By Robert Mann
Over the past 18 months, I’ve opined about the wacky 2016 presidential election more than any other subject. I ventured many predictions — some of them accurate, others not so much. Now that it’s over, let’s review my mistakes. And please indulge me for noting where I was on target.
I agreed with most experts that Hillary Clinton would win. In early October, I wrote about the Louisiana Republican leaders who, after endorsing Donald Trump, distanced themselves from him. While I accurately predicted they would ignore Trump through the Nov. 8 election, I suspect the next statement will be proved wrong: “After which they will pretend they never knew him.” To the contrary, I believe people like U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise and Sen. Bill Cassidy wish they had been more vocal about their support of Trump.
In August, regarding the GOP’s nomination of Trump, I wrote: “Sensible Republicans realize that this is not a bad dream. It’s an existential threat to their party.” I was referring to the damage Trump’s nomination would do to the party’s standing among young voters. “A party hell-bent on driving away millions of young people and minorities cannot lead a diverse, multicultural nation,” I wrote.
While I maintain that, long term, the GOP is not poised for success with millennials and minorities, no one is writing its obituary today. Instead, it is the Democratic Party that lies in shambles.
Over the months, I wrote about the need for young people to do what their elders wouldn’t — reject Trump’s bigotry. “[Y]our elders are about to drive this country into the abyss by voting for Donald Trump,” I wrote in September. “Like it or not, your generation, along with black and Latino voters, is all that stands in the way of a Trump presidency.”
I believed voters under 30 might save the country from Trump. Instead, while a strong majority of them voted for Clinton, they turned out in relatively anemic numbers. They represented only 19 percent of the electorate. Meanwhile, voters over age 50 were 45 percent of voters.
Regarding evangelical support for Trump, I was correct in predicting many “may be duped or irrational enough to elect a man whose policies are about as unchristian as anyone who has ever sought the presidency. The chilling prospect of a hatemonger like Trump in the White House should be enough to put the fear of God into almost anyone — even an atheist.” It wasn’t. Eighty-one percent of white evangelicals supported Trump.
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