Closing Range

What the Heck Just Happened?

Most polls failed to predict the outcome of the only poll that counted

I spent Election Night in Whitefish at the Flathead Republican victory party. Ate well, even scored a free Ryan Zinke T-shirt, a great time.

It’s a shame the Montana trial lawyers kept too many seats on the Montana Supreme Court, and we’ll have the same governor for another four long years. But Trump’s win means I can keep stockpiling guns and ammo without going broke, so it was a good night for me.

As for having a bad night, Hillary Clinton wasn’t alone. The Establishment – the elites in conventional media and both political parties – had a terrible night.

Most polls failed to predict the outcome of the only poll that counted, a major disconnect in public-opinion methodologies which the press mavens show little sign of understanding. That’s why, the morning after, I was able to read a Politico story calling Donald Trump’s victory “the greatest upset in the modern history of American elections.”

Was it really? As for how upsetting this upset happens to be, and to whom – the editor of the New Yorker saw fit to deem the election “a tragedy for the American republic, a tragedy for the Constitution, and a triumph for the forces, at home and abroad, of nativism, authoritarianism, misogyny, and racism.” That was just his first sentence.

Obviously, the American polling and media professions, especially at the “higher” levels, are seriously out of touch with the real America, clueless even.

As for the parties, both seem equally lost. It was pathetic to watch the usual-suspect Republican insiders squirm in agony as a deeply flawed Donald Trump steamrolled 17 other “acceptable” candidates to win the nomination.

For her part, Hillary Clinton was about as “establishment” a candidate as the Democrats could possibly present, but she was, and always will be, tainted with an odor of self-dealing and entitlement that should have given any rational American pause – but didn’t faze the Democratic power brokers.

So, with both Republican and Democrat elites getting their rear ends handed to them this election, which they richly deserved, what about next time?

If voters aren’t provided better polls, better journalism, and most of all, better choices next election by those who consider themselves the “betters” of the American peasantry, there will be even more upset.

Besides the big show, there were some other interesting results worth noting:

In “Live Free or Die” New Hampshire, incumbent U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) lost by 1,019 votes to governor Maggie Hassan (D) while Clinton beat Trump by 1,400. Time for a new slogan … while next-door Vermont elected a Republican governor.

In Arkansas, home girl Hillary scored 34 percent versus Trump’s 60 percent, which shows just how far behind Bill and Hillary have left Little Rock. In former Democratic stronghold West Virginia, Clinton was pounded down by Trump 68 to 26 percent, with only coal-heavy Wyoming handing her a worse percentage – 70 to 22 percent. Coincidence? No, more like voting in enlightened self-interest.

In Washington State, you’ll be interested to learn voters shot down Initiative Measure I-1464, a “campaign finance reform” package which would let Washington voters direct up to $150 in public money to their candidates. Sounds good, right? So where would the cash come from? By closing a “tax loophole” used by those evil tourists, of course. Currently, out-of-state purchasers (such as Montanans) are Washington sales-tax exempt if we show current home-state ID. But I-1464 would have killed that exemption.

Here in Montana’s Senate District 21, which includes the Northern Cheyenne and Crow Reservations southeast of Billings, Republican Jason D. Small defeated Carolyn Pease-Lopez 51 to 48. A Republican? In Indian Country? Yep.

Small, a Northern Cheyenne boilermaker’s local president from Busby, was U.S. Sen. Steve Daines’ guest at the 2016 State of the Union address, and ran for office on a pro-coal, pro-union, pro-jobs platform. Pease-Lopez holds a 95 percent rating from the anti-coal Montana Conservation Voters, from her eight prior years as a state representative. Also not fitting the mold, the Northern Cheyenne tribal government opposes coal. The Crows want to mine and sell theirs.

I guess in four years we’ll know if Small’s win was a fluke or not.