CNN's Jake Tapper, Dana Bash admit what they got wrong about Trump's 2016 election win


During a CNN panel event at New York's 92nd Street Y on Thursday, Jake Tapper and some of his colleagues discussed the state of American politics -- admitting what they missed in lead up to Donald Trump's historic 2016 election win.

Tapper, who hosts both "The Lead with Jake Tapper," and Sunday morning's "State of the Union" on CNN, said his biggest mistake came when former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton labelled "half" of Trump's supporters as "deplorables." Specifically, Tapper says he missed exactly how this would resonate with undecided voters in swing states across the nation.

"I don't think I, or many people living in bubbles fully got how much that would've bothered people," Tapper said.

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Tapper noted having somewhat of a revelatory moment when he read the Boston Globe's "Understanding the undecided voters," in which Diane Hessan pens, "...I have learned that instead of speaking about each other, we need to speak with each other. If you had asked me to describe a Trump voter last spring, I would have been largely wrong about their motivations, dreams, and even their values."

Tapper sat on stage alongside a star-studded group of network talent, including chief political correspondent Dana Bash, chief political analyst Gloria Borger, political correspondent Ana Navarro and political contributor Paul Begala.

Bash, who primarily covers congressional political affairs, says her biggest during the election season as being "right in front of her" during two trips to talk with millennials in North Carolina and women in the suburbs of Philadelphia.

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Bash described millennials as being "totally vanilla" about Hillary Clinton as the Democratic candidate, with most still voicing frustration over Bernie Sanders' having not made it past the primary.

As timing would have it, Bash's trip to Philadelphia came right after an Access Hollywood tape revealed a slew of vulgar comments -- including the now infamous "Grab them by the p***y" -- from then-candidate Donald Trump.

In talking to suburban white women in Philadelphia, Bash says she heard time and time again a resounding, "We don't care" when asked about Trump's comments.

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"We relied so much on data," said Bash. The longtime CNN reporter later described getting word from Clinton camp on election night, after Florida had been called for Trump, that "it was over." The panel was in agreement that on election night, the Clinton campaign knew long before Trump world that the race was going to be called for the reality star-turned-politician from New York.

Gloria Borger and Paul Begala emphasized this blind spot with the white working class, with Begala describing it as a missed recognition of the "collapse of high school educated white voters."

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"Clinton did measurably worse among high school educated white voters than Obama did," said Begala. "And he's a black guy whose middle name is Hussein."

Where lower educated white working women went for Trump by more than 20 points in the 2016 election, Borger emphasized this voting reality as crucial to the Trump campaign's success -- saying it was more about economics than gender for this demographic.

"With young female voters, it's clear in some ways we've raised them right," Borger said. "Because their response to having Clinton as the first female president was, 'We're gonna have a woman president -- it doesn't have to be this one.'"

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Thursday's NYC event was coordinated in conjunction with the released of CNN's book "Unprecedented: The election that changed everything." The book was an endeavor that took shape throughout the campaign, CNN president Jeff Zucker said in his opening remarks, revealing that the final product was sent to the printers a mere three days after Election Day.

Zucker commented on the apropos name of the text, saying, "We could not have predicted a more appropriate title for this book.

Republican strategist Ana Navarro says she was most surprised by America's appearing numb to Trump's rhetoric.

"So much of America had lost the ability to be shocked," said Navarro. "We live in a post-scandal country where reality shows and the media have desensitized Americans to the vulgarity of a candidate like Donald Trump."

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Since assuming the presidency, Donald Trump and his administration have made it no secret that they stand in staunch opposition to what is often referred to as the "mainstream media" -- something President Trump and others in his camp often refer to as "fake news."

White House chief strategist Steve Bannon on Thursday reiterated this sentiment during his CPAC appearance with Trump chief of staff Reince Priebus, again hitting the "opposition party" media.

"Media has taken on something of a beating," said Tapper. "The media is under direct fire from the Trump administration -- and this means we have to get it right every time."

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