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For insight into what led to Tuesday night’s election outcome, Judy Woodruff and Hari Sreenivasan speak with J.D. Vance, author of “Hillbilly Elegy,” Ellen Fitzpatrick, author of “The Highest Glass Ceiling,” Matt Schlapp, chair of the American Conservative Union, Stefanie Brown James, CEO of Vestige Strategies, Elizabeth McCaughey, economic advisor to the Trump campaign and Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum.
For more on Donald Trump's stunning upset and what it means, we are joined by Ellen Fitzpatrick, presidential historian and author of the book "The Highest Glass Ceiling, Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union, J.D. Vance, author of the new book "Hillbilly Elegy," Betsy McCaughey, former lieutenant governor of New York and an economic adviser to the Trump campaign. Stefanie Brown James, she's the former director of African-American outreach for President Obama's 2012 campaign, and Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum.
And we welcome all of you to the "NewsHour."
I just want to go around the group first and ask you just to give me a sentence, starting with you, Matt Schlapp, on your reaction today. What do you think about these results?
MATT SCHLAPP, Chair, American Conservative Union:
Well, I have to say I feel a bit vindicated. It's been a tough campaign, I think, for both sides. It's been grueling.
The word I kept using was raw. And I think nobody expected or very few people expected for Trump to just explode in the Electoral College like he did. And it's a fantastic night for anybody who wanted change in Washington.
Stefanie Brown James?
STEFANIE BROWN JAMES, CEO, Vestige Strategies:
I think raw is actually a great question — I mean, a great response that Matt gave.
A lot of people that are in my community are feeling very raw today because the wounds that Donald Trump opened when he had so many disparaging remarks against minorities, against women, we continue to have those wounds really rubbed into today with him now being the president.
And a lot of us are wondering,how do we tell our children that a person who can be, you know, a bully, who can talk badly about women is now the president of our country?
Betsy McCaughey, what are you thinking today?
ELIZABETH MCCAUGHEY, Economic Advisor, Trump Campaign:
The results were a repudiation of Hillary Clinton's class warfare rhetoric.
Americans don't hate rich people. They would like to be rich. And Donald Trump's proposals to lift everyone by increasing prosperity, more jobs, more take-home pay really resounded.
ALI NOORANI, Executive Director, National Immigration Forum:
I think the Trump victory has tapped an emotional nerve.
So, I would capture this as a very emotional day. When you talk — when we're talking to people across the Latino community, the Asian community and their allies across the broad American public, there are a lot of raw emotions, some obviously in favor of Trump, the Trump win, and others really wondering where we're all going.
J.D. Vance, where are you today?
J.D. VANCE, Author, "Hillbilly Elegy": Well, I think it's just remarkable how wrong the conventional wisdom was.
It was utterly shocking that Donald Trump won to people who live on the coasts, but to people who live in the areas that I come from, it was utterly predictable. And that suggests something really, really broken about our political culture.
And Ellen Fitzpatrick?
ELLEN FITZPATRICK, Author, "The Highest Glass Ceiling": Well, I was surprised the polling with you so inaccurate, in some sense, and I was also — I really thought having, as a historian, studied the history of women's quest for the American presidency over a long period of time, since Victoria Woodhull ran the for presidency first in 1872, that Hillary Clinton was going to break through that glass ceiling this time.
I did have that expectation. So, I was quite stunned, actually.
Matt Schlapp, I wanted to ask you, what's the message that all these millions of voters who voted for Trump, what are they sending?
I just feel like they feel like they're cut out of what's happening in Washington. They feel like they're cut out of the economic opportunities that Americans always felt was a part of the American dream.
You know, when you don't have your real income, your take-home pay increase for a decade or a decade-and-a-half, it makes you awfully discouraged. And then when you see other things in society changing so rapidly, and you think that government is ineffective and unable to — incapable of taking steps, appropriate steps to make sure that America can lead, lead on the international stage and lead the international economy, I think that was so much of this.
