I realize this new thread is a bit of a vanity project, but I wanted to get out of the bickering of the old thread and get one going on ways forward, so forgive me for this. Of course, if the mods see fit, this can be merged with the election thread and so be it.
Here are some assorted thoughts on the election and future trends, now that we've gotten a moment to catch our breath (and realize, that yes, the world will keep turning and the four horsemen aren't coming down from the sky)....
1. Polls were wrong
That being said, they weren't that wrong. 538 had something on this earlier- the polling miss was actually within the margin of error. So it's not like they were off 20 points or something. But what is remarkable is that they were all wrong, albeit only by a couple points. Why is this? Not sure. Lots of speculation, probably most of it baseless, for months to come. Open to any suggestions/thoughts people have on this, because at the moment, I've got nothing. I probably would've put Clinton winning at about 3-1 odds going into election night. Maybe the odds actually weren't that, or perhaps we just hit that 1 in 3.
2. Demographics actually didn't matter
One of the very interesting things about this election that doesn't seem to be talked about much is that Trump actually improved on Romney across the board with Blacks and Hispanics. His margins with women were respectable, and he outright won white women. We can attribute some of this to decreased minority turnout, sure, but something that will have Dems scratching heads for months going forward, is why didn't the supposed evil Hitler drive up Hispanic turnout by double digits? As it turns out, they didn't actually care that much. Why is that?
3. Identity politics backlash
There's a lot of Democrat postmortem analysis going on right now, some of it good, and some it way off the mark. There's a really simple explanation to this election. When you have someone in the middle to lower-middle classes in Rust Belt areas that is in a dead-end job paying $40k/year that hasn't seen a pay raise in 20 years, has friends that have been laid off from closing factories and have had to work at a freaking Wal-Mart, and is wondering how they're gonna pay for the kids to go to school, and you have one candidate promising to bring the jobs back and make America great again (no matter how realistic that is), and the other candidate saying "you better vote for me or you are racist evil Hitler" and choosing to focus on things like the BLM movement, what do you expect to happen? Did anyone really think that message was going to be convincing?
Now we have to be clear here, we're not talking about redneck crazy voters in Alabama or something- those voters were all going 99% Republican no matter who was on the ticket. Trump flipped blue counties in blue states, some having not voted for the GOP since the 80s. We're talking about people who voted for Obama. This is where Trump won. He didn't win by picking up Alabama. He won because Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin flipped. These are not "South Will Rise Again!" voters. These are just average dudes trying to make a living, who have voted Democrat for years, but have seen their party abandon the working class after sapping all the money out of their communities and then decide that the only people they care about are clickbait bloggers, have seen the GOP establishment hoodwink them on false promises to roll back social policies while also sapping all the money out of their communities. Well, when you're a guy that's backed into a corner and you no longer have anything left to lose, all you have left is to spit in the face of the people who have screwed you over. And that's exactly what happened.
This election exposed a lot of things about the Democrats (and the GOP establishment, for that matter), and if they're smart, they'll use this as a wake up call. You can only push identity politics so far before there is a backlash. You can call someone sexist a million times, but that's not going to convince them to vote for you when the other guy is telling you he'll bring back jobs. At the end of the day, that's all that really matters. Having a stable job that pays the bills. Somehow Democrats forgot that. As much as Democrats demonized these voters, at the end of the day, most of these people again- are just average dudes. We're not talking about KKK members here. I don't how much I can emphasize this, but we're talking about people that voted for Obama in places like Michigan. Does some subtle racial bias exist in them? Probably. But then again, it probably does in everyone, to at least some small degree. But when you treat this person like he's not even a worthwhile member of society, he's essentially sub-human and basically akin to the worst evil to come across the world since Hitler, when all he really wants is a job that pays more than $15/hr, what do you think will happen?
Unfortunately, I'm not sure if the Dems are getting the message on this one. Already, I'm seeing some writers out there doubling down on this line of attack- articles out there like "The Misogyny Apocalypse: Turns Out Being White and Male Counts More Than Intelligence, Grace, and Decency," from Salon and "This Is What White Supremacy Looks Like" (from the Nation)... leave me scratching my head. Do you still not get it? This is what drove these voters to Trump in the first place! These are not people burning crosses or something, it's just your everyday guy down at the local Jiffy Lube that may have some concerns about immigration or whatever, but he's not reading up on Mein kampf on his free time... he's probably just playing xbox and watching Netflix. But... I mean, feel free. Don't listen. Just keep calling half the country racist because they want a pay increase and for the government to do something about immigration.
4. What policies should Trump push first?
Going to the future then- we have cabinet choices to talk about and also policy choices. There's going to be some push for immigration immediately, and also Obamacare, but I actually think the best move is trade. First, it's one of the issues we know Trump actually cares about. He's flip flopped on damn near every issue, but one he's consistently held since the 80s, is his generally anti-trade, nationalist stance. Re-negotiating some of our trade deals is something he wants to do, wants to put energy into, and it's something I think he'll find it easy to strike a bi-partisan deal on. I was listening to Bernie Sanders on CNN earlier, and he even conceded that this is an issue that he wants to work with the GOP on and that he'd find a lot of allies with in the progressive lobby. It's an issue that a lot of people want to see movement on, from both sides of the aisle, and it would signal that a) Trump is rewarding the rust belt for his support; and that b) he is committed to bi-partisan deals and getting DC working again. A big early win on trade could really set the tone for the rest of his presidency, increase his popularity ratings and make it easier for him to begin tackling something much harder, like immigration.
5. Cabinet picks
I have to put a little more thought into this before I write much more, but the most interesting picks for me are White House Chief of Staff, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, National Security Council, and Attorney General. Lot of names going around out there- Gingrich, Christie, Rudy, and so on... more on this later (it's late and I'm tired).
Also in my next post- Best Dem candidates for 2020