Donald Trump is going to win.
OK, so who said that?
Not the polls. Not the media. Not the pundits, not the analysts, not the pollies, not even Donald Trump’s fellow Republicans.
So who said it?
You did. Our readers. Over and again, in comments on our website and in letters to our editor-in-chief, you said it: Trump is going to win. So what did you know that the vast majority of pundits and pollsters did not?
I’ve gone back to have a look. Some weeks back, I wrote a column for this page in which I asked readers to imagine Trump running for office here in Australia. Would he have any support?
My view then was that Americans were “thirsting for a Reagan-style leader who believes in the individual and in the superiority of Western culture who will say: ‘It’s morning again in America.’ Somebody who believes that capitalism — bold, enriching capitalism — is the best way to drag millions and then billions of people out of poverty; who is tired of being told that wealth must be redistributed to those who didn’t earn it; who believes in merit, and reward for sacrifice; who can’t bear the stultifying political correctness of daily life any longer”.
But I still didn’t think Trump could win because “he has failed the character test. That is why he won’t be elected on November 8.”
You responded in huge numbers, saying: “I’d vote for him!”
The most succinct comment was this one: “You’re wrong, Caroline. He is going to win.”
I remember sitting back watching as one comment after another, most of them exactly like that, came rolling in. Hillary Clinton will be beaten. Trump is going to win.
Some readers didn’t go quite that far, saying only that Trump should win because they admired his success as a businessman. One said: “I’d like to see Trump win … we’ve been locked in the grip of the ‘experts’ (aka elites) for so long people have begun to forget what it’s like when a country rewards those who do, who build, create and produce for their country, as well as it rewards those who, like Caroline, merely pontificate.” Another said: “His work ethic is incredible … I would vote for him in a heartbeat.”
Many readers liked the fact Trump operated outside the political machine, with one saying: “I discount all the affected alarm that Trump is a loose cannon and unable to do the job. First, he will grow into the job. Second, he will pick people of competence to advise him. Third, having achieved office without the funding or support of the political establishment and vested interest groups he can make a start on implementing his policies. He will not be beholden to the usual powers who gave donations but now want influence and favours in return.”
Trump’s policies, particularly on immigration, obviously came into play for some readers, as in this comment: “And what’s wrong with wanting to control your own borders?”
Huge numbers of people complained about the stultifying political correctness of modern society, such as here: “The reason that Trump and our own Pauline Hanson are doing so well is that the majority in the electorate are sick and tired of being addressed as children and told how deplorable they are and told what to think by our supposed intellectual superiors … Unfortunately, the vast majority of our political elite are nothing but left-wing patsies, jerked around by whatever happens to be ‘trending’ on Twitter on any given day.”
Also this: “Let me go through some of the reasons I would vote for an Aussie Trump. I am fed up to the back teeth with political correctness virtually every way I turn. I would like to say what I feel about society without having to be careful about the way I phrase things, you know, to be able to say things straight out and honestly: no weasel words.”
And: “I will vote for Trump. I am tired of the ideological totalitarianism of the Left … It will be as good as Brexit.” And: “Judging by most of these comments it’s clear that the vast majority of this paper’s subscribers refuse to be brainwashed … Trump never stood up and claimed that he was the perfect candidate groomed from a young age and born to rule. He is an average guy who says average things that appeal to average people.”
And: “Every single exit poll from his rallies say: ‘I don’t agree with everything Trump says but I support his direction for America.’ ” And: “I personally don’t agree with everything Trump says or all of his policies but I would have to vote for him in Australia because I hate political correctness so much.”
Deep animosity towards Clinton — the money she has made, the deals she has done, the crooked nature of her public service — came up quite a lot, such as here: “The reason the race is so close is the fact that Hillary is such an appalling candidate.” And: “I would rather vote for Donald Trump than Clinton who is the most corrupt candidate of all time.”
The idea that US voters might be saying one thing to pollsters while planning to do another when they got into the ballot box also came up quite a lot, such as here: “I can think of four colleagues, all degree qualified engineering professionals, who all indicated they would vote for Trump, even though none of them would admit it in public.”
And here: “Yes, a friend of mine was saying he cannot understand the polls saying Hillary is going to win, he told me they say one thing to the pollsters and another when they actually vote.”
At one point, a commenter jumped into this stream, saying: “Overington, have you noticed a common theme in the comments? Overwhelming support for Trump!”
The polls were wrong, yet the signs were there. Trump tapped into a deep well of dissatisfaction with the way politics is played. But there was more to it than that: people like and admire him as a businessman, whereas they don’t like Clinton very much at all. And this was a two-horse race.
He was always going to win. But I don’t need to tell you that. You called it weeks ago. Trump’s US election: Writing was clearly on the wall for all readers here to see