Favorite

Fixing blame: President Trump 

Kyle Massey of Arkansas Business posed some questions to me about the Donald Trump presidential victory.

Did the press fail? Were liberal-leaning journalists on the coasts responsible for missing the Trump wave among middle-to-lower income white voters with lower educational attainment?

I responded. And I'm so morose about the outcome and the future (Go ahead, Mr. Trump, surprise me. Please.) that I'll just repeat what I said to him here, with some small changes.

Well, the polls weren't really far off. Clinton did win the popular vote. But Democratic turnout was down somewhat (not as much as early reporting had it). Lots of reasons for that. Hillary Clinton was not President Obama. Vote suppression worked in some key swing states. A lot of the young Bernie Sanders enthusiasts stayed home or went third party. I happen to think the press fixation with a largely empty story — emails and Wikileaks — was extremely damaging generally and then specifically when FBI Director James Comey reopened the email issue. I never doubted Trump would carry Arkansas and I had written several times that I wondered whether we were that far outside the mainstream. We weren't. White identity politics was important in the Democratic vote dropoff, particularly among older, less-educated rural voters. So was gender. While plenty of people voted for Hillary because she's a woman, most white women did not, because she was viewed as a threatening sort of woman.

A lot of people feel threatened by change and cultural markers — economics, immigration, sexual orientation, Black Lives Matter. Hillary couldn't fix that without an ideological makeover.

I think media's big failure was attempting to work everything into a simple theme (i.e., Hillary's a crook). I reject the notion that media missed the broad dissatisfaction among a segment of voters — working class whites, to oversimplify. We read about their estrangement so often that it became a cliche and a subject of satire. They voted enthusiastically, but that wasn't surprising given their fervor.

I was nervous unto the very end, precisely because the polls DID indicate the race was inevitably going to come down to evenly divided, within-the-margin-of-error states such as Pennsylvania, Florida, North Carolina and Wisconsin where important U.S. Senate races were big voter drivers. I still think Comey and email were decisive factors where the margin was razor-thin.

But, hell, what do I know?

Trump and his people clearly thought they were going to lose, too.

PS: I add this local angle to what I wrote to Kyle Massey. The Trump effect was evident down the ballot in Arkansas, with some contradictory grace notes. The Republican hold on power expanded in the legislature. Voters who rejected Clinton in part for her ties to the corporate power structure readily endorsed a giveaway of tax money to the swamp of corporate lobbyists and special business interests in Arkansas that promoted Issue 3. But they did not buy the establishment line on medical marijuana. Some magic brownies might be just the thing for coping with Election 2016.

Finally, the triumphalism of Trump fanatics in Arkansas was evident in taunting and bullying of the other side, particularly in schools. Kids will be kids. But the school officials who've blown this off in some places (encouraged it, even) are adults and need to act like it.

Favorite

Speaking of Donald Trump

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Supremely discredited

    Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Rhonda Wood and her allies continue to discredit the state's highest court.
    • Jul 30, 2015
  • Hutchinson pulls Faubus move

    I don't know what if anything might arise or be planned in the future relative to Gov. Asa Hutchinson's order to end Medicaid reimbursement for medical services (not abortion) provided by Planned Parenthood in Arkansas.
    • Aug 20, 2015
  • Neighborliness, in Little Rock and beyond

    I had a parochial topic in mind this week — a surprise plan by Mayor Mark Stodola to address the Arkansas Arts Center's many needs.
    • Nov 19, 2015

Most Shared

  • World leaders set to meet in Little Rock on resource access and sustainable development

    Next week a series of meetings on the use of technology to tackle global problems will be held in Little Rock by Club de Madrid — a coalition of more than 100 former democratic former presidents and prime ministers from around the world — and the P80 Group, a coalition of large public pension and sovereign wealth funds founded by Prince Charles to combat climate change. The conference will discuss deploying existing technologies to increase access to food, water, energy, clean environment, and medical care.
  • Tomb to table: a Christmas feast offered by the residents of Mount Holly and other folk

    Plus, recipes from the Times staff.
  • Rapert compares Bill Clinton to Orval Faubus

    Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway)  was on "Capitol View" on KARK, Channel 4, this morning, and among other things that will likely inspire you to yell at your computer screen, he said he expects someone in the legislature to file a bill to do ... something about changing the name of the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport.
  • Fake news

    So fed up was young Edgar Welch of Salisbury, N.C., that Hillary Clinton was getting away with running a child-sex ring that he grabbed a couple of guns last Sunday, drove 360 miles to the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C., where Clinton was supposed to be holding the kids as sex slaves, and fired his AR-15 into the floor to clear the joint of pizza cravers and conduct his own investigation of the pedophilia syndicate of the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state.
  • Reality TV prez

    There is almost nothing real about "reality TV." All but the dullest viewers understand that the dramatic twists and turns on shows like "The Bachelor" or "Celebrity Apprentice" are scripted in advance. More or less like professional wrestling, Donald Trump's previous claim to fame.

Latest in Max Brantley

  • Kids count, not confidentiality

    The trial for the murder of Isaiah Torres, 6, was a reminder again of a gaping hole in the law pertaining to child protective services.
    • Nov 24, 2016
  • Can we get along?

    he Times production deadline fell before polls closed this week, so I'll look to the past and future.
    • Nov 10, 2016
  • Scary election

    I write my final column before election day on Halloween, appropriate given the terrifying outlook.
    • Nov 3, 2016
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans

Event Calendar

« »

December

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Most Viewed

  • Stay the course

    I am frustrated and angry with those who claim the only chance of future success is for the Democratic Party, especially in the South and Midwest, to abandon speaking directly to women and people of color and the LGBT community and instead focus on the economy and other "more comfortable" topics in order to win back some of the center.
  • Reality TV prez

    There is almost nothing real about "reality TV." All but the dullest viewers understand that the dramatic twists and turns on shows like "The Bachelor" or "Celebrity Apprentice" are scripted in advance. More or less like professional wrestling, Donald Trump's previous claim to fame.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Reality TV prez

    • And while we're at it, Runner, the Wisconsin recount isn't finished yet, but as of…

    • on December 9, 2016
  • Re: Reality TV prez

    • In fact, Runner, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 2.7 million and counting, just…

    • on December 9, 2016
  • Re: Stay the course

    • Thank you Autumn. I agree that we can not compromise an inch on the value…

    • on December 9, 2016
 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation