This is a rush transcript from "Journal Editorial Report," November 12, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT-ELECT DONALD TRUMP: As I've said from the beginning, ours was not a campaign but rather an incredible and great movement -
TRUMP: -- made up of millions of hard working men and women who love their country and want a better, brighter future for themselves and for their family.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL GIGOT, HOST: Welcome to the “Journal Editorial Report.” I'm Paul Gigot.
That was President-elect Donald Trump early Wednesday morning after his stunning defeat of Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, in a long and hard- fought battle for the White House. Mr. Trump's unlikely win sent shock waves through the political establishment and around the world. So how did he do it and are there lessons in his victory for both parties?
Let's ask Wall Street Journal Potomac Watch columnist, Kim Strassel; editorial board member, Joe Rago; columnist, Mary Anastasia O'Grady; and assistant editorial page editor, James Freeman.
So, Kim, welcome to New York.
KIM STRASSEL, WASHINGTON COLUMNIST: Hello.
GIGOT: OK. How did Donald Trump do it?
STRASSEL: First of all, I think you've got to remember it was his message out there, and many of these things you look at the people that he won in the end, a lot of union households that Hillary Clinton should have done much better in, manufacturing states, energy states. This was a message to working white Americans that resonated in the end. I think he also had some good ground game help from the RNC.
GIGOT: He did better among union workers than any Republican since Walter Mondale and, of course, that was the Ronald Reagan era, and that was a landslide. You're saying it was the economic message? Is that what it was?
STRASSEL: It was the economic message. These were left behind workers, people who believe Washington is not working for them. I think his policies and his promise that he would represent them in Washington flipped a lot.
Look, we had some 700 -- how many counties voted for Obama in the end that --
STRASSEL: Twice. How many of those again flipped?
JOE RAGO, EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBER: One-third.
STRASSEL: One-third of them. So, these are people who are kind of in the middle. They voted for the president before, President Obama, but they felt that that administration had not served them.
GIGOT: And just on that point, 13 counties in Michigan alone from 2012. That's an enormous number of counties to have flipped in one presidential cycle.
MARY ANASTASIA O'GRADY, COLUMNIST: Yeah, that's true. I agree with Kim that there was a lot of dissatisfaction amongst white working-class voters, but I don't think it explains the victory. If you want to understand the victory, you have to first of all admit it was a national referendum on Barack Obama, eight years of Barack Obama, and a weak Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton. If you look at the white educated, college educated voters, that number was much higher than what was anticipated in the polls. Things matter at the margin. And I think that margin was a bunch of those people who said they didn't like Trump but looking at Hillary Clinton and looking at the last eight years and saying, I can't take any more of this.
GIGOT: That's an important point. We all talked here for weeks about how college educated Republicans might not vote for a Republican presidential nominee for the first time ever. And, in fact, in the end, he won them by, what, about four points, something like that, Joe? How do you see this? There's a little disagreement on either side of you about whether it is Obama or --
STRASSEL: I think Obama was a big reason, too.
RAGO: Look, Trump broke through in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, states that Republicans for 30 years have been trying to unlock, and he did it with no money, no skills or organization -
-- and it is a remarkable achievement. It is a big shock to the U.S. political system.
GIGOT: But it isn't an overwhelming victory.
RAGO: Not at all. He won those states by one percent.
GIGOT: It is a plurality. He did get 50 percent. There was still a contingent quality to this where they're saying, well, we're rejecting what we have seen, and rejecting the Democrat, but not fully embracing Donald Trump.
RAGO: No, if you look at the exit polls, Mrs. Clinton had a higher favorable rating than Donald Trump. I think voters decided he was a risk worth taking as an agent of change.
STRASSEL: Prospect of change.
GIGOT: James Freeman, I go to you last because you are no doubt the most celebratory here.
Let me ask you, I mean where would you put your -- what is your number-one explanation?
JAMES FREEMAN, ASSISTANT EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR: Well, I'm here just miles from Mar-A-Lago, coincidentally, but I am celebrating. I think it is a moment where you can talk about the caveats of the overall popular vote and all of those things later, but for now, it is a huge victory. We talked about some of it.
