Despite what the mainstream media had been telling us all along, Donald Trump defied all expectations and polling to win by a substantial number of congressional college votes, becoming the President of the USA and the most powerful man on earth, leaving all of us gobsmacked and scratching our heads as to how the media and pundits got things so wrong. Below are some reasons that might explain why Donald Trump won the election.
“It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS,” said Leslie Moonves, executive chairman and CEO of CBS. Over the course of his Republican primary campaign, Trump received over $2 billion of free coverage by the mainstream media, far more than any of his competitors. However, the excessive coverage wasn’t the only problem. The real problem was that the media failed to highlight any of the issues that Democrats might have liked them to cover, such as his six bankruptcies, the alleged scams he has run or the sexual assault allegations levelled against him by his ex-wife. In fact, the extremely corporatized mainstream media in the US has replaced objectivity with neutrality, so much so that it tries to draw false equivalencies between issues where there is none in an effort to avoid being called liberal. An accusation levelled at the media by Republicans and conservatives. An accusation that is considered to be a serious knock against the establishment credentials of a journalist in Washington. The corporate media, which is more concerned with putting on a good show to attract ratings than actually reporting the news properly, has sacrificed good journalistic standards.
Evidence has emerged that the Democratic National Conference (DNC), which is supposed to be impartial, headed by Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the former aide to Hillary Clinton, took a series of decisions designed to favour Hillary Clinton and stifle any opposition to her during the primaries. The DNC colluded with journalists to publish negative pieces about Bernie Sanders, conspired to attack him on his faith, took advice from a Clinton campaign lawyer and plotted a narrative about why Sanders’ campaign failed. The DNC’s joint fundraising committee with the Clinton campaign was found to be laundering money to the Clinton campaign instead of fundraising for down-ticket Democrats, who incidentally were defeated by the GOP, which kept control of the Senate. The primary debate schedule, also decided by the DNC, was designed in a way to minimise viewers, in a bid to keep people from becoming aware of Sanders’ anti-establishment and anti-donor message and to protect Clinton’s name recognition advantage. The majority of the 700 super delegates, the majority of whom were establishment figures in the Democratic party, sided with Clinton before the primaries even began. Despite the deck being stacked against him, Sanders, who had no name recognition on the national stage and was between 60-70 points behind Clinton at the start of the primaries, came extremely close to defeating her and could have possibly done so had it not been for the DNC’s underhanded tactics. After public outcry against Schultz caused her to resign from the DNC, she was employed by the Clinton campaign. By the way, her replacement, Donna Brazile, who was also a contributor on CNN, was recently forced to resign from CNN after it was revealed that she leaked questions from the CNN presidential debate to Clinton. The tragedy is that Sanders, with his clean image and reputation for honesty and being principled, polled far better against Trump than Clinton did.
Perhaps the biggest sin, committed jointly by the political and media establishment, was the fundamental misjudgement of the mood of voters in the country. The huge gap in productivity and worker income and the extreme level of income inequality in the US, which has not really improved under Obama, has led to strong anti-establishment and a populist sentiment among the people. In response, the Democratic establishment thought it was a wise move to promote a hated pro-establishment candidate while undermining democratic processes to stifle the Sanders campaign. Bernie Sanders’ anti-Wall Street and anti-big-donor message resonated strongly with the common American, who saw him as an alternative to pro-corporate candidates who had been disregarding their interests and wishes. Hillary Clinton made in one paid wall street speech what Bernie Sanders makes in one year. Sanders drew far greater crowds than Clinton throughout the primaries. On the other hand, the Republicans, even with all their faults, did not try to mess with the will of their voters and allowed the anti-establishment Trump to become their nominee. Ironically, this meant that the Republicans ended up fielding a populist candidate while the Democrats chose someone who is pro-corporate. The tragedy is that Sanders, with his squeaky clean image and reputation for honesty and being principled, might have beaten Trump in the polls.
The Clinton campaign showed utter contempt for the legions of young Sanders supporters, making no meaningful attempt to reach out to them. Hillary Clinton continued to propagate the same old corporate policies and refused to promise to adopt progressive policies that made Sanders so popular. This led them to vote in large numbers for third party candidates like libertarian Gary Johnson and Jill Stein from the Green party. Clinton’s unfavourable ratings were second only to Trump’s. However, the pro–Clinton media blamed the electorate for the low poll numbers Clinton was getting for some time. Thus, going by their past conduct, it is highly likely that they will again turn around and blame the reluctance of pro-Sanders voters to vote for Clinton rather than her policies. As for Trump supporters, they will all be denounced as racist xenophobes. While that is true to a distressingly large extent, it is the same mistake the political and media establishment of Britain made during the Brexit fiasco. Voters vote for sane candidates, like they did in 2008 for Barack Obama and would have this time for Bernie Sanders if they were given a chance to do so. The unwillingness of the elites to consider the views of ordinary people and their blanket dismissal of their legitimate grievances will only serve to alienate them further instead of uniting them against what may prove to be a tough four years.