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.

  • Rhett the Butler

    “The industry has been losing jobs for three decades and those losses accelerated under Obama, in part because of new environmental regulations, but more importantly, because of cheap natural gas prices.

    In 1985, there were 173,000 coal mining jobs in the United States, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. In October of this year, that number had fallen to 53,000.

    Eastern Kentucky has been especially hard hit because the easily obtained coal is gone and it costs much more to extract it from the ground there.

    “We are going to be presenting to the president a variety of options that could end this assault,” McConnell said. “Whether that immediately brings business back, that’s hard to tell because this is a private sector activity.””


    Sen. Leader Mitch McConnell does not sound very hopeful for coal’s resurgence in the face of cheaper, more efficient natural gas.

  • Rhett the Butler

    Just exactly how many guns did Obama take away in the past 8 years? None.

    • Gene Dziza

      He knew he didn’t have the support to do it, otherwise I believe he would have. Look at how the mid-term and this election turned out. I think Democrats realized they would further damage the party with aggressive anti-gun actions. Democrats like Tester and others from more rural areas, don’t want to get the boot. Plus, a lot of them have guns.

      • Rhett the Butler

        It’s very much an urban/rural thing. Ammosexuals scream about “Democrats will take our guns!” I keep telling them, Democrats aren’t gonna take your guns, we have plenty of our own.
        In the meantime, a majority of not just gun owners, but NRA members, favor more and better background checks. There are some other gun related issues that show support as well.
        A quick Google bears that out.

        • Dave_Skinner

          Again, stacked polling. And guess what, like I wrote in my magnificent column, the polling came out WRONG. Adios, Hillary.

      • Christopher Cunningham

        I agree with you and Rhett about the urban/rural split. When someone mentions guns in Montana I think of hunting and home defense whereas violent crime likely comes to mind first for someone living in a metropolitan area. Different environments lead to different life experiences.

        Bill Clinton’s efforts on gun control got such a strong response that it’s been a hazardous topic for Democrats to bring up ever since. It is a shame, really, given that responsible gun ownership need not be a controversy. Instead the 2nd Amendment is one of those third-rail issues, sort of like how Republicans can’t touch Social Security.

    • Tgitgi

      I’m guessing all those guns trigger his autoerotic tendencies

  • Hillary’s 2,000,000 vote lead over Trump is what the polls predicted.

  • Brother Mateo

    Unfortunately, voters had the choice of bad and worse to vote for. I’m not an ardent Trump supporter, but Hillary’s deceit, crimes, ineptitude were simply not acceptable. Her saying silly things like “we’re going to kill coal” and “I don’t believe Americans should own guns”, Her disdain for Christians and the fear of what she might do to our Supreme court were just too much. I believe most voters were voting against her, not particularly for Trump. Also, the liberal media overplayed their hand clumsily. Editing, fabricating, and blatantly biased during the debates. I still believe many Americans value integrity and honesty, and Hillary just didn’t make the grade.

    • I’ll Pass

      Brother Mateo – Here’s hoping you hold President Trump to the same standards you have held Obama to. You will no doubt find that many of the titles you bestowed upon Obama will be just as apt, if not more so, with the much more authoritarian Trump. I too believe that many Americans value integrity and honesty. Time will tell if those two values will be applicable to a President Trump. His history does not bode well in that regard.

  • geraldcuvillier

    Oh Rhett, you think you have the answer to everything. Your kind is trying to stop fracking which is why we now have an abundance of natural gas. If you had your way we would not have any energy production in this country. I think Mr. Skinner summed it up pretty well and he is not a racist, bigot, homophobic,,,,,,

    • Rhett the Butler

      You said, “I think Mr. Skinner summed it up pretty well and he is not a racist, bigot, homophobic,,,,,,”

      Did I say he was? Are those words anywhere in these comments, besides these two? You keep seeing words that aren’t present in what’s written.