GIGOT: Yeah, what --
FREEMAN: He had a message. She had no message. She had basically criticisms of Donald Trump in her advertising and speeches. He was talking about economic revival to a country that was focused on and needed economic growth. I think the repudiation of Obama is a big part of it.
And you talk about confounding the experts, unlike Hillary Clinton, he really improved. You go from the debates last winter where he seemed to know almost nothing about policy, you get to that last presidential debate and --
GIGOT: And he still seemed to know not a lot about policy, James, I'm sorry.
FREEMAN: No, no. He was beating her in a debate on constitutional jurisprudence. He actually knew what the Heller decision on the Second Amendment said. I think he really, obviously, confounded a lot of experts. He improved and had a message and he was speaking to people being ignored.
GIGOT: OK. Kim, what credit do you give -- Joe mentioned the lack of a ground game and lack of advertising. What credit do you give the Republican National Committee and Reince Priebus?
STRASSEL: A lot. The more people look at this the more has come out. The RNC had 315 field offices, 7,600 paid employees, 26 million calls.
Just to give you a -
GIGOT: Were they better on the big data this time?
STRASSEL: They were great on the meta data that was in operation that they poured money into in the last four years.
But just to give a comparison, in September, Bush had one field - I mean, Bush? Trump had one field office in Florida. Hillary Clinton had 51. The RNC had 62.
STRASSEL: So, they -- by the way, Reince Priebus, I think the other thing he gets credit for is there were people that wanted him to at one point direct more money into advertising. He kept it in the ground game. There were also people that at one point wanted him to abandon Donald Trump and go down- ballot, he didn't do that. I think that's one reason you now hear Mr. Trump talking about perhaps a cabinet position.
GIGOT: Still ahead, Donald Trump's Rustbelt strategy pays off as blue collar voters in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin help send him to the White House. We will talk to a strategist who predicted his path to 270, next.
GIGOT: The Rustbelt states playing a decisive role in Donald Trump's victory Tuesday, as the Republican rode a surge in turnout among white working-class voters to break through Hillary Clinton's so-called blue wall in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
John Brabender is a Republican strategist and long-time adviser to former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum.
Sir, welcome back.
JOHN BRABENDER, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Glad to be here.
GIGOT: I have to say you called this one. Were you surprised by the magnitude of the margins in these states?
BRABENDER: Not totally surprised. For one reason, I was doing a lot of races in the states. I was seeing micro polls, state Senate races, congressional races and some of the Senate races. Clearly, there was one thing coming out. One, is I did believe there was an undercount of votes in the polls for Trump. The reason is if you're a union member, blue collar conservative Democrat --
BRABENDER: -- you're not necessarily going to tell somebody who you don't know on the phone that I'm voting for Donald Trump. And so, I did believe that that was being underestimated.
Number two is we were seeing a different enthusiasm level for Trump voters versus pro Clinton voters.
Then there was one other thing. If you look at sort of the exit polls, and let's hope to god those are more accurate than the national polls, but if you look at those there was one thing that people who were dissatisfied with government, the federal government, overwhelmingly went for Trump.
What that says to me is that Hillary Clinton became the income ben the incumbent in this race. It was not an open seat. If you are undecided, generally, you go towards the non-incumbent, in this case, Trump.
GIGOT: Let's break down the state of Pennsylvania, which you know very, very well. A Republican hasn't won it since, what, 1988?
BRABENDER: That's correct.
GIGOT: So a very long time. Now, how did Trump do it if you look at the state demographically? We talked for weeks about how he was having -- he was struggling in the Philadelphia suburbs. How did he do there?
BRABENDER: Well, he did better than expected.
BRABENDER: He didn't do great. For example, take Bucks County, which had a highly contested district.
GIGOT: So that's Allentown, north of Philly?
GIGOT: North of Philly.
BRABENDER: Right. And so, the Republican ended up winning by limb 10 points.
BRABENDER: In that district the Senate candidate, Pat Toomey, I think won about five points. Donald Trump actually lost it but not by the margins that they thought he would. So, he actually recovered a little bit in the suburbs of Philadelphia.
BRABENDER: But then in the west, he started to roll up big numbers. A good example is Erie County.
GIGOT: And that's in the far west near Ohio.
