This essay first appeared in the Huffington Post, November 22, 2016, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-j-croce/2016-election-quake-i-fiv_b_13144442.html
Huh?—a year and half of campaigning, two leading candidates with the highest disapproval ratings in American history, a Republican Tsunami—how’d that happen? Get ready, America, for four years of Donald J. Trump’s reverse smile.
Few anticipated the results. Even Republicans and Trump himself seemed surprised on election night. Although commentators have been wringing their hands for not anticipating the way voters actually voted, observers from major media stars to people at diners and around water coolers were already calling the campaign unprecedented. And yet, contemporary history and the current state of the media provide clues about how we have arrived at this surprising election.