But I think it was also — look, it was a repudiation — I think the voters like President Obama. He has very high approvals. I give him credit for that. But I do think his policies have hurt more people. You can see that by the poverty statistics. And I think this was a bit of repudiation of Obamacare and his policies.
I also think Hillary's corruption, she just could never get through that. Look at all those exit polls. They're just astonishing. The voters really made a judgment on Hillary Clinton's ethics.
Stefanie Brown James, I wanted to ask, that message that those voters are sending, counter that with the message that the Hillary Clinton campaign was sending and which — why didn't her message, if she had one that was clear, why didn't that prevail?
STEFANIE BROWN JAMES:
Well, I think that's a major challenge, in that a lot of people, especially in the black community, Latino community, didn't feel as though Hillary Clinton had a direct enough message for them to explain why she was the right choice, not just based off of experience, but what it was that she was going to do for these communities to continue to uplift them if she became elected president.
One of the challenges that I have been saying for a long time is that, you know, a campaign is won by your infrastructure and your ground game. And, unfortunately, what we didn't see enough from the Clinton campaign was a strong enough ground game to reach out to voters, to get real-time, real information from people who you were asking for their votes, to be able to determine how best to continue to engage them.
And I think that the Clinton campaign and the Democrats relied too heavily on President Obama to turn out the base of voters they needed to get Hillary Clinton the win. And what we saw was that enough effort wasn't put in to make sure that those voters who needed to go to the polls in strong numbers, African-American, women, youth, Latinos, it just wasn't enough.
I would like to jump in on that issue of the ground game, because I drew the opposite conclusion, that this election really demonstrated that emphasis on the ground game is now obsolete.
Donald Trump had virtually no ground game, although the RNC had something of a ground game. He spent less than half as much winning this presidency as his opponent, Hillary Clinton, did.
And I have to say, the taxpayers are hoping that he will be as effective at getting his money's worth as president as he was as a candidate.
Ali — go ahead, Stefanie.
But they were reaching two very different audiences with two very different tactics.
If you are drawing upon the emotional concerns of voters, as Matt mentioned, who are very much concerned that the America they know is being taken over by people who don't look like them — let's be frank — then that's an emotional appeal that is not going to be the same as for black voters, for example, who you need to knock on their doors and have conversations to say why they need to vote for Hillary Clinton.
This is not about why they should or shouldn't vote for Donald Trump. It's about, why should you vote for Hillary Clinton? And you need that ground game in order to have people understand why she should be your choice. And that, unfortunately, didn't happen in strong enough numbers.
I want to bring Ali Noorani in here in terms of the message.
Was it a case of Hillary Clinton not getting that message across, or was it that Donald Trump's appeal was just to powerful, it overwhelmed whatever Hillary Clinton was doing?
Well, when you look at the numbers, I mean, Hillary's message resonated in urban areas.
But Donald Trump clearly tapped into a nerve across suburban and rural America that we just haven't seen tapped in such a powerful way before. He overperformed what Romney was able to do in 2012 and he was able to run up those margins. So, I think, at the end of the day, this was an election not just about an emotion, but this emotion of anxiety, and an anxiety that was triggered by economic fears, cultural fears.
So, we have been looking, and as we have been thinking about this over the last day, this is a moment where we…
This is the Immigration Forum.
Right, right, at the forum, looking at this election as one about culture and values and what it means to be an American.
And when you look at over the last few months, a lot of people, yes, they — a lot of Trump voters want to see a solution in terms of immigration. They want to see greater regulation, a greater, a stronger border. But some of their solutions actually are different from what the candidate put forward.
So I think Donald Trump has an incredible challenge to translate his campaign promises into a consensus-building policy.
Betsy McCaughey, do the rest of Americans have something to fear when it comes to this gap between what Donald Trump had said on the campaign trail vs. what he might do as president?
I mean, you see the social conversations today, that there's a huge group of people, whether it's women, whether it's minorities, whether it's immigrants, who are concerned that they don't know where they stand with the new president.
Yes. Well, actually, I found most of his message quite unifying, because the emphasis was on prosperity.
