Lessons Learned, 2016


I strongly suspect that we’re going to be treated to a lot of musing on the lessons learned in the 2016 presidential campaign, much of it phrased as recriminations or even accusations.

The polls were wrong. Hillary Clinton did not have a three point advantage in the popular vote. She had a miniscule or non-existent advantage. Spending money on pollsters is a waste.

Early returns suggest that more blacks and Hispanics voted for Donald Trump than did for Mitt Romney. I can’t prove it but I suspect it’s because blacks and Hispanics already discount a certain amount of racism among whites as women other than elite women discount the crude sort of sexism of which Mr. Trump has been accused. The question is less whether he’s a racist or sexist but what’s in it for them?

The “ground game” is officially useless. Money spent on it is wasted, words that will bring existential fear to the hearts of many political operatives. It can help a bit but it can’t bring you victory. Mr. Trump had no organization and he didn’t even have offices in a lot of districts. He won anyway and came close to victory in states that he had, apparently, written off.

If you cry wolf, people eventually tune you out.

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