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November 9, 2016 12:12 pm

On Being Humbled by Getting the Ending of This Election Wrong

avatar by Ira Stoll

Email a copy of "On Being Humbled by Getting the Ending of This Election Wrong" to a friend
Donald Trump. Photo: Facebook.

Donald Trump. Photo: Facebook.

As you can tell from some of my recent work — “A President-Elect Hillary Might Miss Justice Scalia,” or “The Post-Trump GOP” — I got the ending of this election wrong. So did lots of other people on the coasts who relied on polls, though that is no excuse. Some other pieces I wrote held up better (“Five Ways Trump Could Win,” from August 13).

But overall it is a fail. Rabbi Elie Kaunfer, a Harvard pal of mine who now runs a yeshiva in Manhattan, asked on Facebook this morning, “What else are we totally convinced of, yet are 100% wrong about?”

It brings up talk of Kaelism — the phenomenon named for the New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael, who supposedly reacted to President Richard Nixon’s election by wondering how it was possible, since she didn’t personally know a single person who had voted for him.

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That’s not the case with me. I know and even respect lots of people who voted for Trump or predicted he would win. I may be the only columnist in America with columns that run weekly in two newspapers that endorsed Trump (the New York Sun and the Las Vegas Review Journal). The editor of a third newspaper of which I am a columnist, Dovid Efune of The Algemeiner, privately predicted a Trump victory to me a few weeks ago. I thought he was nuts. My own father, on the afternoon of election day, told me Trump would win by a large margin. I thought he was nuts. A “deplorable” Manhattan investor friend of mine with an amazing knack for seeing around corners and over horizons reminded me a few weeks ago that the pre-Brexit polling was off seven or eight points.

Other people I know or respect or both, who either saw it coming with clarity or stuck with Trump: The former manager of the Congressional Effect Fund, Eric Singer. Former Pentagon official Harold Rhode, who is a friend of mine. The head of Americans for Peace and Tolerance, Charles Jacobs. Peter Thiel. Conservative intellectuals like Roger Kimball, R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr., Michael and Barbara Ledeen, Conrad Black, Lisa Schiffren, Lynn Chu, and Larry Kudlow, who stuck with Trump even as other intellectuals and Republican thought leaders like Paul Singer, Dan Senor, Charles Krauthammer, Pete Wehner, Michael Gerson, Jamie Kirchick, Gabe Schoenfeld, Max Boot, Bret Stephens and much of the National Review and Commentary and Weekly Standard crowds warned that Trump would mean a landslide Republican defeat and that he was, more or less, another Hitler, tainted irredeemably by racism, sexism, xenophobia and Russia.

There’s a distinction between predicting Trump would win and wanting him to win (or hoping and predicting he would lose), but confusing those two things is sure a fine way to mess up the prediction accuracy, or to miss what is happening all around you. It’s a reminder to be constantly asking oneself Rabbi Kaunfer’s question. I sure hope President Trump keeps it in mind, too.

Ira Stoll is a regular contributor to The Algemeiner. This article first appeared on his website futureofcapitalism.com.

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  • Jon Gordon

    The American people, including me who for the first time volunteered to work in a presidential campaign, hired President Trump to get a job done. We are sick and tired of the totalitarianism, hatred, bigotry, intolerance, and racism of the Left and want something done.

    College campuses are awash in anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism. Competing ideologies are all but banned. Pseudointellectualism reigns supreme. Feminists have enacted draconian laws and policies depriving people, young boys in particular, of their basic rights. They have fomented a phony war on women using trumped up statistics that can be easily destroyed by simple arithmetic.

    Under the guise of multiculturalism, the American creed, the very concept that unites us as one people, has been crippled. People have divided along their own revisionists histories, races, and ethnicities. Seething hatred has been the result.
    And many Jews who characterize themselves as Progressives helped in trying to destroy this country. The American military is losing its superiority and fighting capabilities? Okay, but where do they stand on gay rights and gender equality? The Progressives represent a clear and present danger to this democracy. Thank God for President Trump’s election.