I did want to touch upon something that one of our contributors said a moment ago about women and failing to break the glass ceiling. And here's how I see this. Hillary Clinton was urging voters to make history, but a lot of voters, particularly women, had trouble with her history.
And she was portraying herself as a feminist, as a glass ceiling breaker, but, in fact, in the eyes of many women, especially women closer to Hillary Clinton's own age, she had gotten where she was primarily on her husband's coattails.
She was less a Susan B. Anthony and more an Evita. And so they found this unconvincing. And millennial women who are out there every day competing with men don't see the issue.
I think this kind of rhetoric and exaggeration that has really informed this entire campaign does very little to elevate the political process.
And it's very unfortunate. It was amazing last night to see Donald Trump, who had been describing Hillary Clinton as crooked and corrupt, in a matter of a moment, was describing her as a fine and dedicated public servant, once he had won the election.
So, there was a kind of barbarism all the way around, I think, in this political campaign, in which the issues really were boiled down to very small sound bites. The impact of mass media on presidential elections, a process in television which really began in 1960, is reaching its logical conclusion here. And I think it's — the public is not well-served by it, frankly.
J.D. Vance, in your book "Hillbilly Elegy," you deal, of course, with white working-class Americans, many of whom you write about feeling forgotten, disrespected.
What do you think they are now looking for Donald Trump to do, and do you think he can deliver for them? Well, just answer the first part yet. What do you think they're looking for from him?
Well, the first thing that I think they're looking for, they have already gotten, which is a sense of vindication that they predicted, they knew that the media was corrupt, that they were lying about the outcome of the election, and Donald Trump really proved them right in some ways.
So, I think that there should be some soul-searching from the press, who predicted that Trump would lose very, very handily. But, of course, that didn't happen. And I think that corrodes some of the trust that a lot of folks back home have in the mainstream press.
Well, if I could just interrupt for a second, that was based on polls that pretty universally were showing Hillary Clinton ahead, because we don't do our own polling. But go ahead, please.
Yes. No, of course.
I'm not trying to be hyper-critical of the press, but I think that even the polls suggested a fair amount of volatility. And there was a certain degree of certainty, even though I don't think that certainty was necessarily supported by the polls that suggested Hillary Clinton was slightly ahead, but not very comfortably ahead, as a lot of folks talked about.
But I think what people want to see from the Trump presidency is, fundamentally, they want to see a more repaired and better path to the middle class. What a lot of folks feel — and some of the other commenters have mentioned this — is that there isn't a very clear way for somebody who's working-class, who is middle-income to really get ahead in 21st century America.
That implicates our education system. It also implicates our local and regional economies. And I think that folks will expect Trump to fix a lot of those things. But, of course, it's a really tall order, and it's not going to happen overnight.
Matt Schlapp, sometimes, the saying is that campaigning is the easy part, governing is the hard part.
As J.D. Vance just said, there's a lot of expectations that people have. All those people that put Trump into office, they want to see results. And now, technically speaking, no excuses. Congress, both the House and the Senate, are Republican, as well as the White House. What is the Trump deliverable in the first day, first 100 days, first year?
Yes, you know what? It's going to be time for us to put up or shut up.
You know, it's hard to reverse all of the problems we have seen in the economy that we have seen with these working-class voters, these blue-collar voters that turned out in just droves for Donald Trump.
But there are actually some easy things we could do. Our tax — our corporate tax structure is a disaster. And many of us who are small business people actually pay at higher rates than corporations do. We have some of the highest corporate taxes in the globe.
And what we're seeing is that corporations are leaving America for the sole reason of taxes. Second of all, we could do something about our regulatory structure.
Look, you could look at climate change. The impact of chasing after regulating carbon dioxide has really shed our economy of manufacturing jobs and additional energy jobs. We all know about the war on coal. We can all have our opinions on things like climate change, but we can't disagree on the fact that it has shed so many jobs in these communities and in these states, states that Donald Trump did very well in.
So, Republicans, of which I'm a proud member of that party, being in control of Congress, although we don't have 60 votes in the Senate — and it's always important to say that, which is, there is still going to be bipartisanship and all these things — we really ought to do something on our taxes, and we ought to do something on our regulatory structure. And ought to be more competitive internationally.
