, and whether Clinton can get Jay Z and Beyonce to sing at her campaign event isn’t exactly making news on the radio station he listens to with his buddies.

        It isn’t that he’s a racist, he probably supports Democrats stance on race and diversity, it’s more of a matter of he just doesn’t care one way or the other because it isn’t something that is important to him.

        He does, however, like to talk about hunting with his buddies, and he is talking about whether his crew has enough work for the summer, he’s concerned about the IRS letter he got changing the rules on how he submits his employee’s tax paperwork, and he’s worried about what’s going to happen if one of his crew gets hurt on the job.

        But just as importantly, he’s a proud person, just like any person, and he’s listening to what Democrats are saying about half of Trump supporters being racists, sexist, etc, and he’s looking around wondering who Democrats are talking about – because if the Democratic party isn’t referring to him, then who are they referring to ? His uncle, his neighbor, his sister’s husband ? He’s looking around and seeing how people he knows are portrayed in the news, etc, and he’s wondering, what do these people think about me and mine ?

        Then he gets a letter from the NRA saying that Democrats in California have passed a law that prohibits “assault rifles”, and that Virginia is going to be next if he doesn’t vote Republican. And he’s hearing Republicans talking about all the red tape he has to deal with in his business, and he’s hearing Republicans talking about lowering his taxes, all issues he cares about.

        Does he hate the environment ? No, he’s concerned about the climate like most people, on some level, but is that really what is keeping the guy up at night ? Is that what he and his buddies, his wife, are talking about when they’re playing cornhole in the backyard with friends and family ?

        It isn’t that rural people necessarily dislike issues that Democrats so often push, its more a matter of focus. Urban voters ARE worried more about diversity and all these social issues, but a lot of rural voters simply aren’t, or in some cases they even dislike Democrats’ stance on social issues because it simply isn’t part of their culture. In a lot of cases rural voters even feel like Democrats truly dislike them, even hate them, because that’s the message a lot of Democrats put out, that’s the vibe they give off.

  • John Skelly

    Sexism. People get mad, but that’s the biggest reason why! America is so sexist they would even rather have bigot who is an incompetent buffoon than a woman. We should probably have a parlamentary style government, and let the party’s pick the prime minister,because America is not smart enough to vote for something like President.

    • A_Siegel

      1. Sexism certainly played a role — it was a hill to climb even as Hillary Clinton sought to use it as a tool to gain a higher share of the women’s vote.

      2. Let us be clear, however, while sexism was an issue that made Clinton’s path more difficult in many ways (double-standards in media, some people simply unwilling to vote for woman, …), (a) she received substantially more (over 2M now, I believe) votes than Trump and (b) is a hairs-breath away (roughly 100,000 votes out of 134 million) from having a majority in the EV. “America’ voted for Clinton even as the structure of the election puts Trump in the White House.

      • Now over 2.5 million (!) according to the Cook Political Report/Dave Wasserman’s spreadsheet


      • John Skelly

        Yeah,and actually the biggest reason she had it stolen (is how I put it),was James Comey. He took the last 11 days of her campaign away. With those 3 rust belt states within only a point or so, she most likely would of won if he stays out of it. You don’t come out and give non indictment speeches to chastise a woman, you indict or you don’t, but I just included that with my sexism point. A man wouldn’t of had such scrutiny. And to the point that women should of embraced a woman,I would of loved that, but they don’t owe it. I do think they at least should of embraced her over Trump,if nothing else however. Thats what really irks me.

        • A_Siegel


          To be clear, w/difficulty of assessing fact in ex post facto and alternative scenarios, I do believe that Comey — as individual actor — likely did enough to sway the election.

          The July rambling diatribe legitimized to media actors incessant discussion of the emails and then the two actions w/in two weeks of the election likely were enough to tip balance enough in three or four states. (PA, FL, WI, MI) Would Hillary have been up another >1,000,000 votes w/out Comey’s end of election antics with enough of a shift to put her over 300 EVs? Certainly seems plausible.

          (Note: The Sunday release, reinvigorating discussion, was pretty bad along with the letter to Congress.)

