Go back to “By the numbers”, the last blog posted at this site on November 2nd to see how the three best forecasters (538, Real Clear Politics, and Moody Analytics) got it all wrong. What did they miss that led them to predict an HRC victory and a better-than-even chance that the Dem’s would regain control of the Senate? The answer to that question may be found in the tone-deafness of the political class that has existed for years and that finally caused a majority of voters to boil over and vent their anger at the polls.
At a minimum. it has been at least 10 years since pollsters started asking citizens “Is the country headed in the right or the wrong direction?” With each succeeding poll, respondents have registered a steadily increasing dissatisfaction with the way things were going. Politicians in both parties failed to hear the “alarm” and take action. Nowhere was this more evident than in the obstructionist behavior of Congressional Repub’s. As Mann and Ornstein wrote in their text “It’s Even Worse than it Looks”, the dysfunction in DC is asymmetrical, being largely a product of GOP opposition to anything that President Obama proposed.
The one person who was paying attention was Primadonald. By lending his voice to the anger and frustrations of millions of Americans who felt left behind before and throughout the economic recovery, he became the “empathizer-in-chief”. So taken by his understanding of their plight and disaffection, people flocked to his rallies and willingly ignored his multiple lies, insults and very unpresidential, tactless behavior. Their enthusiasm for his candidacy was boundless and very much in contrast to the more subdued behavior of HRC’s supporters. Pollsters took note of this “enthusiasm gap” but clearly never accurately gauged its impact at the ballot box.
As results came in last night, it became evident that Trump was outperforming the 2012 GOP candidate, Mitt Romney. At the same time, HRC was under-performing Obama. The former is what the pollster never expected; the latter was anticipated but obviously disregarded as a potential game-changer. Yet, that difference likely tipped the balance in swing states like Florida and North Carolina. That started Trump on the road to his improbably victory.
In the end, predictably red states like Texas stayed red, and blue states like California stayed blue. This election was about change, and no states wanted it more than those in the rust belt where scores of plants had been shuttered and millions of manufacturing jobs lost through technological advances, globalization and trade agreements.
Primadonald pulled off the poker equivalent of drawing to an inside straight. He did it by speaking to the anger of many while demonizing his opponent whose case was not helped by Wikileaks and FBI Director Comey’s insertion of himself into the electoral process just days before votes were cast. Put this together with the dramatic change that half the country wanted and you have a Trump presidency. Not only that, the GOP retained control of both the House and Senate.
So, now White House and both chambers of Congress are in the hands of the GOP. House Democrats will be powerless, and their cohorts in the Senate will be reduced to using filibusters (1) and arcane parliamentary rules to have any impact on legislation. In other words, there is likely to be little of the obstruction we have witnessed over the last eight years (see above). That means that some things should get gone, but with what impact and on the economy in particular?
Historically, markets have always reacted to uncertainty with declines in key indicators like the Dow and S & P. That has already started. How long it continues will depend to some extent on the signals that Primadonald sends out regarding his plans.
Stay tuned and avoid panic selling.
- Senate Democrats are apt to use the filibuster to prevent the appointment of a very conservative justice to fill the seat vacated by the death of Antonin Scalia. Watch to see if Senate Republicans thwart that action by changing the Senate rules so that a 51-vote majority can end any filibuster; the so-called “nuclear option”.