BRABENDER: Right on the lake. They have not voted for a Republican for president since 1984. It is over 60percent Democrat.
BRABENDER: And Donald Trump won that county.
And here is really the crucial part of this. You know, we talk about the gender gap, that Hillary was going to win big among women, Donald Trump was going to do well among men. Non-college educated white women voted for Donald Trump I think on the national level of 62 percent, in these Rustbelt states he won by big margins among sort of these blue collar, who are oftentimes conservative, but working mothers in a sense. And I think that was the whole difference of the game, and I think as they do more analysis they're going to understand that you cannot paint a broad brush and say, you know, here is how the female vote or the male vote is going to go. You have to look much more granular than that.
GIGOT: Is this a revival of the Reagan coalition, of kind of blue collar voters who used to be Democrats with the traditional college educated Republicans?
BRABENDER: Yeah, here is the interesting thing. These are the sons and daughters of what we would have called as Reagan Democrats.
BRABENDER: And what's interesting is their votes are very fluid. And they have not become pro Republican, let's be clear on this. They think both parties have left them on the economic battlefield. They think both parties have let them down, and they think Washington is basically corrupt.
BRABENDER: And so when Donald Trump is talking about trade and immigration and even ObamaCare, these are music to their ears, and they resonated based on that. And the biggest strategic mistake I think Hillary Clinton made is she took these voters for granted.
GIGOT: OK. So, was there a turnout problem for her among minority voters, particularly in Philadelphia? Because it is usually in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh where they roll up -- Democrats roll up the big numbers to overwhelm Republicans in the rest of the state. Was there a lack of enthusiasm for her there compared to Obama?
BRABENDER: Well, I would guess there wasn't as much enthusiasm, but actually the votes were there.
GIGOT: They were there?
BRABENDER: If you look at Philadelphia, coming out of Philadelphia, she did every bit as well as Barack Obama did. That was a big surprise. They thought that she had driven up enough numbers that she was going to win. Then in the Collier County, she didn't do as well as Obama, but she did OK. If you would have just looked at those numbers, you would have thought she would win Pennsylvania by two or three points. But then you get into some of the swing areas, Johnstown, Pennsylvania, Erie, that we discussed, the Scranton area, and even the city of Pittsburgh, once you got outside the city of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County and surrounding counties, Trump did extremely well. Then you get in the small rural areas and towns, overwhelmingly they voted for Trump, and it made up the big advantage Clinton had coming out of Philadelphia.
GIGOT: All right, John, thank you. Fascinating stuff. Thanks for coming in.
BRABENDER: Thanks for having me back.
GIGOT: When we come back, the president-elect heads to Capitol Hill as Republican leaders vow to work together despite their differences. A look at what the new Republican majority can accomplish.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN, R-WIS., SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Donald Trump heard a voice out in this country that no one else heard. He connected in ways with people no one else did. He turned politics on its head. And now Donald Trump will lead a unified Republican government. And we will work hand in hand on a positive agenda to tackle this country's big challenges.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIGOT: That was House Speaker Paul Ryan Wednesday promising to work with President-elect Trump to tackle the big problems facing the country. So, with Republicans taking control of the presidency and both houses of Congress for the first time in a decade, can they agree on a path forward for the party and the country?
James, first break down why do you think that the Republicans were able to hold on to the Senate? It looks like there wasn't all that much ticket splitting in the end.
FREEMAN: No, we saw all year where Republican, especially Senators, were wondering how to deal with Trump. Do you keep your distance? Do you stay close to him? A case study in your home state of Wisconsin where Ron Johnson made up a lot of ground, had a big comeback win running with Trump, and the way it worked was Trump voters ended up moving toward Johnson, and Johnson's voters in the southeast of the state ended up moving toward Trump.
GIGOT: Joe, do you buy that?
RAGO: No, I think -- well, certainly in part. I think the Republicans who were a little bit hands-off with Trump, saying they were fine with him, they wanted him to be president, did better than the ones that renounced him.
Look, Johnson ran a very good campaign on his own grounds about what he had done for Wisconsin. I think there's more factors in place than simply affiliation with Trump or not.
