Jim Geraghty is a regular read for me, and he notes: “Let’s begin with the obvious: I did not see that coming.” I need to start going with my gut more often, but I’m reluctant to make public predictions when the data is all over the place. I liked Glenn Reynolds “It’s 2016, anything can happen” schtick. But my prediction to Bitter a few weeks ago was “He’s going to tear through the rust belt, because he’s speaking their language. His supporters that think he has a shot at New York are nuts. Upstate will go Trump handily, but they can’t outvote New York City. If the T region of our state turns out, Trump has a shot at Pennsylvania. He could win it. The working class guys love him. They won’t listen to their unions.” I thought there was a decent chance Trump might lose a few unexpected western states that might possibly cost him the election, despite tearing through the rust belt states. Trump’s style seems more offensive to westerners. Trump lost Nevada, but the rest of the west held except for the states Republicans can’t ever win in.
I thought that Mitt Romney would have been the type of Republican Pennsylvanians would vote for, because when I was a kid growing up, he was. But most of those old time “good government” Republicans, the Rockefeller Republicans, are now Democratic voters. They are gone from the GOP. Trump won on the backs of rust belters who feel their best days are behind them. Those people used to vote Democratic, but now feel justifiably abandoned by the party. They were never very warm to Republicans either, which is why turnout was a problem until Trump. I believe Trump’s coalition shows a way forward for Republicans, if they can understand Trump’s liabilities while understanding his victory as well. What kind of candidate would it take to keep those voters turning out?