NBC’s Chuck Todd has a message for political consultants and members of the media who were in the thick of the 2016 election. It’s okay to admit that you got things wrong. Last Friday, the network’s political director said that there was a time when he, and maybe other political junkies, were eager to get the transcripts from these post-campaign conferences held at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics. The Campaign Manager’s conference has been held since 1972 to provide the “first draft of history” from those who were in the trenches of the presidential campaign.
Todd touched upon the rather explosive interactions the Trump and Clinton campaigns had with one another discussing the election results. Clinton’s people noted that Trump gave a platform to white supremacists (not true), and that Hillary won more popular votes, whereas the Trump camp said that they didn’t win this election by stoking racist undertones and they won the election where it mattered: the Electoral College. Trump’s former campaign manager Kellyanne Conway pushed back heavily on the notion from Clinton’s people that Trump has no mandate to govern, considered the gutting of the Democratic Party. And the fact that the GOP is the dominant political force in the country; Trump will have the allies he needs to govern.
Yet, Todd noted that the intense dialogue between the camps showed, in his mind—that the Clinton people were sore losers, which they are, and Trump’s team were sore winners, probably alluding to Conway’s outburst that they won, “hashtag he’s your president” moment at the conference. But he also touched upon the lack of grace and humility, which he lamented, was conspicuously absent at the event (via Mediaite):
Even those that represented the media didn’t show humility. My gosh, can somebody show humility here?” Todd begged. “It’s okay to admit some mistakes. It is okay to do that. And it seems right now at that conference everybody was looking to blame someone else. Nobody would look in the mirror.”
“These are supposed to be role models for young, up-and-coming political consultants and political journalists,” he concluded. “I’m sorry for a 20 or 21-year-old right now. I’m worried they will look at this and say, ‘I’m not going into this business, I’m going somewhere else. This is an s-show.’”
On our election night livestream, and in various posts, I’ve admitted that I was dead wrong about President-elect Donald J. Trump. At the same time, I’ve never been happier to be wrong since Hillary Clinton is never going to be president. It’s not a bad feeling, folks. Admitting you were wrong is something that you have to do in these cases.