      • Dave_Skinner

        Retch, you DID write “ammosexual” — as for the background checks, sure, go ahead and cite slanted polls paid for by Mike Bloomberg, conducted by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
        And I heard that line about “toddlers” spouted by your gal about “common sense” this and that, again, book chapter and verse.
        The intent of “universal background checks” is twofold. First, expense and harassment. Second, because of federal laws governing record-keeping, gun haters have lusted after a registry, most particularly a CURRENT registry.
        There are millions of guns that have been privately sold in private transactions between perfectly upstanding citizens and are therefore out in the ether with no external record of the current proud owner.
        What better way to bring all that iron back under the microscope than with “universal background checks?” And then, once the piles of paper start heading for the ceiling, the call is to put all those firearms into an electronic, searchable registry, in the name of “toddlers” or efficiency or whatever meme will be convenient. The end result, of course, will be centralized registration of firearms, all of them, a database that can then of course be abused (oops, data mined) to find the outliers for selective “attention.”
        It’s registration, using an incremental strategy for implementation. Period.

        • Rhett the Butler

          There’s nothing homophobic about ‘ammosexuals’.

          • Craig Moore

            Rhett, you demonstrate you are one of those people that shouldn’t play with matches, have access to a firearm, or use words they don’t appreciate the meaning.


            A person who exhibits an extreme love of firearms, possibly to the point of fetishization. Coined from ammunition and sexual, with sonic overtones of homosexual.”

          • Rhett the Butler


            unreasoning fear of or antipathy toward homosexuals and homosexuality.

            Drink your juice, geezer.

          • Dave_Skinner

            You epitomize the passive-aggressive anonymous slagger, writing stuff you wouldn’t DARE put your name on, much less say face to face. You have my contempt, wear it shamefully.

          • Rhett the Butler

            Don’t dis-locate that finger you’re wagging so vigorously….daddy.

          • Dave_Skinner

            Daddy? I KNEW that lost night in Wallace would come to haunt me.

          • Rhett the Butler

            Good to know you can only get laid by a woman if you pay her.

          • Dave_Skinner

            Not sure if I paid. As I said, it was a lost night, and when I woke up, I wasn’t broke.

          • Craig Moore

            It’s a hoot watching you blindly lash out and jowl like a cat with it’s tail caught under a rocking chair. You know absolutely nothing about me and my love and respect for my gay family members and friends.

          • Rhett the Butler

            I know, Craig. It’s all about you.

          • Craig Moore

            I don’t see where my name appears anwhere in Dave’s editorial. This digression is about your invectives you so freely hurl at others. You and Hillary have much in common in that regard.

          • Rhett the Butler

            And yet, here you are in the comments. Do try to stay focused old man.

          • Craig Moore
          • Rhett the Butler

            There is no god. Keep your hypochondria to yourself.

          • Craig Moore

            Perhaps its the mold in your parents basement that is the source of your distress. Take some bleach and apply it to the walls.

          • Rhett the Butler
          • Craig Moore

            Break out a new can of play doo, pray to a rock, pet a puppy or whatever therapy will ease your anxiety. God helps those that help themselves.

          • Rhett the Butler

            What anxiety? I don’t need the assistance of a mythical entity.

          • Gators

            grow up weird-o

        • Joel

          Careful Dave – Obama still has two months to grab your guns.

          Because of paranoids like you the days of a brick of .22’s costing under ten bucks are long gone.

  • geraldcuvillier

    You regularly call me all of those names and rest of the liberals that comment here do so also. Do you have a guilty conscience? Oh I take that back, you have no conscience.

    • Rhett the Butler

      Quit your sniveling.

  • Christopher Cunningham

    At first I wasn’t bothered, expecting disappointment either way. The stress that’s returned since then is driven by a lack of clear expectations to have for a Trump administration. His alliances and stated plans shift enough that I don’t know what he wants and, to that effect, how impassioned opponents of his will behave in response to the uncertainty.

