The Teachout campaign blames the attack ads, but those ads for the most part just called attention to the fact that she is not a native to the district, that she is an urbanist and a newcomer, all true. She lost because she did not pick up enough votes from independents or Republicans. She lost because she emphasized her sympathy for Bernie Sanders and not fiscal prudence; she failed to establish empathy for her rural voters. She talked about her favorite subject, money in politics, but that subject was not the voters’ favorite subject. The voters liked Faso because he is what they want – conservative, mild mannered, loyal to the party and distrustful of big government.
She portrayed an image of the aggressive idealist preaching about ideas. Ideas are dangerous to a majority of voters. Obscure ideas even more so. She was over their heads and besides the point. Her rural voters didn’t get it. Besides, they vote Republican and she wasn’t a Republican.
As for the presidential race, there were just too many voters who didn’t want Hillary in the White House. There were too many voters who were tired of her voice, her rhetoric, her face. They didn’t want four more years of her. So they voted for the other guy. The billionaire. The guy who talked like they talked, not in sentences and not in logic, but on topics they had feelings about like illegal immigrants, minorities and Muslims.
The outcome is an embarrassment. We are following in the footsteps of Poland, Rumania, Turkey and Russia, all of which have reactionary, egotistical leaders that inflame an intense nationalism, patriotism, small-mindedness and militarism. But unlike Putin, Trump has no experience in government and is particularly ignorant of foreign affairs. Both the campaign and his transition team are conspicuous for their lack of talent or expertise. Let’s hope there is an awakening, a change in style and in personnel. We can only hope.
Democrats will ask, What went wrong? Everyone will ask, Who are these people who are heading to the White House? Who indeed? How will Trump insulate himself from his businesses? How can Rudy Giuliani, Gov. Christie and Roger Ailes find the middle when they are also so enraptured by the glories of victory? They think their positions have been ratified. These are not men likely to suddenly swerve towards compromise.