Politics

Four of 2016’s Worst Political Faceplants

Three politicians and a pundit who all had a horribly embarrassing election year

When John Adams was president, he wrote: “When a party grows strong and feels its power, it becomes intoxicated, grows presumptuous and extravagant, and breaks to pieces.” This is what happened in 2016 — not so much to Republicans or Democrats but to the bipartisan bloc of globalists. They controlled both parties for so long that they convinced themselves that anyone who disagreed was not only wrong but a goatee-sporting, trident-toting Satan.

If you’re for enforcing border laws, you’re racist. If you believe in America First policies, you’re xenophobic. If you don’t listen to your intellectual superiors bloviating from one end of the mainstream media to the other, you’re stupid. If you support Donald Trump, you’re deplorable.

To call her campaign a dumpster fire would be an insult to smoldering garbage everywhere.

The Democratic Party, the mainstream media, and the #NeverTrump Republicans spent all of 2016 inside giant group-think bubbles convinced that opinions not represented on The New York Times opinion page don’t exist. Imagine a world where David Brooks represents the rightmost fringe of the American political spectrum, a world where opening up the borders and surrendering the racist idea of nationhood is simply common sense agreed on by both parties. That’s life in the liberal bubble.

Here are the four politicians, pollsters, and pundits whose lack of zeitgeist awareness in 2016 damaged their careers and credibility the most.

Gov. John Kasich (Confetti enthusiast and governor of Ohio)
On Christmas Eve, the 1-14 Cleveland Browns finally won their first game at home in Ohio. If a thousand pounds of confetti had fallen on them afterward, they’d be their governor.

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When Kasich won the Ohio primary, he had himself bathed in a confetti shower like he was Lebron James, Peyton Manning, and Michael Jordan all rolled into one. Kasich got to feel like a winner for 10 seconds, but the 10 seconds were definitely not a representative sample of Kasich’s 2016. Like the Browns, Kasich spent way more of 2016 embarrassing himself than celebrating.

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Kasich stayed in the primary election long after his chances of winning dropped from nonexistent to bordering on delusional. There were a few weeks in April and May when every headline seemed to end with “Calls on Kasich to Drop Out.” Trump won 40 times as many primaries and 10 times as many delegates as Kasich, yet Kasich continued to believe that his surrender-first-then-negotiate brand of self-defeating, globalist Republicanism represented the party better than Trump. When it was over, despite his pledge to voters that he would support the Republican nominee, Kasich decided instead to undermine the nominee every chance he got and try to hand the election to Hillary Clinton.

He refused to endorse Trump. He predicted Trump would lose Ohio. He elected not to attend the Republican National Convention, which was held in Ohio. He announced that, instead of voting for the Republican nominee, he had written in former failed presidential candidate, fellow globalist swamp-monster, and foreign adventurist Arizona Sen. John McCain.

In the end, Trump exposed the governor’s complete lack of influence over those he governs by winning Ohio by nearly 10 points. Neither Obama, Bush, nor Clinton — all two-term presidents — managed to win Ohio by a such a large margin.

Rep. Tim Huelskamp (Soon-to-be-former congressman from Kansas’ “big first” district)
Huelskamp used to represent Kansas’s 1st Congressional District before he suddenly and unexpectedly got smoked in the August primary. At the time, I attributed his loss, in part, to his attacks on then-GOP nominee Trump, writing in LifeZette:

“Huelskamp’s self-inflicted defeat was partially the result of this new Republican insurgency. It’s anti-globalism, anti-Establishment, populist, and America First, and — warning to politicians — if you trash its poster boy, the ‘R’ by your name won’t save you.”

Four months later —  having seen Trump win every county in the district by huge margins — I believe it even more. Roger Marshall, who will take Huelskamp’s seat in January, blasted him on Facebook multiple times for not supporting Trump. Huelskamp even tried to pivot toward Trump at the end, but the damage was done.

Nate Silver (Human Magic 8-Ball)
After he got the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections right, everybody thought Nate Silver was great at predicting who would win the presidential election, but it turns out he’s only good at predicting Obama victories.

In February, when Trump lost Iowa and liberal pundits began spiking the ball because Cruz had taken a one delegate lead on Trump (8 to 7 in the race to 1,237), Silver — with all his mathematical prowess — made the evidence-free conjecture that the reason may be “The dude [Trump] just ain’t all that popular. Even among Republicans.” How embarrassing to be so dead wrong while simultaneously using such a snotty, condescending tone.

At least he wrote a mea culpa after Trump won the nomination by nearly a thousand delegates. It was called, “How I acted like a pundit and screwed up on Donald Trump.”

Silver also predicted to a crowd at Northwestern University in October that the Cubs probably wouldn’t win the World Series, saying, “The best baseball team doesn’t win most of the time.”

Then, of course, there was the main event. The general election. Surely Nate Silver wouldn’t act like a pundit and be wrong on Trump again. In fact, I wrote in LifeZette last August, “Surely Nate Silver doesn’t want to have to pen a sequel to his May 18 article, ‘How I Acted Like a Pundit and Screwed Up on Donald Trump.'” But, Nate was wrong again.

He should have flipped a coin to make his predictions. At least then he’d have been right half the time.

Hillary Clinton (2016 presidential race Silver Medal winner)
Fake news, Russian interference, the Electoral College, WikiLeaks, and James Comey are no match for a terrible candidate and her terrible campaign — a campaign so bad it aspired to reach Jeb-Can-Fix-It levels of greatness. To call her campaign a dumpster fire would be an insult to smoldering garbage everywhere.

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Her mendacity was legendary. She told the American people lie after lie about her email server, and after Comey blew all of her lies out of the water in his now infamous press conference, she sat there and told Fox News’ Chris Wallace, “Director Comey said my answers were truthful.”

Some days, I got worried that The Washington Post would run out of Pinnochios.

She lied about her policy positions too (she was always down with TPP). Her campaign accepted debate questions without alerting anyone to the cheating that was going on. The Democratic National Committee had to fix the primary for her. Her campaign peeps discussed infiltrating the Catholic Church so they could impose their politics on it. She called 25 percent of Americans deplorable. She had no ideas beyond paradoxically being a “change maker” while simultaneously maintaining the status quo.

Eddie Zipperer is an assistant professor of political science at Georgia Military College and a regular LifeZette contributor.

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