GIGOT: So, Mary, Paul Ryan, Donald Trump meets Paul Ryan this week, meets Mitch McConnell. Mitch McConnell doesn't hold a press statement as usual. What do you think about the possibilities of working together? Are they good?
O'GRADY: I think this election proves once again that this country is not immune to populous demagogues. But President Obama's presidency I think proves that's not an effective way to govern.
GIGOT: So this is --
O'GRADY: So, the question will be can Donald Trump leave behind the campaign he had, which was really populous, nationalists, a lot of demagoguery, and convert to something that's more effective. He needs Paul Ryan to do that. If he is smart, he will take advantage of the fact that he has this Republican Congress to get things done.
GIGOT: You're suggesting he should not run on the immigration, not govern, fulfill some of the promises on immigration and trade? How do you do that when you just won an election on it?
O'GRADY: Well, it is not going to be very easy, but he also has promised that he's going to salvage the American economy. You can't do that if, all of a sudden, you slap 35 percent tariffs on Mexican goods.
GIGOT: I assume, Kim, maybe he can -- let's take immigration. He has to do something.
STRASSEL: Yes, he does.
GIGOT: OK. Because he promised. Maybe he doesn't have to build the wall or a real wall, he could build a virtual wall or something like that. But he has to do something on that, even though I don't support the policy, but he is -- he ran on it.
STRASSEL: Exactly. And I do disagree. I think he has got to. All of those candidates that John Brabender was talking about, that's why they went to vote for him, so he has to fulfill that promise.
But I think immigration is a good example of how that's become a more sophisticated issue as time has gone by.
GIGOT: Even Trump has modified his position.
STRASSEL: He has. And the addition of it since we've had domestic terrorism attacks and the security aspect of it as well and the idea that you need to maybe screen people more carefully.
And, look, the Republicans part of the Gang of Eight had begun to come around. All of the Republican presidential candidates got to the same position to a certain degree where they were all saying you have to have security first, some level of a new security focus on the border. So maybe it is not a wall, but he has to do something along those lines.
GIGOT: Something to show that he's trying at least to stop illegal immigration.
GIGOT: What about -- where is the other common ground? Where is common ground, Joe?
RAGO: Look, I think if Trump is smart he will go to House Republicans, Senate Republicans, look at the better way. This is Paul Ryan's reform agenda across energy, healthcare, tax reform. There's a lot of consensus within the Republican caucus surrounding these ideas, and if Trump can claim them as his own and rack up big early wins in terms of economic revival, I think it will make for a successful presidency.
GIGOT: I assume you don't disagree with that?
O'GRADY: No, no, I don't disagree with that. But if he decides he got elected because he's going to shut down trade in Mexico and China, he's dead in the water. And the markets will punish him for that. There's a reason the markets sold off Tuesday night, and that's particularly his trade agenda.
GIGOT: But they've gone way back up since then, almost at a record.
O'GRADY: Right, right.
STRASSEL: Bank stock, bank stock, pharmaceutical stock.
O'GRADY: There was a shot across the bow to say, if you try this capital will flee the country.
GIGOT: James, what do you think the potential is, particularly in the Senate where you only have 52 votes? As you know, that's a tough body to get business done with. What would you come out of the block - what do you think they're coming out of the blocks with?
FREEMAN: I think there's a lot of reason for optimism on tax reform, deregulation. This is something where Republicans in the Congress and Trump see eye to eye. You can get some big wins here, get the economy growing.
Yes, I think Trump needs to learn from those in the Congress, but I think they have things to learn from him as far as how you market an idea. Mitch McConnell, as far as I can tell, has not said anything about the Paul Ryan better way agenda. Mitch McConnell, we have to think him because he is great from stopping bad things from happening in Washington, and a big, bad thing he stopped was Merritt Garland joining the Supreme Court. Now I think he should do some listening in terms of how Trump can drive an idea forward and think about playing more offense now, because I think that's the opportunity they have for reform.
GIGOT: Well, I'm betting Mitch McConnell is not building that wall quite the way that Trump imagines, but we'll see.
Still ahead --
FREEMAN: Well, maybe you build fences a little higher.
GIGOT: All right.
