It is both humbling and humorous to have gotten this year’s election so very terribly wrong. Humbling in that for all the world to see, I have insisted what was so, was not. Humorous because of the reasons for seeing the race this way.
In the primaries, I insisted Donald Trump could not be the Republican nominee. Pollsters were sampling too many people who had never voted in Republican primaries before. The polls had to be missing it. But the polls were right. That then made many, myself included, fall into a funk. Here the polls were right and the GOP was on the verge of nominating a man those same polls showed could not in any way, shape, or form beat Hillary Clinton. The people must be suicidal. The Supreme Court was at stake and the polls showed the GOP had handed the White House to Hillary Clinton.
The general election came and the polls never really lost their shape. All the data showed Trump would lose. The individual polls are never reliable in and of themselves, but the polling averages have historically been great. The internal polling of both the Republican Party and Democratic Party showed the same thing. Republicans in Washington were apoplectic. We had snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
But the very same polls that got it right in the Republican primaries got it terribly wrong in the general election. Not only was the polling wrong, but on Election Day, the exit polling was wrong. I received the batch of exit polling around 6 o’clock in the evening. It showed a blowout for Hillary Clinton in Florida. Black voters had turned out 9 percent higher than 2012. Trump was getting crushed by Republican women.
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Then it all turned out to be wrong. Every bit of data that political consultants rely on to gauge an election, every single bit, was wrong. We are in a brave new world going forward. The benchmarks by which we gauge public opinion have broken down. The future has never truly been knowable, but statisticians and pollsters have been able to help provide some light into the fog. Not any more.
My concerns about Donald Trump were never primarily about his inability to win. That just compounded my anger and frustration, already set off by protestors at my home and my harassed children. My concerns about Trump remain. He is a terrible role model for our children. His supporters have a tendency to put their worst selves forward. And I remain deeply concerned about Christians in America seeming more to want a seat at a table of power than entry into the everlasting kingdom.
However, I have to admit that I got the election completely and utterly wrong. If I can get the election so terribly wrong, perhaps there are other things I have gotten wrong as well. Perhaps even Democrats have gotten much wrong. We should all give the president-elect the benefit of the doubt and give him a chance to prove himself.
Already there are Democrats claiming Trump is not their president. True. Barack Obama is our president. But in January, Donald J. Trump will become the president of all Americans and we all owe it to him to pray for him and wish him well.
In 2008, Republicans were convinced Barack Obama would take all their guns away. He never did. Democrats are now convinced Donald Trump will put them in concentration camps. He never will. America is increasingly divided. These are worrisome days. But as only Nixon could go to China, perhaps only Trump can unite us again.
Erick Erickson is a Fox News contributor and radio talk show host in Atlanta.