It's been about a week since the election and, like a lot of Americans, I'm still in a state of shock.
Just about nobody saw it coming. The polls got it wrong. Reporters got it wrong. The pundits got it wrong. Wall Street got it wrong. I got it wrong. I don't believe that even Donald Trump thought he'd win.
Here was a man who never held office in any level of government; who never was appointed to any political position; whose claim to fame was that he was a businessman with a hit reality TV show. Here was a man who more than a few "intellectuals" of the left breezily compared to Hitler; a man who was notoriously thin-skinned and vindictive and who seemed to have an unhealthy need for the admiration of the crowds.
And despite all that, he won.
Everybody who thought they knew what they were talking about didn't know what they were talking about.
This is how Jim Rutenberg put it in The New York Times.
"The misfire on Tuesday night was about a lot more than a failure in polling. It was a failure to capture the boiling anger of a large portion of the American electorate that feels left behind by a selective recovery, betrayed by trade deals that they see as threats to their jobs and disrespected by establishment Washington, Wall Street and the mainstream media."
Liberal elites (and some conservative elites, too) not only don't understand half of the American population, but also they too often look down their noses at ordinary Americans. They don't share the values of ordinary Americans. Elites wouldn't get caught dead in Branson, Missouri, going to a family song and dance show. Elites summer with other elites in Martha's Vineyard.
Michael Moore, the left-wing gadfly who desperately wanted Trump to lose, was prescient in his analysis, which came just days before the election.
"Whether Trump means it or not is kind of irrelevant because he's saying the things to people who are hurting and it's why every beaten down, worthless, forgotten working stiff who used to be part of what was called the middle class loves Trump." Moore said that Trump was the "human Molotov cocktail that they've been waiting for — the human hand grenade that they can legally throw into the system that stole their lives from them. ... Trump's election is going to be the biggest 'f—- you' recorded in human history. And it will feel good."
The email scandal, of course, didn't help Hillary Clinton. That added to the impression a lot of Americans had of her — that she was dishonest and didn't play by the same rules as everybody else. But there was something else that might have been far more damaging.
You'll recall that Clinton went to a fundraiser in Manhattan and told a bunch of well-heeled liberal swells that half of Donald Trump's supporters belonged in a "basket of deplorables."
That kind of talk plays well in places like Cambridge, Massachusetts, where Clinton won 89. 2 percent of the vote, but doesn't hit ordinary Americans in a good way. She apologized, but it was too late. Trump was giving a great big middle finger to the elites during the entire campaign, and here comes Clinton telling these elites how "irredeemable" so many Trump supporters are.
And while she was running TV ads that put Trump's vulgarity on display, she was campaigning in Cleveland with Jay Z and Beyonce. One raps about pimps and bitches and the other sings about "stains" that some guy put on her dress.
Voters noticed the hypocrisy.
So, this election was about the culture at least as much as it was about emails or skyrocketing health care premiums or President Obama's precious legacy, which the voters made clear they didn't care very much about. This is from Michelle Malkin in National Review:
"The good news is that after being blasted as haters by Clinton's hate-filled minions, after being slapped down as racial 'cowards' by Clintonite holdover Eric Holder, after being lambasted as 'xenophobes' and 'nativists' by immigration expansionists in both parties, after enduring a string of faked hate crimes blamed on conservatives, after ceaseless accusations of 'Islamophobia' in the wake of jihad attacks on American soil, after baseless accusations of 'homophobia' ... and after mourning a growing list of police officers ambushed and targeted by violent thugs seeking racial vengeance, an undeniable movement of citizens in the 2016 election cycle decided to push back."
And so we are witness to one of the biggest presidential election stories in U.S. history. Nothing quite like this has ever happened in any presidential campaign. But that's what you get when the elites think they're not just smarter, but also better than ordinary Americans. Think of the election as a revolt of the "deplorables."
Donald Trump may have won less than half of the total vote. But he won all of the presidency. Now let's see what he does with it.
To find out more about Bernard Goldberg and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.