Still ahead, Democrat pollsters and pundits all reeling from Tuesday's election outcome. What went wrong for Hillary Clinton? How did so many people miss the signs?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, D-FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have seen that our nation is more deeply divided than we thought, but I still believe in America, and I always will. And if you do, then we must accept this result and then look to the future. Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIGOT: Hillary Clinton Wednesday conceding the presidential race to Donald Trump. Her loss is a stunning defeat for Democrats and an outcome most pollsters and pundits did not see coming. What went wrong for Clinton and how did the polls miss it?
Doug Schoen is a Democratic pollster and Fox News contributor.
So, Doug, was this a personal defeat for Mrs. Clinton or was it something larger for the Democratic Party.
SCHOEN: I think it was both. It was certainly a defeat for Secretary Clinton. She was seen to have an enthusiastic base of support that never got over 50 percent and ended up around 47 percent, 48 percent.
It is also a defeat for the Democratic Party. The party is now leaderless. It lacks a message. And with the perspective nomination of Keith Ellison to lead the Democratic National Committee --
GIGOT: Congressman from Minnesota.
SCHOEN: Minnesota -- who certainly is on the far left of the Democratic Party, as I see it. That is a direction that is I think antithetical to the way the electorate voted this Tuesday.
GIGOT: The Democratic Party, a lot of people are blaming Secretary Clinton. You know, they're saying the mistake was you went with somebody who was old -- let's face it, a lot of Democrats are saying that -- uninspiring, not charismatic, continued the status quo, no big message. So, it was her personal defeat, not a larger Democratic.
SCHOEN: Well, it was, because if you look at the Senate elections with the Republicans keeping the Senate, if you look at the House elections where the losses, which had been projected to be 15 to 20 seats or more for the Republicans were, I think, six, if I have my numbers correct -- Paul, I think this was a complete repudiation of the party that I belong to. And now the party appears potentially to be moving further left, which I think is a profound mistake.
GIGOT: Well, there was, after 2012, a lot of talk about what the so-called coalition of the ascendant, the journalists talked about it. It was the Obama coalition. It was minorities. It was young people. It was women. That this was the demographic future of America and, therefore, a permanent majority, more or less, as permanent as things get in politics, for Democrats. What happened? The coalition of the ascendant kind of vanished. Was it a personal coalition for Obama?
SCHOEN: I think it was a personal coalition for Obama. The other side of it is what got me interested in the Democratic Party was that it was an inclusive party that stood for a social safety net and a strong assertion of American values overseas. That's largely gone. It is now a party of redistribution and, frankly, retrenchment. Paul, I see the Democratic Party as, really now, as I suggested, leaderless and looking for a message while it lurches left.
GIGOT: So you're saying that that coalition just couldn't sustain itself without President Obama at the top of the ticket?
SCHOEN: Precisely so. And white working class voters, which flocked to Donald Trump, are an essential part of that coalition, was part of the coalition when I worked for Bill Clinton, and was absent for the Democrats Tuesday.
GIGOT: And how much of it was economically based?
SCHOEN: I think the movement against Hillary Clinton and against Barack Obama was economically based, because that white working class has seen --
GIGOT: No income increase.
SCHOEN: Precisely. Wage stagnation, underemployment, some increase in unemployment, but the larger American dream is largely gone for them. Their kids aren't going to do better than them. There's real difficulty financing education, retirement and health care. And they were looking for a new approach, which Trump offered.
GIGOT: It is fascinating to look at the red and blue match of the state. You have the west coast, kind of prosperous, California, Oregon, Washington. Then you have the east and northeast where you have higher income folks and, certainly, in the cities which have been doing fine.
GIGOT: And do you think that the Democrats listened too much to the voices in those parts of the country instead of in middle America where -- that's where Trump won the election, from Florida all the way across to the mountain west.
SCHOEN: Undeniably the Democrats have listened to both coasts, Washington, New York, to the exclusion of what I would call the real America, which is working class --
GIGOT: Now, there are also real Americans on the coast.
SCHOEN: I understand, and I don't mean they're not real, and I'm certainly part of that class, proudly and unabashedly. But you know what? You can't run a party based on New York, Washington and Los Angeles with a little Silicon Valley thrown in. It doesn't work and is not representative.
