The Black vote, the Latino vote, the white working class, college-educated women, the middle class, fly-over country, the economy, illegal immigration, the threat of radical Islamic terror, income taxes, education and so on and so on. Politicians, pollsters, pundits and campaign operatives spend countless sleepless nights trying to get their fingers on the pulse of the American electorate in an attempt to figure out just what the top priorities are for the majority of voters. And apparently, as of November 8, 2016, it is all still a complete waste of time.
Hillary Clinton emerged last Tuesday from wherever she was hiding and lamented her historic defeat and declared herself “part of the resistance” to the Donald Trump presidency at a Women for Women International event in New York. Mrs. Clinton also took the opportunity to cast blame for why it is not her sitting in the Oval Office.
Clinton attributed her surprise loss in the 2016 election to interference by Russian hackers and the actions of former FBI Director James Comey in the final moments of the campaign.
“If the election had been on October 27, I would be your president,” Clinton told moderator and CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour.
But was Clinton’s defeat really so surprising? If history has taught us anything, Donald Trump’s victory in 2016 was not only far from an upset, it was inevitable.
Ever since Richard Nixon’s sweaty, uncomfortable, seemingly disgruntled face appeared side-by-side with the more youthful, charming and charismatic John F. Kennedy on the TV sets of millions of Americans in 1960, there has been only one tried and true, completely fail-proof determining factor in choosing the president of the Untied States – “Who would you rather have a beer with?”
“Who would you rather have a beer with” is a question that has been posed for years. While some people do put stock in the significance of the question, it is often treated as a means to simply entertain folks during a long and tedious election cycle. But the importance of the answer to that seemingly ridiculous question is often greatly underestimated.
“Who would you rather have a beer with” is obviously subjective. Personal politics and outside influences often cloud one’s judgement and distort one’s honesty. But if an individual was able to put all politics aside, the choice is usually quite clear.
In order for, “Who would you rather have a beer with” to be an effective gauge, one would have to essentially disregard the resumes of the parties involved and strictly focus on the personality, likeability and “fun factor” of the individual. In other words, if one had the opportunity to have a beer with war hero, POW and long-time U.S. Senator John McCain or a relatively unknown community organizer from Chicago in 2008, one might choose the former based purely on an interest in their life experiences. But assuming both individuals were just “average Joes”, Barack Obama would most likely be the popular choice. In 2000, it might have been intriguing to meet the two term vice president as opposed to the governor of Texas who you may only know from the family name. But resumes aside, would anyone really have to think about who they would rather have a beer with? Most folks might opt to sit alone in their closet rather than be subjected to engaging in a conversation with Al Gore.
It is also important to note that actual polls that pose the question are to be disregarded, or at least taken with a grain of salt, due to the inability of people to put partisanship aside and give honest answers. Many folks could never bring themselves to admit that they would prefer the company of a man who the media was able to successfully demonize as pure evil to a vast section of the population. But before Hollywood, late-night comedians and The New York Times tell us who the racist, sexist, homophobes are, the answer to the question, “who would you rather have a beer with”, is never really in question.
Here’s another way to look at it. Let’s call it the BBQ effect. Imagine you’re in your backyard with your friends having a barbecue when the side gate begins to open. Who would you rather see coming through that gate with a case of beer and full intentions of spending the entire day in your company? The honest answer to that question has been the victor in every single presidential election in modern history.
Hillary Clinton can make all the excuses she wants. But the unfortunate reality for her is that she may have the unique distinction of being the individual that Americans would probably least like to have a beer with. For most folks, it would take several beers and a few stiff cocktails just to tolerate her company for a brief period of time.
Candidates, campaigns and political parties can continue to search for answers and paths to victory in presidential elections. But as of this moment, “Who would you rather have a beer with” remains an undisputed science and only proven determining factor in choosing the leader of the free world.