Politicians, like lawyers, are storytellers. Jesse Andrews writes in The Awl that Trump won because 'Trump told a story, and Clinton didn’t.'
Trump told a grossly simplistic story in his campaign...It was very easy to understand. You could remember all of it, and it was about America. It addressed the same audience every time, and it pointed to obvious solutions that the Democrats were not going to do. Immigrants are taking your jobs; I am going to kick them out! Muslims and black people want to kill us; I am going to stop them and jail them! Comfy city-dwellers on the coasts don’t believe or care that your jobs are gone or crappy; I hate those freaking people as much as you and will not allow them to run things anymore!
What was Clinton’s story? Clinton ran as a technocratic incrementalist, who knows tons of stuff about tons of stuff and will make well-considered technical improvements to our country here and there, continuing and sharpening our neoliberal trajectory with policies that address this thing and that thing, based on dizzying amounts of science and data. She’ll react to world events on a studied, case-by-case basis. That is both a very sound vision of a presidency, and the most boring thing I have ever typed. I had to get up two different times for coffee while writing it. It’s not a story at all.
You might say: She also ran as a glass-ceiling breaker, a highly experienced person, and basically the complete screaming opposite of Trump. Those are all just stories about her, though. They don’t tell a story about America that rebuts Trump’s.
Gore was a technocratic incrementalist. Kerry was a technocratic incrementalist. Remember when Bush mocked Kerry for coming up with “a new nuance”?