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    Legal Insurrection Authors Respond to Trump Victory

    Legal Insurrection Authors Respond to Trump Victory

    #NeverTrump, #FineWithTrump, and everything in between

    When Donald Trump clinched the Republican presidential nomination, we asked our fabulous bloggers to contribute their thoughts. It remains one of my all time favorite Legal Insurrection posts. Now that Trump is the president elect, have we changed our minds? Have our opinions evolved? Are we joyous, aggrieved?

    I guess you’ll have to read on to find out…

    William A. Jacobson

    There are so many thoughts about how we got here. The disconnect between the political class, centered around a small number of big cities, and the rest of the country was enormous. That was compounded by evidence that the media was collusive with the Democrats, laid out in the Wikileaks releases. Hillary’s email and server scandal ate away at her like rust.

    Trump’s victory presents enormous potential. All of Obama’s unlawful executive orders and actions can be rescinded with the stroke of a pen. The Obama legacy can be unraveled in a matter of days.

    With Republicans holding the House and the Senate, an agenda actually can be accomplished. I think it’s up to us to do the best we can to make sure that the agenda passed is one that protects our individual liberties, lessens the imposition of government into our lives, frees the economy, and is in the best security interest of the country. So when Trump and Congress move in that direction, I’ll fully support them. But I’ll also be prepared to oppose any actions that infringe our rights.

    Trump’s victory speech struck the right tone. He call on everyone to come together. He didn’t seek to vanquish his enemies. I hope he keeps that tone, but doesn’t relent on his promise to change the way government and the political elites work.

    Kemberlee Kaye

    Regular readers are aware of my disdain for Trump. I don’t like him. I didn’t vote for him. I did not buy into nor would I perpetuate the binary choice myth. That said, as in 2008, I would love nothing more than to be wrong about our president elect. I’m also thrilled Hillary and crew lost. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer gang of power hoarders. But my hope is not now nor has it ever been in our elected officials.

    There’s so much to unpack from last night’s results. My reaction CliffsNotes:

    2016 claims the lives of Polling and other Campaign Wisdom
    I fully expected a very tight race, but I figured the seemingly unstoppable Clinton machine would claim the victory. Not only were late polls all within the margin of error, but my inbox these months past was filled with readers who supported Trump, but were afraid to share their support publicly for fear of retribution. If we learned anything from 2012, it was that polling, particularly polling averages, was jacked. Were polls rigged? I wouldn’t go that far, but the methodology is archaic and is no longer an accurate predictor of electoral outcomes.

    Another interesting consequence of the 2016? The death of conventional political campaign wisdom. Trump had no ground game, burned through numerous campaign managers, was outspent, and still managed to pull off the upset. Trump did everything “wrong” and yet he defeated not just a political foe, but a nasty political machine. The disconnect between the political class and the electorate has only grown these past few election cycles, coming to a head in 2016. Conventional wisdom might still apply in some local races, but it’s a brave new world out there.

    The Hillary candidacy
    How terrible a candidate was Hillary? So bad she failed to ride her “first woman president” card into the White House and lost against a bad-haired, chauvinistic celebrity. Turns out progressive entitlement can achieve many things, but it doesn’t guarantee a win. How frightening it must be in Clintonland with growing legal issues and no presidency as a shield.

    Seeing red
    This is 2014 all over again. Not only did Republicans retain control of Congress, but state houses nation-wide remain overwhelming red.

    Political parties in disarray
    Both political establishments were bested this election cycle. The Democrats lost when they put all their money on Hillary The Inevitable. Life is not any easier for the Republicans who saw massive dissension after nominating Trump. Both quakes are welcome.

    Beyond the party tumult is the schism between conservatism and the Republican party. Should conservatives leave and start anew or attempt to rebuild within the existing coalition? Both prospects are daunting.