GIGOT: The Democratic response, you talked about Keith Ellison maybe to the DNC, but there are choices Democrats in the Senate, in particular, have to make. Some people will want to say, let's do to President Trump what Republicans did to President Obama in 2010, reject, reject, reject, and we'll have a true election. Smart?
SCHOEN: I don't think so. I think Democrats have to be true to values but support things like a big infrastructure program. I don't think the Democrats can succeed by just saying no to Donald Trump, particularly where there's going to be a fix or a replacement of ObamaCare. For the Democrats to say no is to potentially abrogate all responsibility and all influence in the country.
GIGOT: Do a big tax reform for infrastructure deal and help fix ObamaCare?
SCHOEN: Right. But do things that Trump has said he likes, the Democrats want, by getting rid of carried interest.
GIGOT: OK. All right. Thank you, Doug Schoen.
SCHOEN: Thank you, Paul.
GIGOT: Thank you for being here.
Still ahead, Democrats are reeling from their White House and failure to retake the Senate. Where does the party go from here and what lessons should it learn from Tuesday's defeat?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: That's the way the process works sometimes. We try really hard to persuade people that we're right, and then people vote. And then if we lose, we learn from our mistakes. We do some reflection. We lick our wounds. We brush ourselves off. We get back in the arena.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIGOT: President Obama Wednesday reacting to Hillary Clinton's unexpected loss and promising some reflection from Democrats on the election outcome. What lessons will they learn from Tuesday's defeat?
We're back with Kim Strassel, Joe Rago, Mary Anastasia O'Grady and James Freeman.
Joe, I thought it was a very gracious set of remarks by the president, as Hillary Clinton's were. On the other hand, I have a hard time thinking that he reacted so graciously in the privacy of Tuesday evening, Tuesday night. I think that it is really going to be interesting to see how Democrats respond. What do you make of their reaction so far?
JOE RAGO, EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBER: Well, I don't think they're exactly taking President Obama's advice right there -
-- which was pretty wise. I mean, they're blaming racism, sexism, xenophobia, fear of change -
GIGOT: Don't forget James Comey.
RAGO: James Comey, sure.
GIGOT: The FBI director.
RAGO: But, you know, I think there was a certainly complacency in the Democratic Party. They moved too far left too fast than the country was ready to go and you get a reaction like Donald Trump from that.
GIGOT: But why, Mary, if you're like the Democrats, you know, wouldn't you say, you know what, Comey meddled in the election. 11 days in, he issued that letter to Congress that really emphasized her ethical problems, the e- mails. So, yeah, Comey is to blame.
MARY ANASTASIA O'GRADY, COLUMNIST: Well, I think it is natural that they're trying to find somebody, you know, to blame, but they have to go forward. They have to figure out what went wrong. And if they hang it all on Comey, they're not going to learn the lessons of this election.
I think one of the big mistakes they made is this idea of income equality. They put all of their emphasis on redistribution. You know, the United States has never been a country that believes, as a nation, that you should covet your neighbor's goods. Rather, we believe that, hey, I can do better myself. And so, the idea, that sort of very European idea, if someone is doing well, I have to get what they have, is not something that flies in the United States. I think that's the lesson of this, that they should stop focusing on income equality and start focusing on expansion and growth.
GIGOT: Well, I would agree with you.
But if that -- the real problem with income distribution preoccupation is the policies to get there hurt growth, and then you don't get any income growth and that's what happens. You get average working people who say, hey, this isn't helping me.
KIM STRASSEL, WSHINGTON COLUMNIST: Greater disparity.
O'GRADY: Yeah, and I think the results of this election show that Americans understand that.
GIGOT: What do you think of Doug Schoen's comments that the Democrats seem to be moving left and that's nuts?
STRASSEL: Yes, it is nuts. Look, Hillary Clinton's loss did not begin a week ago when James Comey said what he said. They began eight years ago when Barack Obama began not just the policies that he was putting forward, but also the manner in which he governed, in which he issued executive --
GIGOT: All right. Fair enough. I agree with you.
