Donald Trump’s victory was thoroughly unexpected, and since Election Day hundreds of reporters and commentators have tried to explain how he won and what his victory means for the nation and the world.
Explanations vary. Some blame meddling by FBI Director James Comey and Russian leader Vladimir Putin. Others attribute his win to tactical and strategic blunders by the Clinton campaign. One line of argument blames intractable white prejudice against immigrants and African-Americans. Another says the Clinton campaign didn’t spend enough time cultivating white voters. And nearly everyone blames the media.
If you are sure you know why Donald Trump became President you owe it to yourself to explore another point of view—especially after an election dominated by false news and ever narrower partisan feedback loops.
Below is some of the best writing about the election and what comes next:
Alec MacGillis and Chris Arnade looked at the campaign from the outside in, spent considerable time with working class voters in the Midwest and asked why they voted for Trump. Their answers defy simple characterizations.
Glenn Thrush examined the campaign from the inside out in a deeply sourced piece. Joshua Green and Sasha Issenberg talked with the Trump data nerds, and Edward-Isaac Dovere looked at the Clinton campaign’s mistakes in Michigan.
Ta-Nehisi Coates argued that Trump was the price we paid for Obama and blamed his victory on a racist backlash. Greg Sargent wrote that the election was a culture war, and the Democrats lost. Susan Faludi exposed the deep pain some women felt at Clinton’s loss, and detailed the challenges that feminists have in reaching out to working class women.
Dan Balz made clear that Trump upended decades of Republican policy orthodoxy and essentially ran as an independent on the Republican line.
Mike Konczal listened to a lot of Donald Trump speeches and wrote up what he heard: Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!
Lionel Barber put it in a global context—2016 was a good year for demagogues and strongmen, as anti-establishment forces gained strength from the U.K. to the Philippines
Craig Silverman writes a real story about fake news, demonstrating that by election day more Americans were reading ersatz stories on Facebook than the real thing
Eric Lipton led a team at The New York Times in detailing how Putin bested America and undermined our election. Chilling and infuriating. Rich Lowry argued that the Russian hack and the Comey letter didn’t defeat Clinton—she was a flawed, ethically challenged candidate from the start.
Noah Rothman and Edward Luce give some context on why Putin thought he could test Obama and get away with it. Too many red lines ignored, too much naive weakness displayed. The Economist showed how politicians have failed to respond as patriots first. Leon Wieseltier advises us to remain angry and channel our rage.
Yale Professor Timothy Snyder and Russian journalist Masha Gessen give tips on how to resist. Larry Diamond, James Traub and Sasha Polakow-Suransky look ahead to the significant pressures that Germany and France will face from Russia as they hold elections next year.
How might Trump govern? Buzzfeed found an interview that Steve Bannon gave at a Vatican conference in 2014 and explained his view of the world. Some of it will surprise you. How should Democrats in Congress react to Trump? Michael Tomasky and Jonathan Chait say Just Say No—oppose everything and give no quarter, while Annie Karni reports that Chuck Schumer has a different strategy Amanda Hess at the New York Times discovered the Hillary Clinton selfie Rorschach test. And Eric Garland offered a somewhat gonzo but somewhat brilliant history of the last two decades
Finally, Jonathan Alter sums it all up: it was all of the above!