DAVE LEROY: What to Make of a Crazy Election

By David Leroy

As published by the Idaho Statesman on November 12, 2016
As published by the Idaho Statesman on November 12, 2016

What a night! Call it historic, amazing, depressing, unprecedented — pick your own adjective. Here are my takeaways from an epic election evening:

1. Unpopularity drives turnout, too. A survey last week concluded that 82 percent of likely voters nationwide distrusted both candidates. With 125 million votes cast, the second-most in U.S. history, voting against someone or for the lesser of evils proved a superior motivation.

2. Can’t fool all of the people all of the time. Americans waited eight years for the “Hope and Change” promised by President Barack Obama over two election cycles. Almost nobody in America wanted a third term of Obama, which Hillary came to represent for many voters, especially as the president hit the campaign trail for her so prominently in the closing weeks.

3. The bottom line is money. People still do and probably always will vote their pocketbooks. The best simple explanation for why the liberal, central, blue states flipped red is that Trump’s jobs message struck home.

4. Polling is neither an art nor a science. Boy did the prognosticators miss the call! Hours before the polls closed, based on their trusted field data, many respected pollsters were predicting a 340-vote Clinton electoral landslide. Obviously, new methodologies are needed.

5. Ignorance trumps illegality. The Republican nominee said impolitic words, exhibited ugly attitudes, did disqualifying acts. However, the specter of significant and lingering criminal entanglements, gross and continuing untruths and the Clinton disregard for the rule of law ultimately pushed away more voters than did the Trump offenses.

6. Conventions are archaic, perhaps parties, too. Though much heralded as the keystone of every national campaign, neither convention spectacle foreshadowed much about the issues or strategies that played out over the ensuing months. The fractured political parties were marginalized, especially when some of the formerly faithful, including historic leaders, endorsed or voted across party lines.

7. No spoilers this time. In Idaho, eight separate presidential tickets appeared on our ballots. The 5 percent of popular votes garnered nationally by third-party candidates, if redistributed in key states, could have altered the outcome. However, because such parties were positioned on both the liberal and conservative edges of the political spectrum, no one is yet claiming that they either spoiled or made a victory. They simply held both major candidates under 50 percent.

8. The lawyers stayed home. The margin of electoral victory was wide enough and distributed throughout a sufficient number of states that neither candidate dispatched a bevy of lawyers to the airport to begin legal challenges over “hanging chads” and miscounted ballots. That is a good thing for America.

9. No media honeymoon for trump. CNN was the first network to call a Trump victory, at about 12:41 a.m. Mountain time, 19 minutes to midnight in North Idaho, when they awarded him Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes. The president-elect took the stage in New York City a little while later. Fewer than 10 minutes after his gracious speech, the commentators on MSNBC were citing various provisions of the U.S. Constitution that will necessarily preclude a President Trump from achieving the programs and promises he has made.

10. Trump seems educable. The address to supporters and the national audience struck all of the proper conciliatory, inclusive, hopeful messages achieving a presidential tone. He stayed on teleprompter script, with a minimum of ad libs. That was a promising start.

11. Pardon me? Barack Obama has already begun to vigorously exercise the presidential pardon power. Invoking the precedent of Presidents Ford and Nixon, as the 44th chief executive exits, I believe that he will absolve both Hillary and former President Bill Clinton from any and all crimes they may have committed in their recent public and private lives. That won’t stop the parade of revelations or prevent other legal consequences, but it will make Foundationgate a sideshow, rather than a national preoccupation.

We have again accomplished the peaceful revolution and transfer of political power under our Constitution. Hillary Clinton made a warm, strong and encouraging morning-after concession speech. Trump begins holding both our nation’s hopes and its fears. God bless America.

Boise attorney David H. Leroy is a former Idaho attorney general and lieutenant governor.

IDAHO STATESMAN: After election, time to allow our ‘better angels’ to ‘now come together’

The Idaho Statesman Editorial referenced and quoted Abraham Lincoln…

President Abraham Lincoln’s first inaugural address came as the nation was on the brink of civil war. We, fortunately, do not face civil war, but rather are on the brink of a new beginning. Yet we can learn from Lincoln’s words and do our part to foster unity as we move forward:

“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

 

Full Editorial…

As printed in The Idaho Statesman on 11/12/2016

Though we are not asking anyone to forget or even forgive the unfortunate acrimony that surfaced during the long and contentious race for the White House, we hope all Idahoans and Americans understand it is time to move on and do what is best for our nation.

President-elect Donald Trump said as much Wednesday morning when delivering a gracious and inclusive speech after his victory. His opponent, Hillary Clinton, continued that patriotic and conciliatory tone Wednesday afternoon in her moving concession. Before detailing her personal disappointment, Clinton said: “Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and a chance to lead.”

President Barack Obama followed that theme Thursday during his meeting with Trump, emphasizing that the caustic partisan edge of campaign politics must give way to the agenda of preserving and protecting our union: “We must now come together, and work together.”

“Now come together” is a fitting guidepost in the interim as our leaders work through the transition of power and our nation attempts to heal — or at least put into perspective — some of the wounds of the campaign.

After wishing his bitter GOP rival, Trump, success as president Thursday, Ohio Gov. John Kasich called the statements of Obama and Clinton “inspirational” because they placed country above politics, a winning path to the future over the ditches that would mire us in defeat. We could not agree more.

It is a matter of record that the Idaho Statesman Editorial Board preferred Clinton in a nearly unanimous endorsement — and unanimously shunned Trump for a variety of reasons. But the people in Idaho and throughout the country had the final word at the polls Tuesday, selecting Trump as our 45th president.

We honor the people’s choice above all, it is the American way. The office of president deserves our ongoing respect — and the person who occupies it our support, especially between now and the Jan. 20 inauguration, when the whole world, including our allies and enemies, observes this transition.

We have no illusions: Trump will disappoint you and us with a policy decision we don’t like. All presidents do. But we understand leadership is about making thoughtful decisions that benefit the body, though not every appendage at first might agree.

But before we get to the point of exercising our duty to scrutinize those presidential decisions in the give-and-take of governing, Trump and his team deserve our good will and the benefit of the doubt in order to establish a foundation.

We support anyone’s right to peaceful protests, dissent and to express disappointment about the election results. But we equally denounce the violence of those acting out against a new president who was duly elected, and who has yet to even take the oath of office.

President Abraham Lincoln’s first inaugural address came as the nation was on the brink of civil war. We, fortunately, do not face civil war, but rather are on the brink of a new beginning. Yet we can learn from Lincoln’s words and do our part to foster unity as we move forward:

“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

Unsigned Editorial Board opinions express the consensus of the Statesman’s editorial board. To comment on an editorial or suggest a topic, email [email protected] statesman.com.