Well, whaddaya know. There really was a “hidden Trump vote” after all.
For months almost every opinion poll had Democrat Hillary Clinton firmly holding onto her No. 1 position in the presidential race. No problem, said Republican Donald Trump’s team, which claimed a “hidden vote”: Trump voters who didn’t want to admit their choice to pollsters.
Preposterous thought. Numerous pollsters with sophisticated computers constantly belching out data, there was no way a hidden block of voters was eluding their scrutiny.
Until President-elect Trump.
Somewhere, I imagine, Mike Royko is smiling.
The late Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and champion of working stiffs in his beloved Chicago and elsewhere used to be so annoyed by political pollsters that in the early 1980s he urged his people to lie to them.
At that time, he didn’t have much success, perhaps because people were not sufficiently embarrassed by whom they were voting for. Today’s Trump voters apparently don’t share that same level of enthusiasm.
What they do share is a towering discontent with the political status quo and the leaders of both parties’ establishments. Why not lie to pollsters? By Trumpian reasoning, the pollsters are part of the “corrupt establishment” too.
Whether by accident or design, Trump tapped into that discontent and, along the way, flagrantly demonized immigrants, Latinos, Muslims and at least one “nasty woman,” in his view, Hillary Clinton.
And the more we media workers and other critics criticized him, the more his loyal base embraced him and cheered him on.
I and numerous other commentators criticized him as a flawed messenger for otherwise legitimate issues, but now I eagerly wait to see how well he delivers on his grandiose promises.
With that in mind, it was a relief to hear the softened tone of his acceptance speech. He did a darn good job of praising Clinton’s public service which he repeatedly ridiculed as “just words” in their debates. Maybe he won’t appoint a special prosecutor to go after her for allegedly mishandling classified material in her emails.
I appreciated his call for unity and a binding of wounds with people from both parties, many of whom he had trashed. And I can hardly wait to see his outreach to Muslims and immigrants whom he repeatedly stereotyped as murderers, rapists, etc.
But I really look forward to how he is going to “repeal Obamacare and replace it with something terrific,” as he has promised the millions of people who now rely on President Obama’s Affordable Care Act for health insurance coverage.
I look forward to how he is going to “open the coal mines again” and “bring our manufacturing jobs back from overseas” and other miracles.
And I want to see how he is going to “defeat ISIS and do it quickly.” After all, he says he knows “more about ISIS than the generals do,” right? But he can’t tell us how he’s going to do it until after we elect him. OK, Donald, it’s your move.
Trump even became something of a culture warrior, when he wasn’t bragging about groping women. He battled against political correctness and pinned breathtakingly obnoxious nicknames on his rivals, like “Lyin’ Ted,” “Little Marco,” “Low-energy Jeb” and “Crooked Hillary.”
The Manhattan billionaire is, in short, a class clown who – to everyone’s great astonishment – has been elected class president.
“Now it’s time for America to bind the wounds of division,” he said in his acceptance speech, using a voice of reason that we seldom have heard from him before. “We have to get together. To all Republicans, Democrats and independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people.”
Right. Now that he has mercilessly trashed those who dared to get in his way, he want us to come together. Fine. But a bigger job soon will rest on his shoulders. Whether he ever really expected to get this far or not, he now has to deliver.
Otherwise he risks disappointing and even offending the folks who elected him. Yet some already have told me they don’t really expect him to make good on all of his promises to bring back the coal mines and steel mills and build a border wall and “make Mexico pay for it.”
Whether he delivers on that or not, they say, they’re just happy that Trump, unlike his more conventional office-seekers, was willing to say what they’ve been thinking.
Reach Clarence Page at firstname.lastname@example.org.