How did (most of) the political and media establishment get Tuesday’s election so wrong?
Inside the Beltway, and in enclaves of “elite” thought around the country, there was a strong sense up until the returns began to come in that Democrat Hillary Clinton would be the next president of the United States.
Even the Republican National Committee, which supported Donald Trump, thought Mrs. Clinton would win, as of late last week. The RNC’s assessment was based on “ sophisticated predictive modeling,” shared with reporters privately last Friday.
Now, on the day after Mr. Trump’s stunning victory, the sober assessments of why most pundits got it wrong are rolling in.
So how did Trump pull it off?
“He was an imperfect candidate with a near-perfect message,” says Republican strategist Ford O’Connell. “Everyone was focused on his flaws, and the words that came out of his mouth. But his message was powerful.”
His message was, essentially, “government is not working for you,” says Mr. O’Connell. “People want safety and security, both in defending the country and economically. He struck a responsive chord.”
The “hidden vote” that Trump tapped into included not just working-class white men but also married white women, O’Connell notes. Trump also scored well among college-educated white men.