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My Turn 12-25
Why political messages matter
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As expected, Donald Trump won the Electoral College vote last Monday, thus securing his election as our 45th president of the United States. A last-ditch effort by anti-Trump forces to flip 37 GOP electors from him to someone else fell flatter than a thin pancake.
Texas Republican electors proudly put Trump over the top, even though two of them cast protest votes against him. One voted for John Kasich, the other for Ron Paul. I doubt they will be invited to Trump’s inauguration, or any other GOP functions anytime soon.
Overall, Trump easily blew by the 270 electoral votes needed to clinch his victory. He finished with 304 votes. The bad news for Hillary Clinton was she lost 5 votes, slipping from 232 to 227, and increasing Trump’s victory margin from 74 to 77. Trump’s win is now official, but it must be certified by a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, 2017.
Despite Trump’s clear affirmation by the only votes that counted according to the Constitution, many Clinton apologists, including her husband Bill, still cling to their tired excuses to rationalize her loss. They would do well to follow the example set by President John F. Kennedy following the Bay of Pigs fiasco in 1961. First, he said, “Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan.” Then he added, “I take full responsibility.”
Unlike Kennedy, the Clinton camp prefers to play the blame game. Hence, they remain in deep denial on how in the wide world of politics their Democratic dreams for Hillary’s presidency turned into their worst nightmare.
In my view, Clinton lost partly because of her threefold argument: “I’m the best-qualified person to be president; Donald Trump is the worst-qualified; and vote for me because I’m a woman.” The problem with that argument was it failed to persuade enough voters in 30 of our 50 states.
I think Clinton also lost largely due to her mixed message of “We’re Stronger Together,” even as she publicly berated millions of Trump supporters, calling half of them “a basket of deplorables. The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic -- you name it.”
Despite her lame attempts to feign regret over her stereotypical statements, those voters she arrogantly maligned saw right through her hypocrisy and her hubris. So did millions of others who voted, not so much for Trump, but against Clinton.
Conversely, Donald Trump had a singular, somewhat simplistic message: “Let’s make America Great Again!” Despite Democratic attempts to trivialize and demonize Trump’s message, it resonated with millions of ordinary, hard-working, law-abiding, tax-paying American voters. They were, and are, fed up with “politics as usual,” and longing for change, starting at the top. His historic victory is a timely reminder that political messages matter. 
Now that Donald Trump is poised for the presidency, we the people will find out soon enough if he is up to the task of governing. If he proves worthy of our trust and confidence, he could be “In like Flynn.” If not, he could be “out like gout” in four years.
Retired Army Col. Thomas B. Vaughn can be reached at