(CN) – With the 2016 presidential election over, political doctors are trotting out their diagnoses for why everyone was so wrong and it’s Donald Trump planning his transition into the White House instead of Hillary Clinton.
Few of the pundits that watch politics gave Trump a chance. They were wrong.
Following the outcome, a raft of theories have been floated as to what led to the result:
Clinton was a flawed candidate who failed to generate excitement of her base.
FBI Director James Comey tipped the scales by sending Congress a letter regarding the Clinton email investigation — an election topic that dogged Clinton from her announcement all the way to her surprising defeat.
It’s the mainstream media’s fault, concentrating too much on concocted scandals with thin substance, like Hillary Clinton’s email server or the Clinton Foundation.
Russia’s hack of Clinton campaign chair John Podesta’s emails – and Wikileaks subsequent dissemination – provided enough ammunition for the opposition to paint Clinton as out of touch, an ally of Wall Street despite public professions to the contrary, and more crafty politician than genuine article.
The gutting of the Voting Rights Act by a Supreme Court dominated by Republican appointees worked, and the suppression of black and other minority votes in states like Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania was enough to turn the tables.
Third party candidates like Jill Stein of the Green Party and Libertarian Gary Johnson, took votes away from Clinton and cost her the election.
White working-class people in the deindustrialized Midwest, who suffered through the greatest economic recession since the Great Depression and saw globalism shipping their jobs to foreign locales where labor is cheap and labor laws lax, were tired of a condescending coastal liberal elite who ignored their suffering and instead lectured them about how privileged they are.
Or alternatively, it’s just plain racism, as white people felt America becoming more multicultural, more diverse, incorporating black, Latino and Native perspectives – and they rebelled, eager to reassert their rapidly eroding cultural supremacy.
For many experts, the answer is all of the above.
“I think I tend to see a combination of these factors at work,” said Daniel Wirls, a political science professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
But one question that lingers is why California remained essentially immune from all these factors, voting for Hillary Clinton by a wider margin than any other state. Clinton’s rout of Trump in the Golden State represents the widest margin of victory a Democratic presidential candidate has enjoyed over a Republican in California’s modern political era.
But it’s difficult to state what happened in California without first parsing what painted traditionally blue states like Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania red in 2016.
A Republican had not carried Wisconsin and won its 10 electoral votes since 1984, when then-incumbent President Ronald Reagan thumped Walter Mondale by 10 percent.
As a point of comparison, President Barack Obama won the Badger State by beating John McCain by 14 percent in 2008, and beat Mitt Romney by 7 points in 2012.
The Clinton camp evidently felt so sure about Wisconsin that they had their candidate visit the state exactly zero times.
Similarly, Pennsylvania hadn’t swung red since George H.W. Bush squeaked out a win against Michael Dukakis in 1988 by a mere 1.5 percent. Obama beat Romney by almost 6 points in the last election.