    The only expectation I have of elected officials is that they fail to live up to expectations. I remain skeptical of Trump and his despotic tendencies. But skepticism of elected officials is healthy. Trump won, Republicans maintain control of The Hill — they better not eff it up this time. Individual liberty must be guarded vigilantly, even, and especially after electoral victory when the temptation to hang out and ride the waves is strongest. We’ll finally be able to gauge Republican seriousness on legislative issues like the repeal of Obamacare.

    What’s next?
    Little has changed from my initial reaction to Trump’s ascension to party nominee. I have always and still believe that our best hope of change is not in our elected officials. Months ago I wrote:

    Am I rudderless, distraught, or incensed because Trump is the Republican presumptive nominee? Never. I still believe America is the best damn country God ever gave to mankind. We were birthed out of loathe for traditional rule and for many of us, that hasn’t changed. We survived a turbulent infancy, realigned out of necessity, withstood a Civil War and dire economic conditions and we’re still standing. I’ve worked on campaigns, organized grassroots coalitions, exposed corruption, and have had the privilege of telling people’s stories. I still believe our best hope of changing course is not in the ballot box, but in our communities, families, and culture. From the day I accidentally ended up in the conservative movement, working to restore dignity to our way of life has been my focus. That has not changed because of our nominee. Politicians are not our leaders, nor are they our rulers. They are employed for one reason — to represent us.

    I will not espouse hatred of those who hold opinions contrary to my own, but will always fight with love. My vote is no more important than yours or his or hers. “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly,” wrote Martin Luther King, Jr. from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama. “Let us fight passionately and unrelentingly to the goals of justice. Let’s be sure that our hands are clean. Let us never fight with falsehood an violence and hate and malice, but always fight with love,” he said. The road ahead is rough and rocky, but I remain hopeful that America’s best days lie ahead. There is always hope, even when we struggle to see it. Elections are important and have consequences for supporters and dissenters alike, but our best hope of righting the ship is in how we live.

    This is the core of what I believe and what I attempt to accomplish daily, both here on the blog and in real life. Regardless of how this election pans out, life and its most important bits — family, love, friendship, and kindness, remain unchanged. The sun will still rise tomorrow and we all have a destiny to fulfill.

    I remember what 2008 felt like and how scary it was to imagine what an Obama presidency might be like. Half the country is experiencing that same unsettled fear. We’d all be better offer extending a hand, offering encouragement, and finding common ground than yielding to the “I told you so, we won! nah nah nah!” temptation. The last eight years have been horribly divisive. It’s up to us to mend the divide. For better or worse, we’re all in this together.

    Mary Chastain

    My reaction: I chose #NeverHillary. I don’t like Trump. I didn’t support him. But thank goodness the Clinton machine is done. Hillary scared me more than Obama ever did. Oh, 2016…..weirdest year ever.

    Fuzzy Slippers

    Trump wins the White House, and we keep the House and the Senate; the media is stunned, the Democrats are stunned, the GOP is stunned. Heck, I’m stunned. I thought Hillary would win, or at least that trunks of Hillary ballots would mysteriously appear. Seriously, though, this is not only an historic election, but a transformational one. Americans just announced that we are well and truly fed up with the hubris and failed policies of the progressive left (and right).

    Trump campaigned on undoing everything Obama and the Democrats did to our nation. From ObamaCare to the bad deal with Iran to the irrational “lead from behind” foreign policy and impotence against ISIS to the lackadaisical approach to national security to the lawlessness of the various executive agencies . . . all of it has just been rebuked. America didn’t want four more years of Obama, and we certainly didn’t want it in the person of Hillary Clinton.

    It wasn’t only a rebuke of Obama but also of the entire political class. The litany of broken campaign promises and subsequent inaction, the plowing forward with policies and agendas that go against the will of the people, and the utter lack of respect for the ordinary Americans who elected them had finally ticked off enough Americans that they rose up and did something about it.

    It remains to be seen if there is any real change or if we are in for more of the same, but it is my hope that–this time, finally–politicians in Washington get it and start representing us in Washington, not dictating to us from Washington.