But here is the thing you will get back from all the left, Kim, well, if that's right, why does Barack Obama have a 54 percent approval rating and - -
STRASSEL: Because it isn't this anger you feel and see among the voters, which put Donald Trump into the White House, is a reflex or a reaction to his policies, the economy he's created, the Washington he's created, style of governance he's created. Many voters may not exactly tag him as the person that did all of that, but, in fact, he was the guy that did all of that.
O'GRADY: It is not transferred to the next candidate. It is a cultic personality around him.
STRASSEL: But it is what he has done to the economy and what he has done to his party. Look, eight years ago. 250-plus Democrats in the House. Today, 190 something. Filibuster-proof Senate. Today, lost, managed to lose it, blow the best chance they're going to have in cycles to take back the Senate. Utter wipe out at the state level. They've got 15 governorships.
GIGOT: And only 30 legislators.
STRASSEL: Yes, down from 60 and down from 29 governorships when he took over. This has been Barack Obama's legacy to the party, which are policies in the governing style that the American public have rejected.
GIGOT: James, what do you think of the strategy we talked about with Doug, which is the rejectionist strategy, try to do -- win a Tea Party style victory in reverse in 2018?
JAMES FREEMAN, ASSISTANT EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR: No, that doesn't work for the Democrats, given all of the Senate seats they have to defend in Trump states in 2018. You're talking about 10 seats where Trump won 50 percent or more. So, that is not an option for them if they want to grow their caucus in the Senate, for example, and have a successful 2018.
But more generally, you can't be indifferent and hostile, or hostile to job creation and be a national political party. That's what we have the Green Party for.
I also think -- we you pore over this election, identity politics don't work as well as the Democrats thought they did. Hillary Clinton got a smaller share of female votes than Barack Obama did in 2008 or 2012. So what they ought to be thinking is, how do we talk to most of America that wants economic growth. And I can think of one elected Democrat, Gina Romando, governor of Rhode Island, who actually is making growth a priority.
GIGOT: Freeman for Romando in 2020.
GIGOT: All right. Thank you.
When we come back, he's promised to make jump-starting the economy job one. Can President-elect Trump deliver on his plan for 25 million new jobs and 4 percent growth?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We're going to rebuild our infrastructure, which will become, by the way, second to none.
TRUMP: And we will put millions of our people to work as we rebuild it.
TRUMP: We have a great economic plan. We will double our growth and have the strongest economy anywhere in the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIGOT: That was President-elect Donald Trump in his victory speech Wednesday promising to jump-start the economy with a big investment in infrastructure and setting an ambitious goal of doubling the nation's growth rate. So, can President Trump deliver on those promises with an economic agenda he ran on?
So, can he?
O'GRADY: Yeah, I think he can do it. I mean, first of all, I think he should keep in mind that Congress is not going to give him a blank check for infrastructure spending. I mean, if he thinks that this is just going to be a big spending spree, and that's how he's going to get growth going, I think he's going to have to learn a few things on his first few days on the job.
But the other problem he has, again, is this problem where he promised increased protectionism. I mean, you can't tell the American public that you're going to cut taxes and put, again, a 35 percent tariff on goods coming from Mexico. Tariffs are taxes. That's a tax increase.
GIGOT: And I agree with you.
But if he cut taxes, big corporate tax reform, general tax cut, spent some money on roads and bridges, fixed health care and ObamaCare, deregulated the large swath of the economy that this current administration has regulated, isn't that going to be a growth booster?
O'GRADY: That's definitely a growth booster. But I really hope that if he thinks he has to answer for his attacks on NAFTA, what he will do is open NAFTA up, say, I looked at it, I improved the verification process. You know, do something cosmetic but not touch what is fundamentally a very competitive North American economy, which he would basically take down if he tries to either force a renegotiation or Mexico doesn't agree and then he rips it up.
GIGOT: James, how worried are you about protectionist Trump? Because I think that actually trade is one of his core convictions.
FREEMAN: Yeah, it is a big concern. That's the big concern. I look at trade as what is working in the economy. It is the tax and regulation making U.S. businesses non-competitive that isn't working.
But you have to -- you have to find a way to work with him on these issues. Maybe, maybe there's some common ground in terms of let's not put up a tariff wall, but let's tell the Chinese no more forcing our companies to do joint ventures with their government-backed firms, which then steal our intellectual property. Maybe there are liberating trade issues where you can find common ground with him, and that's what I would look for.
