So WTF Happened?

ian leslie
2 min readNov 20, 2016


A reading/listening list for understanding November 8, 2016

Source: Private Eye

Probably like me you are still struggling to come to terms with the fact of President-elect Trump. Here’s a short list of articles and podcasts I’ve found most useful in doing so. I’ve read lots but these are the ones that stuck with me.

Analyses of the Results

Superb overview of the vote from Michael McQuarrie of the LSE, who convincingly defines Trump’s victory as a ‘regional revolt’.

Sean Trende of Real Clear Politics combines a detailed analysis of the data with an excoriation of the hubris of Democrats for assuming that history is ‘on their side’ - read it and weep.

Understanding Trumpism

David Wong at Cracked on how “half of America lost its f**king mind”. Although it’s written in a very punchy, polemical style, this is high-quality writing and thinking and one of the really essential reads on Trump’s appeal.

Excellent interview with the academic Kathy Cramer, who is one of the few researchers to have really spent a lot of time with the voters who came out in such force for Trump in the rural Midwest.

Conversations (podcasts/vodcasts)

Ezra Klein’s conversation with Molly Ball of The Atlantic (on the Ezra Klein Show — find it on iTunes etc) was recorded a few weeks before the election. I got round to it last week and it is one of the best things I’ve heard/read for understanding the Trump phenomenon.

From the same series, see also this post-election conversation with one of the wisest observers of American elections, Ron Brownstein. He makes a striking comparison between how the Obama campaign made an economic case against Romney, while Clinton stuck to Trump’s character.

Don’t miss this absolutely gripping dialogue/argument, about Trump and the culture wars, between two African-American academics.

Looking forward, the FiveThirtyEight gang’s online chat on what’s next for the Dems is interesting. I am finding myself strongly drawn to pieces on how Trump/the GOP can be taken on and eventually beaten (and less so to pieces about how terrible they are). Finally I will just send you in the general direction of the same team’s podcast series, the best regular commentary on the election and its aftermath.



ian leslie

Author of 'CONFLICTED: How Productive Disagreements Lead to Better Outcomes’ (Faber/HarperCollins) Twitter: @mrianleslie Substack: The Ruffian https://ianleslie