    Whatever happens, though, one thing seems clear: we just witnessed a revolution, American-style. No torches and pitchforks, no muskets at the ready, just a a good old-fashioned election that has the potential to, quite literally, change the world. After all, Obama certainly changed the world . . . and not for the better. Hopefully, Trump, along with the Republican-controlled House and Senate, will be able to clean up Obama’s mess and get us on the right track again both abroad and at home.

    I want Trump to be a great president. It is my sincere hope that he will be.

    Leslie Eastman

    It appears with his election win that we have reached “Peak Trump.” While I won’t gloat too much, I feel entitled to crow a bit…considering I remained optimistic about Trump’s chances in the wake of significant gaslighting. I will also be relishing a little shadenfredude, too. I think Professor Jacobson is right when he says the biggest loser is the press, because of its blatant bias in campaign coverage. Personally, I refused to watch election night cable news punditry and relied on internet reports for real-time data. Tomorrow, I stop tending bar in the bar car of the “Trump Train” and continue working to make sure our representatives represent us instead of the powerful and politically connected.

    Mark Finkelstein

    Trump’s win gives me great hope. Not so much in him, as in the American people. Nations and civilizations rise and fall, and I have been deeply concerned that America was edging close to the point of no return. But tonight Americans have sent a signal that they want to preserve our country, our culture and our civilization. There is much work ahead to undo the statist decay. But tonight was a huge and necessary step.

    Vijeta Uniyal

    This might come as a rude shock to political pundits on this side of the Atlantic, but for those of us living in Post-Brexit Europe this is Deja Vu all over again.

    Let me take this opportunity to congratulate President Trump on winning this election. Whatever political positions we may hold, we can all acknowledge that he has a fought a tough electoral battle against all odds.

    This is a “teachable moment” for conservative politicians in Europe and in rest of the free world. Even with mainstream media, cultural elites and celebrities all rooting for the other side, our message still hasn’t lost its resonance among the voters.

    President Trump has won on promises of securing the border, protecting industrial jobs, and fighting Islamic terrorism. A secure and prosperous America can do a lot of good to the rest of the world.

    I now hope that over-hyped celebrities like Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus and Reverend Al Sharpton would keep the promise they made to American voters and move north of the border. But something tells me, these divas will still be around preforming the same old act when President Trump runs for the second term.

    Prof. Miriam Elman

    Election Night proved how very wrong polls can be (for an exception see how historian Allan J. Lichtman called it right here). The nail-biting night also showed how disconnected and out of touch the liberal mainstream media is from the American people. After eight years of disastrous foreign policiespolarizing domestic politics, and the slowest economic recovery in 70 years, this election cycle from the get-go should’ve been a referendum on the Obama Presidency and Hillary Clinton’s dreadful record.  Instead, for months American voters were subjected to wild accusations that the Republican Party candidate is Hitler (he’s not, and saying so was indecent and obscene).

    Trump’s campaign has energized and considerably strengthened the American right’s bigoted underbelly—especially on social media. Not an anti-Semite himself, Trump has nonetheless become the “poster-boy” for a collection of “gutter voices”—anti-Semites, racists and white supremacists—whose endorsements and crackpottery he (or at least his campaign) seemed to tacitly accept. But here’s the thing: shrill and unsubstantiated claims in the media that a President Trump would “rampage through government” as an authoritarian dictator (see, for example, here and here) also served as a vehicle for disparaging and demoralizing the millions of “ordinary, working-class Americans” who aren’t irredeemable haters and in fact harbor no ill-will toward their fellow Americans. They supported Trump—and turned out yesterday in large numbers to vote for him in places like Michigan and Ohio—on account of their legitimate concernsabout economic exclusion, blighted cities, poorly-crafted trade deals, and generous bank bailouts.

