Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton. That is not a complicated sentence. Nevertheless the fact conveyed in that sentence came as a monstrous shock to many of the best political minds, pundits and reporters in the whole United States. The greatest brains, the wiliest strategists, the most experienced campaign advisors were in so deep for the Hillary win that they assigned to it a certitude normally associated with the mutterings of Fate. I still receive merriment from the memory of election night, when a bare hour before the polls were closing such oracle-organs as The New York Times and its compeer The Huffington Post were assessing Hillary’s chances of victory at 92 and 98 per cent, respectively. There is a lesson here for future campaigns: never let the cheerleaders do the polling.
Within the deepest chambers of the Hillary hive on that same election night, as any reading of Shattered, the definitive account of the Clinton campaign, makes manifest, the conviction of her triumph was set in steel. The Ice Queen was going to obliterate the Tycoon Clown. Why, even weeks before the vote, they were bracing themselves for a landslide. For besides having “the best presidential candidate ever” (Obama), a war chest larger than many national treasuries, and the greatest political brain of a generation (Bill) on their side, had not the lustrous millennial triplets — Katy Perry, Lena Dunham and Amy Schumer — pledged their collective heat to Hillary’s ascent?
Fate, however, is a sly bastard. There is always a banana peel on the path to a sure thing. And is it not written, never count Colonel Sanders’ sad orphans before they are hatched? Trump won. He won. And it remains the largest political fact in America today that his victory has proven — right up to this present, troubled moment — impossible for the Clinton team, Hillary herself, and all those in the media and the public who supported her to digest. The Queen herself, tellingly, having declined to concede on election night, has spent the months since the election, Penelope-like, confecting a web of conflicting, overlapping and confused rationalizations and excuses for her “unacceptable” loss. She is in a full Kevlar suit of absolute denial.