A good pollster. While pollsters across the country are getting beat up for missing Trump’s presidential win, I believe Idaho Politics Weekly’s pollster, Dan Jones & Associates, did a fine job measuring opinion in Idaho.
Of course, we didn’t conduct research immediately before the election predicting the outcome, so Jones’ numbers didn’t need to reflect the final results perfectly. But I think throughout the election season Jones has accurately measured public opinion in Idaho. The reason is that Jones works incredibly hard to obtain a sample that accurately reflects Idaho voters and citizens. An accurate sample makes all the difference in polling. Jones also uses a variety of techniques to reach the sample, including landline contact, cell phone contact, on-line panels, and email. Good survey research is harder today and takes longer than when landlines were the only means of contact.
I chatted with a legislative leader the day after the election, and he said he had an inkling a few days before voting commenced that something different than expected might be afoot. He said he had a recent meeting with legislators around the country and some of them said they were seeing grassroots people get interested in the election who hadn’t voted for years. Pollsters gather samples from likely voters, which means those who have voted in the last few election. If a lot of people turned out who hadn’t voted for a while, the pollsters would have missed them.
How to blow up Washington. Republicans now control the presidency, U.S. House, U.S. Senate, two-thirds of governorships and the vast majority of legislative chambers. Expectations are sky high for Trump and the Republicans to solve the nation’s problems. Now they must deliver, or the same people who voted them in will turn on them.
Trump has a mandate to blow up dysfunctional, gridlocked Washington. I’m all for that. But, by far, the best way to blow up Washington is to reverse the centralization of power and money in D.C. and return it to the states, where the government still works, and problems get solved. The best way to make the federal government work effectively and efficiently is to restore balanced federalism and elevate states to the role envisioned by the Founding Fathers.
At its essence, this election was about grassroots citizens rebelling against Washington, against dysfunction and gridlock, against big money, elitism, cronyism and lobbyist influence (sorry, Frank). Decentralizing and defunding the federal government is the best way to break up the byzantine morass of Washington.
Trump flexibility. Interestingly, Trump has the ability to be more “flexible” (meaning he forgets about his campaign promises) than any new president in memory. The reason is that his supporters cut him as much slack as he needs. He can say one thing and do another with near-impunity. Like he once said, he could shoot someone in the street, and his followers would stick with him.
Of course, the media, Democrats, and others will blast him for flip-flopping. But who cares? Trump has shown he blows right through that sort of criticism.
So, hopefully, Trump has the flexibility to back off some of his dumber pledges, like building the wall and having Mexico pay for it. And banning Muslims. And rounding up every illegal immigrant . . . and so forth.
Whatever Trump says he will do, I won’t be betting against him. When he announced he was running, I said his candidacy was a joke. When his campaign looked serious, I said he’d never win the nomination. When he won the nomination, I said he’d never be president. After various crude outbursts and revelations, I said his candidacy was doomed.
Now, despite defying every convention of elective politics (big money, ground game, discipline, organization, influential supporters, etc.) he’s President-elect Trump. I’m choking down the humble pie.