And then the investments that are sitting on the sidelines would start to flow into our economy. I really think middle-class America will be well-served by that, and, of course, a fix of Obamacare.
Let me turn to Stefanie Brown James, because you started out, Stefanie, by talking about raw feelings in the African-American community, the communities of people of color in this country.
If this principal focus of a new President Donald Trump is on economic issues like what we just heard Matt Schlapp and Betsy McCaughey describe, does that in some way reassure, assuage some of the concerns that you expressed?
I mean, definitely, you know, there is no doubt about that, you know, communities of color are very much concerned about the economy, being able to make sure that they have enough food to give their families. So, poverty is also a big issue.
But the challenge comes down to respect. And if there is a president who you feel doesn't fundamentally see you as an equal to other Americans, doesn't respect you, doesn't respect your life, then it doesn't matter what policy position they put forward or what plans they put forward, because the humanity — you feel your humanity is not being seen by your own president or your own government.
But, to be quite frank, you know, I'm excited to see what the Republican Congress is going to do, what this new Republican president is going to do, because I do think that it is time to show up and to prove that the policies that they say they want to put forth that's going to, you know, help the middle class, that it's going to actually make a difference.
I think people conveniently like to forget that, you know, President Obama inherited a doomsday economy, so I want to see what this Republican-led government is going to do to get us into a better shape.
Ali Noorani, I just wanted to pick up on something that she just said. How do you get these communities to feel respected?
Well, I think we're in for an interesting ride.
I should start with, I do not believe that every person that voted for Donald Trump is a xenophobe or a racist. On the other hand, some of the things that Donald Trump said over the course of the campaign gave voice and gave permission to people to do some very, very terrible things.
Just today, I saw news of a swastika being painted on walls in Philadelphia. So we're going to unfortunately see these kinds of things as we move forward through this administration.
President-elect Trump, when he becomes President Trump, is going to have an incredible opportunity to heal this country and to be able to, in essence, take that permission away.
Oh, just very quickly on this respect question, I think that's so right.
But, remember, I think actually this really boomeranged on Hillary Clinton. We focused so much on Donald Trump's rhetoric. But when she called Donald Trump supporters a basket of deplorables, you can see it in the exits. It just destroyed her with these voters.
And when called Christians — not her, but her staff in these leaked e-mails — called Catholics and Christians backwards, you can just see Donald Trump did — he actually won Catholic voters. So, you know, this idea of rhetoric out of control is something that really hurt Hillary Clinton in this race.
J.D. Vance, how do you see this playing out?
Well, I think that, first of all, Donald Trump and the Republican Party has to recognize that, though they obviously won this election, if you look at their low numbers among black voters, among Latino voters, this is not a long-term coalition that they can build on.
And so I really do think it comes down to respect. It comes down to being gracious. It comes down to really showing compassion for the problems of the black and Latino communities. And I really hope that Donald Trump takes the ball that's in his court and tries to go after those voters, tries to show some compassion, and really offers them something substantive to get excited about Republican and conservative policy.
Just a final word from Ellen Fitzpatrick on bringing the country together. Is it possible?
Of course it's possible, Judy.
This was a very close election. And, in fact, I believe Hillary Clinton, at least the latest count, shows that she won the popular vote. There was a lopsided vote in the Electoral College, as there often is.
So, we remain a very divided electorate. And it will be, of course, an imperative of the new president to try to address those divisions and to bring the country together in order to govern.
This is not a — this is not "The Apprentice." And, in four years, you're fired if you're not able to address the concerns of the American citizens. So, it's a tall order for someone without experience in politics or military service, and it's a new model. We will get to see how it plays out.
Well, the conversations are just beginning. This is only the first day after we have learned the results of the election. But we are so glad that you were all able to join us.
Ellen Fitzpatrick, Matt Schlapp, we thank you. J.D. Vance, Stefanie Brown James, Betsy McCaughey, and Ali Noorani, we thank you.
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