WTF just happened? Lessons from 2016’s bizarre presidential election

David Roberts writes: It’s been almost three weeks now. The news cycle has moved on. But I, for one, have not fully processed the news that Donald J. Trump is going to be president.

Those words still sound like nonsense to me. I can’t shake the sense of surreality. And I know I’m not alone.

Before we’re entirely swept up in the Trump Outrage of the Day, I want to at least pause, take stock, and attempt to answer a simple question: What the fuck just happened?

To begin, I should acknowledge just how wrong I was about this election. I never once questioned my confident prediction that Donald Trump would never become president. “Just because Trump makes no sense doesn’t mean common sense has become worthless,” I wrote after Trump won some early primaries. “One black swan does not foretell a flock of black swans.” (Yeah. About that.)

I was overconfident, even more so than most in media. US political and media institutions were just as unprepared for this result as UK elites were for the Brexit vote — but at least UK elites hadn’t already witnessed the Brexit vote. Almost no one really thought it could happen here, even after we watched it happen there. [Continue reading…]

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