    Now that Trump has won the White House, it worth re-reading last weekend’s Wall Street Journal editorial. In it, the case was made for Trump as a political disruptor—the fixer of a broken Washington that could only be “shaken up and refocused” by an outsider beholden to neither political party. It’s the key to understanding Trump’s success. Championing himself as such a change agent, Trump created his own populist political brand, effectively building a movement among the party’s dissatisfied rank-and-file. Someone with a different temperament might have kept the focus on necessary pro-growth domestic reforms without abrogating the traditions of American conservatism in the process. But Trump couldn’t help but be a brash and crude “insult clown” who in the course of his campaign managed to alienate and offend nearly every American ethnic and religious minority group, also repelling a huge number of women and younger voters along the way. So Election Night made one thing crystal clear: only a candidate as personally and ideologically flawed as Trump could’ve almost lost a race that—given how obviously unpopular a candidate Clinton really was—just about any Republican nominee would have easily won.

    What most concerns me is the gamble of a Trump Presidency for U.S. national security. Many astute observers and practitioners of U.S. foreign policy have deemed Trump “beyond repair”—for good reason. But neither his isolationist ‘Fortress America’ impulses nor his bizarre bromance with Vladimir Putin seemed to matter much to U.S. voters yesterday. Basically, Trump’s astonishing victory underscores that America’s elite establishment can no longer ignore the white-working-class vote. Plus, you can only call hard-working Americans with real problems deplorable, racist bigots for so long before they reject you. It’s a lesson that Hillary Clinton learned last night the hard way.

    David Gerstman

    My first reaction to the presidential election was that I can’t imagine a worse candidate than Hillary Clinton. How could she lose to Trump? But then I noticed that Republicans not just held the House but the Senate too, and it’s clear that there’s something bigger going on. This wasn’t just Trump’s victory, it was Obama’s defeat. As those who read Legal Insurrection there was Solyndra, Cash for Clunkers, ObamaCare, the nuclear deal with Iran, and the IRS scandal, for example, which were abuses of power, disasters or expensive (or some combination) and there was no accountability for any of them. Solyndra was green energy, so it was good. but it turned out that the administration pushed for a half billion worth of loans to the company, which then failed. There was no MSM inquiry (George Kaiser, a big Obama donor had a major stake in Solyndra). The loan to Solyndra was an example of bad judgment that wasn’t penalized. And many people probably look at Solyndra and the other episodes listed above and say, “look something went wrong, where is the accountability?” Obama pursued bad policies and its the people who are paying for them.

    Remember during his first campaign Obama said, “This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” It as if he believed that his words and eloquence could affect nature. Repeal the laws of supply and demand. Make a rogue nation behave. And he treated anyone who didn’t believe in the power of his ideas to be an unsophisticated rube or an untrustworthy scoundrel. And there was a fawning media and entertainment industry telling us that his policies were historic, when we could see that they were flights of fancy that bore no resemblance to reality. So the political class and its media allies lost their credibility and trust with large sections of the country. But they were so convinced of their brilliance and sophistication that they never considered that they, and the man they promoted could be wrong.

    In many ways, the earthy, profane Donald Trump is a reaction to the phony legend of Barack Obama.

    Anne Sorock

    George Will suggested late Tuesday night that a Trump victory means our country is “no longer the center-right nation” the (his) Republican Party had once thought it was.

    With that statement Will confirmed the unrelenting tone-deafness he and his fellow pundits, pollsters, research performance artists, and assorted #NeverTrumpers carry with them happily into defeat.

    They love their paradigm, this insider group, though it was rejected thoroughly and unequivocally Tuesday (and earlier, had they cared to pay attention).

    If Will and others feel the GOP electorate has left them, they might rightly ask if they ever wanted to keep its company. Especially, if it meant listening to the American people instead of themselves. You know, the Deplorables.

    As a market researcher who has been studying the deepest motivations of the electorate as they relate to politics for more than ten years, the victory was no surprise. The core of our profession is to listen, and this is what I heard – not just tonight but over the past several years, beginning most prominently with the Tea Party:

    Our fractured culture is not fundamentally divided on our opinion about size of government; this fails to capture the heart of the matter.
    Instead, how do our political parties and leaders view the everyday American (elitism), and do they fundamentally believe America is a unique and sovereign nation (globalism).

