Social media turned out to be the cure for a rotten and corrupt news media, replacing newspapers and TV to a large extent.
Donald Trump’s election as President of the United States totally vindicates his strategy and his understanding of the electorate which was far superior to his opponent.
There are two interesting factors in the election:
- Trump was not afraid of the media which he saw as deeply corrupt and biased against him –so much so that at virtually every rally he pointed an accusatory finger at the media in the hall or field where he was speaking. This was truly revolutionary because conventional wisdom says attacking the media is a recipe for political disaster. Trump proved otherwise.
- Trump also demonstrated that People in America no longer believe “conventional” news sources, where conventional is defined as reporters or elitist pundits writing stories and opinion that most Americans found offensive and intentionally misleading.
The American election was not driven by the conventional media, neither print nor television.
Part of the story is surely in America’s newspapers that supported Hillary Clinton and disparaged Donald Trump. Even some Republican newspapers, such as the Washington Times, had trouble figuring out Trump and did not openly support him.
But it didn’t matter for the simple reason that people stopped reading newspapers. One of the reasons that newspapers are in trouble in the United States is because people see them as unfriendly to their interests and unfair in their reporting. It is no wonder, therefore, that top newspapers such as the Los Angeles Times and New York Times are in serious financial difficulty. If you want readership, you need to speak the language of your readers. In the case of the New York Times, it has been a very costly decline, almost to the point of facing a liquidation. Oddly, the New York Times’ election estimates were perhaps the best available in the country. Too bad their readers have flown the coop.
The same is also true of TV. The worst of the TV outlets was CNN but the others major outlets, except Fox News, were just as bad. That is why people who wanted to hear what Trump had to say started tuning in Trump rallies on YouTube, where they could get information first hand without media bias.
The polls were also wrong with two exceptions that the media heavily discounted. This is what the polls predicted just before the voting started:
NBC/SM: Clinton +6
Ipsos: Clinton +4
NBC/WSJ: Clinton +4
ABC/WaPo: Clinton +4
Herald: Clinton +4
Bloomberg: Clinton +3
People did not believe the polls, and there is a strong probability that the polls did not measure the actual voters who voted or capture those who would not show up to vote or told the pollsters what they wanted to hear but not what the voter actually did when casting his or her ballot.
YouTube’s coverage of Trump rallies was very interesting and popular online even though Trump was typically an hour or more late arriving at his rallies. The cameras clearly showed the massive attendance and enthusiasm for Trump that exceeded all expectations, even Trump’s. Another most interesting feature of the YouTube coverage was that a Twitter feed was shown on the right side of the screen as Trump spoke. There were so many “Tweets” that it was hard to keep up with the volume, and almost all of it was strongly pro-Trump. This was the first indication that Trump was dominating in the social media. Indeed, the social media turned out to be the cure for a rotten and corrupt media and replaced newspapers and TV to a large extent.
Ironically, Trump’s big win on social media, including Facebook and Twitter, especially, must have been an incredible slap in the face of the Silicon Valley boys who invented social media in the first place. Google and Facebook, for example, spent millions pumping up Hillary Clinton’s campaign, but to no avail. Google even shaped the news on its Google News outlet so that Trump looked like a loser. It didn’t work.
One of the things the Democrats were hoping for was supplying illegals and ex-convicts to polling stations in key cities in order to swing the election. California welcomed illegals voting; Virginia gave amnesties to criminals in exchange for their votes for Clinton, a patently illegal move that deserves a look by a new and reformed Justice Department. But it did not do the job because in most cases the Democrats did not turn out. There was little enthusiasm for Clinton.
Trump’s biggest problem going forward is not the Democrats but the establishment forces in his party. Most of the difficulty will be over economic issues since on most other questions the way forward for Trump among Republicans will be easier. As for foreign policy, President Putin has already opened the door for dialogue and it is likely that Trump will seek some accommodation with Russia, mostly because right now the US is not in a position to get into a fist fight with the Russians. Instead, America must focus on rebuilding the military, as well as getting rid of costly programs that are bankrupting the people and the country.
* This comment titled A LOOK AT THE TRUMP VICTORY, has been posted at Technology and Security, on November 8, 2016