LOS ANGELES, November 9, 2016 — Last night was the culmination of the most significant political movement in modern U.S. history. The election comes with a number of lessons.
The mainstream media lost most of their credibility over the past year. Last night, their reactions helped explain Donald Trump’s success. The media and the Democratic establishment harbor genuine animosity toward Trump voters and Middle America in general. Whether it’s “bitter clingers,” “deplorables” or “terrorists,” the left makes it clear they don’t like conservatives. And last night, that came back to bite them in an epic way.
Brian Williams was stunned. Rachel Maddow couldn’t believe it. Wolf Blitzer looked like he just saw a ghost. It was surreal watching high-profile media figures who are paid large salaries to do this for a living completely miss the boat.
And miss the boat they did. For a year, the media said that Trump was a KKK sympathizer, a rapist, and a xenophobe. They literally threw everything they possibly could at him. It didn’t stick. Perhaps the country is starting to understand that ad hominem attacks are used by people who can’t deal with rational arguments. People who can’t talk about policy dismiss their opponents as racists.
This election wasn’t about that.
This election was about the men and women who have been left behind over the last eight years. The blue-collar workers who have seen their jobs shipped out of the country thanks to liberal trade policies finally had enough of the empty promises.
Ninety five million Americans are out of work thanks to the slowest economic recovery since World War II. Black Americans, according to Tavis Smiley, are doing far worse than they were eight years ago. America is dominated on the world stage by Russia, Iran, China and North Korea.
That’s what this election was about—not transgender bathrooms, but issues that affect Main Street.
The pollsters and pundits completely missed it. Some had the courage to admit it.
In case I wasn't clear enough from my previous tweets:
Hillary Clinton will be the next President of the United States. #ElectionNight
— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) November 8, 2016
Americans weren't just "mad as hell," but they also weren't going to take it anymore.
Pundits like me were too out-of-touch to see that.
— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) November 9, 2016
Luntz gets it. Will the rest of the mainstream media pick up on it?
Last night was a clear repudiation of the mainstream media. The networks focused on a crude Trump recording from 11 years ago, yet for years ignored allegations of rape against Bill Clinton. The media emphasized the “Trump as sexist and rapist” narrative while giving Hillary Clinton a pass on the outrageous WikiLeaks revelations.
What do steel workers in Youngstown—who turned out for a Republican for the first time in decades—care more about? Do they care more about Clinton’s declaration to Wall Street executives that she believes in the globalist ideology that is destroying their industry, or about Trump’s crude language 11 years ago?
This election was about the issues. The media didn’t get it. Some, like Van Jones, still don’t. They are doubling down on their claims that Trump’s voters were motivated by racism. The country made it abundantly clear last night that they believe the path we have been going down the last eight years is the wrong one.
For years, Americans have believed that the media control election outcomes and that the system only benefits the elites. Last night’s election reminds us that’s not the case. It reminds us that the people are ultimately the ones who are in charge, and that’s what makes this country so special. As corny as that sounds, it’s the undeniable reality.
The media can either understand that and work to regain their lost credibility, or they can make themselves completely irrelevant. The choice is theirs.