Politics, Moderate



One year ago

Kathleen Parker on

WASHINGTON -- 'Tis the season of looking back, which brings us inevitably to Election Day 2016.

Donald Trump's victory places last year as one of the most significant in modern American history. Not only did he change how politics is played, but he probably destroyed the Republican Party as we knew it. Most important, he will go down as one of the most effective politicians of all time, at least beyond the Beltway.

As with other course-altering events -- 9/11, the moon landing, the assassinations of Martin Luther King and the Kennedys, many will remember where they were when the reality of a Trump presidency hit them.

Plenty of people had already gone to bed on Election Night, believing that Clinton would win. But those who stayed awake were reminded yet again that it's not over until it's over. In a word: Pennsylvania.

Trump already had been declared the projected winner in other swing states -- Florida, North Carolina and Ohio -- and was leading in traditionally Democratic-leaning Michigan and Wisconsin. But when Pennsylvania was called late in the night, countless Americans stared at their screens in disbelief.

Trump had won.


As sleepyheads awoke the next morning to the startling news, a massive thought-cloud settled over the nation. It contained just three letters, the first two of which were WT.

What happened, actually?

Much commentary and several books, including Clinton's own, have attempted an explanation. Voter intensity for Trump was stronger than for Clinton; his surge was larger than hers; many Democrats stayed home because they didn't like Clinton; others were bitter at how they felt Bernie Sanders had been treated during the primaries by the Democratic National Committee via the Clintons.

More to the precise point, in Pennsylvania as elsewhere, Trump's dominance in rural areas overshadowed Clinton's wins in urban areas. Specifically, the deplorables were out of the basket and setting the establishment on fire.


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