What happened last night?

I went into last night’s election optimistic but nervous.  I gave Donald Trump about 40% odds, which many people thought were way too high.  But now that almost all the dust is settled, let’s take a look at what happened, and why we really shouldn’t be shocked at the outcome.

1. Americans rejected politics as usual.
For generations, Americans have joked about corrupt politicians, who lie to get elected, about paying too much in taxes.  It’s not a joke anymore.  Washington just doesn’t respect their people.  They’re so out of touch with the struggles of everyday Americans.  For example, Congress rammed Obamacare down our throats but then they exempt themselves.  They push Common Core, reject school vouchers but then send their kids to expensive private schools.  Socialism is for the people, not the Socialists.  And BOTH parties are in my mind equally guilty of this.  Donald Trump may be a billionaire, may have been born into privilege, but he speaks like everyday Americans.  He says the things that we’re thinking.  His policies, like them or not, resonate with the silent majority of the American people.  We WANT the border wall, we WANT economic security, we DON’T want more government involvement in our lives.  Hillary Clinton, for all her talk about being for the working man, did not act the part.  I believe that the American people voted for Donald Trump not in spite of his lack of political experience, but precisely BECAUSE of it.

2. Americans rejected corruption.
Hillary just had to have it.  The Presidency, as far as she was concerned, was what she was meant for, spent her whole life working toward, and something that she was “owed.” So strongly did she cling to those beliefs, that she would do anything and everything to get elected.  She wanted Libya to be her legacy, so she didn’t own up to the fact that there were problems, so many Americans lost their lives when Benghazi was attacked.  She tried to cover it up to avoid blame.  She wanted to use the private email server to conduct Foundation business and hide from federal scrutiny.  She put personal convenience ahead of national security.  She was so laser-focused on the Presidency that she would do anything to get it, legal or otherwise.  Last night it came back to bite her in the butt.  Just like Watergate over 40 years earlier, the cover-up ended up being much worse than the crime itself.  If Clinton had owned up to Benghazi and the Clinton Foundation and the email server, she may have very well won the Presidency.  Americans can forgive a lot of things, and history is full of political comeback stories.  But one thing we can never forgive is dishonesty.  If you lie to us, if you are dishonest and not up-front, that will kill you every time, no matter how trivial the underlying act might have been.  Just ask her husband about that.  She operated as though she were above the law, as if the rules that apply to the “common people” didn’t apply to her.  In the end, her arrogance and deceit were her downfall.  The American voters looked at the situation and said, “We’ve had enough!” Good for them.

3. Americans rejected liberal progressive politics.
Free college, free healthcare, “fixing” income “inequality”, yes these are popular rallying cries.  If you talk about raising the minimum wage then people look at that and say, “Uuhh, sure, more money, why not?”  But they don’t think through the consequences.  They don’t realize that there’s not enough money for these plans even if we taxed the rich at 100%.  They don’t realize that raising the minimum wage results in more expensive products and services, and job loss for the same people they’re claiming to protect.  Establishment politicians on both sides of the aisle think they can win elections by promising voters things that they know they can’t possibly deliver on, or things that will hurt our country in the long run – and up through last night they were largely correct.  But Americans know better.  They asked themselves if they were better off than they were eight years ago, and they responded with a resounding “no.”  After eight years of higher taxes, more spending, more regulation, and piling on national debt that our children and grandchildren will have to pay for, Americans still see a stagnant economy, failed Obamacare, and an even more divided America.  Americans showed last night that the 100-year nightmare of Progressive politics may be coming to an end, that we as a country want a return to more traditional values like family, hard work, honesty, and fiscal responsibility.  Democrats (and some Republicans too) want to believe that there’s some magic money tree out there, and if we just make the “super rich” (whatever that means) pay a little more, we can magically cure all that ails us.  America got to where she is through freedom, hard work, ingenuity, and a government that did what it had to do and got out of our way.  We have, I believe, re-affirmed that last night.

4. Americans rejected political correctness.
Politicians in both major parties, over the last few elections, have felt the need to guard their tongues.  No other Republican candidate, this year or in years past, would have talked about immigration policy because they wouldn’t want to “offend” Hispanics, despite the fact that I think most legal immigrants would WANT a more secure border.  Donald Trump spoke about needing to keep criminal illegal aliens out of the country, and he was excoriated for it, as if somehow that made him racist.  It doesn’t.  No one else would talk about vetting Muslim refugees, for fear of being called bigoted.  Our national safety requires us to do that, and  Trump looked the problem straight in the eye and challenged it.  Richard Nixon’s silent majority has spoken.  The #1 reason why Trump’s supporters voted for him was that he spoke the words that most Americans were thinking, but too afraid to voice, because we’ve gotten so politically correct as a nation, that if you say anything bad about someone who happens to be black, you “obviously” are a racist, and the left will use that fear to stifle any opposition to their policies.  Wanting to keep our borders secure is not xenophobia, wanting to make sure that we vet refugees is not racism, and wanting people to use the bathroom of their biological gender is not homophobia.  We all know it, and Donald Trump won by tapping into what most of us already thought.

5. Americans rejected the mainstream media and conventional politics.

What we saw was a revolution that the mainstream media COULD have foreseen, but refused to do so.  Many of the newspapers and networks – The NY Times, CNN, etc. entered this election with their heads in the sand.  I don’t fault them for predicting a Clinton victory.  For a while many Republicans did the same thing.  The reason that the mainstream media is dead, the reason why they have egg on their face this morning, is that they were so in the tank for Hillary (as the Wikileaks emails proved), so convinced that Donald Trump was some sort of racist monster who was going to deport Mexicans and rape women, that they operated with willful blindness to reality.  People who were supposed to be objective reporters abjectly failed in their duties to the American public.  In the end, just like Hillary Clinton, they have no one to blame but themselves.  This election has proven that outsiders can win, that mainstream media is overrated, that grass-roots campaigns can work.  The results of this election are about more than politics.  Other long-shot candidates in all parties, major and minor, will look at this and say, “Hey I can do this too.”  It’s OKAY to be politically incorrect, it’s OKAY to not pander to minorities and the Left.  I project that my Libertarian Party especially will be emboldened by this, and the performance by Gary Johnson last night, though not what I had hoped, will help too.

In the end, it was the American people who won last night.  So to the naysayers, to the Democrats who feel cheated, I say, give the guy a chance.  He is NOT going to suddenly deport Mexicans or bar Muslims, or “go after” any racial group.  You misjudged him once, please don’t do it again.  To sum it up, I read a story this morning about a Yale professor who canceled exams today because his students were “too upset” over the results.  My students have a test today which I knew would fall on November 8.  I knew that no matter what happened last night, I was going to wake up, go to work and get on with life.  I think that professor’s actions say a thousand words.  True Americans don’t end their lives over an election.  Perhaps if I voted in pure self-interest I might have chosen Mrs. Clinton.  But the American spirit endures – we pick ourselves up and get on with life.  The fact that left-leaning college students feel that their feelings need to be protected, that they don’t have the fortitude to push on through disappointment, and even worse the professor’s indulging of that impulse, tells me all I need to know about them.

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