    And I’ll leave with this: I remember one day in Nebraska, some correspondents were covering Israel and speaking in glowing terms about the society that had been created. The rabbi of our temple called into the show and blasted them for their one-sidedness in not covering the Palestinians. His statement was vitriolic. When he said that, a friend that I was riding with said, “See, the Jews don’t even support Israel.” That was not the rabbi’s intention, but it was an arsine comment made by a Progressive who has zero understanding of the world even though, by God, like all Progressives, he absolutely demands that you agree with that ideology under threat of being labeled a racist, misogynist, or bigot.

    And he is the only candidate who promised to do something about this invasion of illegal aliens. The economy is shrinking. The job market is contracting. Technology is going to displace about 30% of the workforce in the next 25 years. In the future, for each livable wage position, there will be hundreds if not thousands of applicants.

    With President Trump’s election, hopefully America will be great again. To the Progressives, feminists, and other haters, nothing is keeping you here. Have the strength of your convictions, and leave!

  • Jon Gordon

    The American people, including me who for the first time volunteered to work in a presidential campaign, hired President Trump to get a job done. We are sick and tired of the totalitarianism, hatred, bigotry, intolerance, and racism of the Left and want something done.

    College campuses are awash in anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism. Competing ideologies are all but banned. Pseudointellectualism reigns supreme. Feminists have enacted draconian laws and policies depriving people, young boys in particular, of their basic rights. They have fomented a phony war on women using trumped up statistics that can be easily destroyed by simple arithmetic.

    Under the guise of multiculturalism, the American creed, the very concept that unites us as one people, has been crippled. People have divided along their own revisionists histories, races, and ethnicities. Seething hatred has been the result.
    And many Jews who characterize themselves as Progressives helped in trying to destroy this country. The American military is losing its superiority and fighting capabilities? Okay, but where do they stand on gay rights and gender equality? The Progressives represent a clear and present danger to this democracy. Thank God for President Trump’s election.

    And I’ll leave with this: I remember one day in Nebraska, some correspondents were covering Israel and speaking in glowing terms about the society that had been created. The rabbi of our temple called into the show and blasted them for their one-sidedness in not covering the Palestinians. His statement was vitriolic. When he said that, a friend that I was riding with said, “See, the Jews don’t even support Israel.” That was not the rabbi’s intention, but it was an arsine comment made by a Progressive who has zero understanding of the world even though, by God, like all Progressives, he absolutely demands that you agree with that ideology under threat of being labeled a racist, misogynist, or bigot.

    With President Trump’s election, hopefully America will be great again. To the Progressives, feminists, and other haters, nothing is keeping you here. Have the strength of your convictions, and leave!

  • Peter Joffe

    I hope and prey that now the beginning of the end for Islam and political correctness is at hand. Islamophobia is not a phobia it is a real and present fear of what Islam can do and has already done. Obama and Clinto were hell bent on the Islamisation of the USA and the world. The singling out of Muslims is not racism, it is realism as to what many of these Muslims want to do to the free world as the perhaps ‘good’ Muslims sit idly by and watch as their future i the free world was under attack too..

  • ALICK MAZIN

    I sure hope he is going to shake this sleepy old world up!!!
    It has been dozing away these, at least 8 years and has reached a point of no return, just look at Europe and UNESCO.

  • EndTimesComing

    “What else are we totally convinced of, yet are 100% wrong about?”
    How about pretty much everything. You are so locked into the no longer relevant “Hitler is coming! Hitler is coming!” that you can’t see things right in front of your face, betray your allies and those who would stand up for you, and even call your own Israelis and American Jews Hitlers if they don’t toe completely your Marxist ideological line. You ALWAYS back the wrong horse. Always seeking the most leftist candidate no matter how corrupt, no matter how hateful toward Jews and Israel, no matter how much they undermine the laws and Constitutional restraints meant to keep people from stepping on other people’s lives and beliefs. You cheer at, and work mightily for, the complete dispossession of the white Christians who built this country and established the laws and Constitution which protects you, and your organizations like the ACLU tirelessly work to use the Constitution to undo the Constitution. And you wonder why anti-semitism is on the rise???????? I pray God opens your eyes.
    I really do. I love Israel. And I would love to love the Jewish communities in America, but they seem to stand against everything I have ever believed, fought for in two wars, and the Constitution I swore an oath to uphold.

  • elixelx

    and why, pray, did you pray that Trump would lose? Did he rub up your namby-pamby, wishy-washy lily-livered feelingsy weelingsees the wrong way?

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