A few hours after my last post, sitting in the backseat of a car as we cross the interstate highway system, and I realize my attempted explanation of the election was only partial. A framing of how things went pear shaped, as opposed to a direct answer.
Why the hell did rural America and a balance of the suburbs settle on a millionaire (potentially billionaire, who knows?) real estate mogul from New York?
Was it just the tribal politics of being Republican? The few keywords of "abortion is bad!", "foreigners and immigrants are stealing our jobs!", and that's all it fucking took? Would Cruz or Kasich have done essentially the same in place of Trump? Would Bernie or Cory Booker or O'Malley or Elizabeth Warren have lost by the same margin as Hillary?
What could Hillary have done differently that would have won it for her?
Yes, blind tribalism is incredibly significant, and it does look to be increasing, but, presidential elections still go back and forth. What does it take to shift the few undecided voters, to increase the turnout in a few states?
Maybe a new politician who's not part of "the establishment" would have done better than Hillary. On the other hand Obama still has very high approval ratings.
Maybe it is simply better addressing the concerns of rural voters, and Bernie would have won enough of them over and provided the turnout needed.
I'm not sure. It does not appear to be policy, and I do not know what it takes to tip the balance of the cultural divide, much less break through it.