GIGOT: And, joe, you're seeing inside the Trump transition this tension, I mean, between the growth elements, the guys, the tax cutters, and the deregulators on the other hand, and then the folks for whom trade is the predominant issue, guys like Dan Tamiko, former -- the new core --
RAGO: Yeah, I mean, it is not really a team of rivals so much as a team of adversaries. It is hard to see how David Malpass, for example, former Bear Sterns economist, who is heavily involved in the transition, and Peter Navarro, an economist who wrote a lot about trade with China and the effects on the economy, there's not a lot of overlap there.
GIGOT: No, they just disagree fundamentally on trade policy.
RAGO: The question is whether it is going to be incoherent or Trump is setting up a creative tension that might lead to some kind of accommodation. But it is hard to see it right now.
GIGOT: It is interesting, Kim. It is going to be interesting to see who get predominant roles inside the White House and also inside the cabinet, and then how this plays out. I think this is going to be the fundamental drama on economic policy for at least the first year of the administration.
GIGOT: You agree with that?
STRASSEL: Yes, it is going to be the biggest question, the only question, and which sides wins. We're going to have an early indication of that based on who the cabinet positions are and based on where other people are in key senior advisory roles, et cetera, to see who won the upper hand in that debate.
GIGOT: One of the things that also significant, Mary, is the president has a fair bit of unilateral power that Congress has ceded presidents over the years to do things like slap on retaliatory tariffs or declare China to be a currency manipulator. And of course, if he goes to Mexico and says I'll reopen - I want to renegotiate NAFTA or I'll pull out, how does Mexico respond?
O'GRADY: Well, look back at what happened when the U.S. was not holding up its obligations on trucking, Mexico went down the list of imports it got from the U.S. in the agricultural sector and jacked up the tariffs on all of those things. U.S. agriculture was screaming until finally -
GIGOT: OK, Mary.
O'GRADY: -- the U.S. gave in.
GIGOT: Thank you very much.
We have to take one more break. When we come back, "Hits and Misses" of the week.
GIGOT: Time for "Hits and Misses" of the week -- Kim?
STRASSEL: A huge miss to the nation's college administrators for coddling all of those snowflakes out there with counseling sessions and cry-ins and Playdoh and therapy dogs to help them in their moment of grief over a Trump election.
I would much prefer that they were giving some money for civics classes and reminding everyone they're fortunate to live in the 40 percent of the world that actually has fair and free and open democracy.
GIGOT: All right, Kim.
RAGO: Paul, it is a brave new weed in California, Massachusetts, Nevada and Maine, which voted this week to legalize recreational marijuana. Afraid to say this is a miss because the costs were higher, at it were, than it was advertised in Colorado and other states in terms of law enforcement, loss of productivity on the job, health care. I'm all for the laboratories of democracy, but maybe wait for some results to come in before moving ahead.
GIGOT: Thanks, Joe.
O'GRADY: Paul, this is a hit to the super moon we will see on November 14th. A super moon is a term astronomers use when the moon is full and unusually close to earth. It hasn't been this close in 63 years. Now, some people think the idea of a super moon is overdone, but this week, I was looking for something that didn't have to do with politics or football, and I had to go to outer space.
GIGOT: I actually think the super moon might explain the Trump victory.
O'GRADY: Could be.
All right, James Freeman?
FREEMAN: I don't know what's wrong with politics and football, but -
Paul, speaking of Mr. Trump, when he said it is time to make America great again, it sparked a lot of discussion, obviously, this past year. Did we ever stop being great? How do we become great again? There really should be no debate about who the greatest Americans are. And on this Veteran's Day weekend, we want to thank them for all of those freedoms Kim was just talking about. We got to choose, this week, who our leaders would be because of their sacrifices. So, a big thanks to them.
GIGOT: All right. Hear, hear. Thank you, James.
Thank you all.
Remember, if you have your own hit or miss, be sure to tweet it to us @JERonFNC.
That's it for this week's show. Thanks to my panel. Thanks to all of you for watching. I'm Paul Gigot. Hope to see you right here next week.
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