    Trump’s leadership resonated exactly because of his temperament.

    Once again, the polls—like the pundits—got it disastrously wrong. Polling has a problem in this day and age, foremost that the polls are only as good as the questions you ask. When you’re oblivious to the pulse of the nation, you can’t query the same issues and data points and expect to get insightful or accurate predictions.

    My counsel to those hoping to push back against the truly insidious and dangerous antithesis to the new party defined by sovereignty and the outsider Americans:

    Get schooled, quickly, on how and why the old issues aren’t adequate for understanding and predicting future political behavior.
    Reject your old market-research consultant class; the pollsters and focus-groupers have failed you. The methodologies are stale and inadequate for today.
    Listen first, the voters will tell you what they want.

    Finally, reject the flippant term “low-information voter,” which is simply the GOP’s way of referring to Hillary Clinton’s basket of deplorables. That low-information voter just schooled you on the most important issues to a nation that desires to continue its existence. Congratulations to a well-deserved victory to Trump and the promise of beginning the long fight back against more insidious forces than George Will could dream of within his small-government paradigm.

    Anne in PT

    I have been no fan of Trump (to put it mildly!) . His volatility, his arrogance and lack of all political experience have been a great off-putter, I won’t even mention his attitude towards women and minorities, but then again, there are plenty who are just as bad in the Democrats.

    But I’m even less of a fan of Clinton, Her corruption, her wicked cronies, the crooked advisers and antisemitic, anti-Israel assistants are enough to make anyone sick, so I am so relieved that she will not be entering the White House.

    Now that Trump has been elected I hope he can surround himself with good,solid advisers who can help guide him through the coming months and years. If he can put a lid on his volatility that will be even better.

    The feeling in Israel is one of shock and jubilation in certain quarters. We went to bed (so to speak!) with Clinton and woke up with Trump. But we should have known better. We should have taken into account the media bias that pervades political reporting everywhere.

    What I find incredible is how the left fell for their own propaganda, believing the skewed opinion polls, the exit polls (don’t they KNOW that people will lie in exit polls because they don’t want to give an advantage to the opposition?). We Israelis are past masters at false advertising, biased media, even our own domestic media, and the pressure from the left.

    The left deserve all the schadenfreude they are getting now.

    In truth I and all Israelis were hoping that America would send a great “eff you” to Obama and his leftist minions. And America came through. I just hope that Trump is the answer for all of us: for America, for Israel and for the civilized world.

    Andrew Branca

    Hey, Obama: WE WON.


    One of the most divisive and surprising campaign seasons in history is over, and Donald Trump will become our next president, with a Congress controlled by Republican majorities in both houses. This is a rare opportunity that has come very seldom for the right.

    No matter who had won this election—Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump—about half of the people in this country would have been beside themselves with anxiety, fear, and/or rage. Some of them were already beside themselves at the prospect of either becoming president. This is what is meant by “divisiveness,” and this is something with which the new president will have to contend, after a very close election. Trump’s acceptance speech was a very welcome first step.

    Donald Trump may be feeling a great many emotions right now, too. One of them is probably triumph, and another is sweet sweet vindication. He has been so despised for so long, by so many people on both sides, that as president he will have an opportunity to exceed those low expectations in a positive way and prove them wrong. He certainly has exceeded expectations already, as far as his ability to get votes goes. Let’s hope he exceeds expectations for his ability to navigate the treacherous waters of international affairs, the economy, race relations, immigration, and all the problems this divided and troubled world faces in the 21st Century.

    I was listening to Fox News late last night and heard pundit Monica Crowley say, “This is the most astounding political story of our lifetimes.” I’ve been around for quite a while, and I am in agreement with her.

    Follow Kemberlee on Twitter @kemberleekaye


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    MarkSmith | November 10, 2016 at 10:28 am

    I like this from the Treehouse:

    So far it appears the missing 2016 voting bloc was the cocktail class (Never Trump) strain of the GOPe. Together with the Romney, Bush, Mcain, Ryan progressive GOPe types.

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