          I have over 20 factors — some w/in D control, some not — which, I believe, any one of them changed would likely have us with an incoming Clinton Administration. (Everything ranging from voter suppression and fake news to lethargy by D politicians/others in ‘safe D’ districts to Comey to bad data for ground game to weak ‘elevator speech’ (http://www.dailykos.com/comments/1605118/64633953#comment_64633953) messaging, to … ) Comey is clearly and strongly one — but I believe, as do many others, that the election should have been out of his reach of influence as he did.

          • John Skelly

            I agree with everything you said.

          • John Skelly

            I won’t keep bothering you but since we agree mostly I believe we have to keep letting people know about everything you said the one we have to drill most though is the popular vote she is now up 2.5 million votes I just saw. Even though I personally don’t get as mad about this point as alot of the other reasons because at least the electoral college is the actual rule,its a bad rule but a rule: the popular vote argument is probably our most effective one because its the one that most people won’t try to deny. And 2.5 million votes is alot. I have a few more points to make that I hope you keep addressing. I will be doing it also but quite honestly you can do it better. I can’t even punctuate nor do I try.

          • A_Siegel

            1. To add to distress, Jill Stein’s vote count is higher than the Trump margin in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan … https://twitter.com/A_Siegel/status/804383642168545280

            2. As to the vote count, watch this pretty mind-boggling video. https://twitter.com/A_Siegel/status/804370111654199297 Even when directly confronted with evidence, Trump’s tweets re illegal voting & having majority has more power.

            3. Tend to agree that ‘win popular vote’ is good argument (like 97% consensus on climate change) but a pretty weak thread when the Trumpist have total control of two branches of government and soon the third. They really don’t care what ‘majority rule’ says.

            4. Thanks for nice words …

          • “Even when directly confronted with evidence”

            That was, in many ways, THE story of this election (and also the Tea Party lunacy starting in 2009/2010), and of the horrifying “post-fact” age in which we now live. What a nightmare.

  • A_Siegel

    While I have some kibbitzing, some on margins and some more serious, this mainly has me (painfully) nodding my head in agreement.

    * From the opening of ‘I am still in disbelief when saying/writing President Trump’
    * To his direct statement / acknowledgment of having screwed up
    which is — to one degree or another — likely appropriate for all of us
    * To direct discussion of core Trump as racist authoritarians
    * To …

    It is a long and substantive piece … far from ‘perfect’ but agreed with you that this is the best WTF HAPPENED? piece that I’ve seen to date.

    • A_Siegel

      So, what are some of Roberts’ gaps — examples of ‘kibbitzing’ …

      * doesn’t discuss failures in basic political block & tackling
      – Ground game problems, such as bad data for canvassers
      – advertising/staff deployment (E.g., conscious decision not to commit resources late October to WI/MI to ‘avoid alerting GOP that they had an opportunity there’)
      – choices as to deployment of surrogates (Think potential impact for MI/WI if Michelle Obama had gone to Milwaukee & Detroit first week of November …)
      – Etc …
      * incorrectly (or questionably) asserts that voter suppression wasn’t enough to tip the balance (A WTF element for Wisconsin &, for example, NC & FL)
      * Seriously downplays many factors
      – “fake news”
      – Russian cyber war
      – AFP/other Citizens United enabled ‘third party’ elements
      – Etc …
      – Etc …
      – Etc …

      I fully agree with Roberts not to be focused on THE ONE THING that lost the election — I have sketched out a list of about 20 items that any one of which might have mean Hillary into the White House. Some totally out of “our” control (Comey?), some very hard issues to deal with and certainly going to get FAR worse (voter suppression), some totally within it (such as the data on voters).

      Seems to me that key point, which I’ve talked about elsewhere, is need for rejuvenated/on steroids ’50 State/5000 CIties/Counties’ strategies to make Democrats a living part of every community in the nation. And, so that we might ‘only’ lose a rural district 65-35 rather than 80-20 to help with statewide vote totals. (Good discussion re Rural Strategy here: http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/11/29/1605255/-Building-A-Party-Of-The-Future-Part-1-Before-You-Advocate-A-Rural-Strategy-Try-Visiting Makes the point, well, about need to squeeze out voters in rural areas and that ‘abandoning’ isolated Ds doesn’t motivate them to GOTV.)

      Roberts’ piece is really worth the read and consideration — even as, as per above, is far from perfect or a completed work.

  • Quizzical

    Another post mortem on the election
    How Turnout-Only Politics Gave Us the 2016 Campaign—And a Historic Polling Upset – POLITICO