Why Donald Trump’s Electoral College Victory Came as No Surprise: A Cliff Notes on Bellwether Predictors for Presidential Elections

Posted on November 10, 2016

Steve Mensing, Editor

♦ People who know me personally will recall me saying that Donald Trump had a really good shot at winning the presidency despite the mainstream media’s incredibly slanted reporting and what the alleged polls said.  I learned many years ago from my dad “Wild Bill” Mensing, an investigative journalist and labor editor for the Philadelphia Inquirer back in the day when journalistic ethics were still in vogue (late 40’s early 50’s), that two bellwether predictors of presidential elections existed.  Those two bellwether predictors still work today.

The size of the crowds attending rallies and public gatherings.  A huge predictor of the candidate’s popularity.  All across the United States Donald Trump and Mike Pence were drawing immense crowds while Hillary and her running mate were not doing so hot. You’d see 10,000 at a Trump rally and it would be reported as 200 (WRAL?).

Does the candidate connect emotionally with Mr. and Mrs. Everyman–the silent majority? This is really important. If the candidate comes across as too intellectual, too much in their head, or spews out too many words the average Joe and Jill needs to locate in their large print dictionary, they will have a challenge connecting with Mr. and Mrs. Everyman. Do they have the “he or she is like us” factor? Donald Trump when he was giving public talks and hiking his two thumbs up came across more like Mr. and Mrs. Everyman. A lot of folks cheered his unfiltered politically incorrectness.

Here’s some past presidential campaign examples. Back in 1948 Harry Truman ran against Thomas Dewey. Harry Truman connected with the everyman. Easily. Thomas Dewey, who ran against Truman, was emotionally cutoff. He lacked the all important emotional connection. In 1952 Gen. Eisenhower, although a highly educated individual and a former president of Columbia University, never lost his common touch. He sounded like an easy going Kansas wheat farmer with no pretentions. He connected with his troops and he connected with the American public. His opponent was Adlai Stevenson, a cerebral sounding intellectual who was a geyser of uncommon verbiage. He was trampled in a landslide.

Other examples of candidates who didn’t connect with Mr. and Mrs. Everyman were Michael Dukakis, John Kerry, and Al Gore (Remember Al’s signature eye-rolls?) Dubya Bush connected. Bill Clinton connected. Ronald Reagan connected.

Go back and review past presidential elections and view the newsreels and YouTube videos. How many folks attended the candidate’s rallies? Did the candidate connect to Mr. and Mrs. Everyman?

P.S. I thought it was really mature the way President O’Bama and President Elect Trump buried the hatchet for the sake of a good transition. Sour grapes are a waste of time.

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