Lessons Learned from the 2016 Election

Polls. Seriously? Margin of error: plus or minus 25 points.

There’s a whole lot of grievance out there, especially among white voters, 58% of whom voted for the winner.

The endorsements of the Ku Klux Klan newspaper and David Duke can help you, or at least not hurt you.

A history of infidelities and groping women you don’t even know can help you, or at least not hurt you.

A letter from the Director of the FBI to congressional leaders eleven days before the election casting possible aspersions on your integrity, followed by another letter a few days later saying never mind—sorry, got it wrong, doesn’t help you.

Getting the most votes doesn’t mean you win. Of course we’ve known that for a couple of centuries. This is the fifth presidential election—count ‘em, five—where the person with fewer votes won.

We have learned that there is not the least outrage at that particular fact; what we don’t know is why. We teach our kids that in a democracy, the majority—meaning the most votes—wins.

And while we’re on the subject of the infamous electoral college, we know (and have long known) that your presidential vote doesn’t count if you are a Democrat in Mississippi, nor does it count if you are a Republican in California. And it will be that way for a long, long time, if not forever, unless the electoral college is abandoned in favor of the popular vote or significantly modified to split all states’ electoral votes proportionately to their popular votes—the latter of which presumably would not require a constitutional change.

Still on the subject of the infamous electoral college, its all-or-nothing approach means that all the attention is on “battleground” states, and even their individual counties, meaning that their votes really count.

Discussing the size of your privates in a primary debate energizes your supporters.

Making public your federal income tax returns is totally unnecessary if you are being audited.

Lying on a titanic scale, even on matters that video and audiotapes can reveal as untrue, is not only not discouraged, but can actually be admired.

About a quarter of the population is amazingly gullible and will believe about any lunacy you tell them if it fits their world view—and will reject any self-evident reality if it doesn’t.

There is another quarter of the population that is not necessarily gullible or condoning of bad behavior or prone to racism but still feels disenfranchised and disaffected.

One should avoid running in years after your team has been in office for two terms. Reagan-Bush pulled it off from ‘81 to ’93, but before that you have to go back to FDR-Truman, 1933-1953. We like change.

Actual preparation for a debate is a liability.

Badly losing all three presidential debates, despite fantasizing that you won them, helpfully demonstrates that you are not burdened with useless information about unimportant issues.

Anything approaching civility to your opponents is idiotic because it turns off your supporters, though it’s fine to discuss how great those opponents are once they have ceased to be your opponents. But until then, the uglier the better; the more lies the better.

A senate majority leader not doing his or her constitutional duty by ignoring a president’s nomination for the Supreme Court when that president still has a year left in office can pay off handsomely.

Presidential elections are rigged until you unexpectedly win, and then they’re not.

You can have “great respect” for the current president after you win, even if he is “the most ignorant president” of all, “the founder of ISIS,” and not born in America.

Use the government server if you are Secretary of State planning to run for President—just sayin’.

Make colossal promises, like building beautiful walls that other countries will pay for or creating another police force devoted solely to deporting twelve million undocumented residents. Nobody actually believes such promises, but folks love to hear them anyway.

Developing budding bromances with Russian dictators, hiring campaign managers with Russian connections, and telling the Russians Sure, who needs NATO, prove that you are a peace-loving kind of guy.

Never let a response to a criticism go untweeted.

Being a billionaire and not paying federal income taxes for years can be financially beneficial; and even better, it can prove how smart you are.

Megalomania pays, at least through election day.

The winner had over 59 million votes, over a million less than the loser. Julian Assange—Wikileaks founder, indicted sexual predator, and self-appointed moral counselor to the world—deserves credit for at least a few million of the winner’s votes.

Education matters: College-educated voters went for Clinton by nine percentage points. And it matters especially if you’re white: Non-college educated white voters went for Trump by almost forty (!) percentage points. No statistics available on Trump University students.

When things don’t go your way: Bitterness is not a strategy.


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