This is Joe.
Joe is enjoying a Crunchy burger with everything on it. Me? I’m still choking down a big platter of crow with a side of humble pie.
We can all question Joe’s judgment when it comes to lunchtime hangouts, but when it comes to gauging the mood of the American public, his judgement is on a lot better footing.
Months ago, as it became apparent that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were headed towards a November showdown, I bet Joe lunch that Trump wouldn’t just fail to win the White House – he’d fail to win 150 electoral votes.
Even two weeks before Election Day I felt great about the odds, and started meal planning.
My suspicion that Trump was headed for a landslide defeat seemed well founded. Mostly, maybe, because of my personal distaste for the man. There’s no need to rehash all of the reasons I opposed his candidacy (you can read them here, and note that they were even published before the release of the infamous Access Hollywood recording).
Then America voted, and Donald Trump became President-elect. He won nearly double the number of electoral votes I’d predicted.
Theories why abound, and from much smarter observers than me.
The Democrats nominated an untrustworthy, immensely unpopular Washington insider to run for President during a change election.
The public has so little trust in the news media that Trump was largely inoculated against negative reporting.
Mercury was in retrograde and since it’s the planet that rules communication, clear thinking, and truth, Trump was a shoo-in the entire time. (Note: Your friendly neighborhood blogger is not an astrologer. Astrological analysis is for entertainment purposes only.)
On a more personal level, the question I keep asking, is how did I get it so wrong?
I could blame it on too much time spent in a #NeverTrump media echo chamber.
There’s an undeniable “Lansing bubble” where broad, shared experiences and expectations can distort an observer’s impression of the way folks understand things outside of the Capital complex. Did I get sucked into the bubble?
The truth, I suspect, or the biggest chunk of it, is that I just plain didn’t listen.
Oh, sure, I heard what voters were saying in Macomb County about jobs and trade and immigration. I heard the young moms at my Livingston County church who were more worried about a pro-life Supreme Court than a political candidate’s rough language. I heard families lamenting massive Obamacare premium increases that mattered more than a flip-flop here or there.
They all said they were voting for Donald Trump because those issues were more important than a decade-old recording from tabloid TV. I should have listened.
Hillary Clinton lost the White House for a lot of big, important reasons, and because of big, inexcusable mistakes.
I lost a bet because... Mercury. I'm blaming Mercury.