    I cautiously anticipate Republicans gaining ground on a variety of the issues they’ve talked about for years, which is to be expected given the election results. What will become of our civil liberties, however, and will Trump’s actions assuage progressive suspicions about him being a crypto-fascist? This matters. There’s a risk for radicalization here like what we saw when hundreds of militias were organized in the wake of Obama’s election.

    It’s surreal that on other sites I frequent there’s already a need to remind progressives why non-violence and liberal democracy are preferable to revolutionary action. But how can we get through to people who think this is a matter of life and death and of saving the republic along with its Constitution? Maybe this what it felt like to be a well-educated, cool-headed Republican back when conspiracy theories about Obama first emerged.

    • Dave_Skinner

      Christopher, you are correct with your addendum. Conservatives and liberals think differently in a fundamental manner, I think it’s hard-wired. As for ignorance on the part of elites, that’s a rational response for them because there’s no incentive (not YET, anyway) to become knowledgeable under current circumstances. As long as they get the cash, who cares?

      • Christopher Cunningham

        Yaaa – though I also wonder if there aren’t biases from life experiences to take into a consideration? Perhaps a great many elites lack backgrounds preparing them to properly understand what it’s like to be poor or from a working class background, leaving gaps in the knowledge of the powerful which then get filled in with assumptions on their part.

        Maybe the masses meanwhile know what their problems are but not where they come from, ending up making guesses to fill in gaps of their own? I’ve heard all sorts of ridiculous theories about why things are the way they are and at some point along the way learned to stop trusting the Average Jane and Joe to recognize what’s in their own interests.

        Mind you, I don’t presume to know how they should vote and why, nor does authoritarianism sound like a better idea to me. It is just that I see this as a two-way street by which the ignorance of everyone gets in the way of us all making better decisions than we do. It’d apply to me too – I obviously would not know what I am mistaken about, right?

        • Dave_Skinner

          There are people who will never trust the average peasant to make the proper decisions, Chris. Remember “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” I read it, and think the writer (Matt Frank, I think) couldn’t get his head around the idea that people don’t always vote themselves “free stuff.”
          Frank just couldn’t understand that.

          • reggiewhitefish

            Perhaps you should take another look at Kansas now that they have had a few years of radical Republican leadership, to examine it’s results.

            Another example of disaster that actually happened instead of the pipe dreams predicted by Republican policies…..reality.

    • reggiewhitefish

      Republican’s propaganda machine and it’s alternant reality bubble of deceit is well documented and widely known, but your claim about Democrats also being deceived and living in an alternant reality is new to me.

      Please advise.

      • Christopher Cunningham

        Ties into something called social constructivism. The gist of it is that rather than us knowing for certain what is real we put faith in senses, experience, and social interactions with each other to build shared understandings of things we then call knowledge – more an intricate network of interconnected beliefs about reality. We try to refine our views over time but do so imperfectly… for example it’s difficult to impartially react to new information that clashes with our current beliefs and very easy to accept information that implies we’re already right.

        In the case of progressives we may not be quite as dogmatic on average, or at least so I think, but we nevertheless gravitate towards people and media outlets which reinforce what we already believe to be true about the world. It puts us in danger of entering the same kinds of echo-chambers we criticize folk for when they get their information from sources with pro-conservative biases such as FOX or WND. Plenty of sources cater to our biases. There is no shortage of leftists out there who buy into conspiracy theories, view their opponents’ leaders with far more cynicism than their own, and so forth.

        Personally, I don’t think it’s a matter of being deceived so much as having imperfect tools at our disposal for figuring out what is and isn’t true. Can’t trust anyone or nearly anything beyond all doubt, and it’s when we end up lulled into a smug sense of intellectual superiority I cannot help but wonder if we slip up and close our minds to things that call our ideas into question. Just a thought though – I’ve changed ideologies a few times over the years and when it happens it feels like awakening from a compelling dream into a subtly different reality. Not sure if that makes sense, hmm…

  • I am Gatekeeper