Baer: Lessons learned, lessons to learn

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Donald Trump, giving his victory speech surrounded by family members, won the White House with his message resonating in middle America.

SOMEWHERE IN A post-2 a.m. haze Wednesday, I thought of comedian Kevin Hart's R-rated routine about his father's never wearing underwear. Stick with me on this.

Philly-born Hart describes his dad, who's high, walking into a school event in loose sweatpants that can't hide his manhood. Hart demonstrates by swinging a handheld mic between his legs.

As "Dad" passes through a seated audience repulsed at what it sees, he calls out that his thing is long: "You gon' learn today!"

Hart and the bit are hilarious. (It's on YouTube with close to two million views.)

I thought about it because I figured something like that went through our president-elect's R-rated mind as election results were tallied.

He was the MAN. Not short on anything. In fact, long. Long on support, long on votes. And America was about to learn.

There's other linkage.

"Dad" was high. Remember Trump sniffing through debates with Hillary and some suggesting he was "coked up?"

"Dad" was well-endowed. Remember comments about Trump being short-fingered and small-handed, implying short and small something else?

Remember how, during a primary debate, Trump raised the issue and said if anyone thinks "something else must be small," they're wrong: "There's no problem. I guarantee."

Well, certainly by early Wednesday, Trump had no problem, and we all learned that the message he swung across America for more than a year, although repulsive to some, had won him the White House.

Lesson learned.

What remains to be learned? Better ways to poll. Better ways to report and opine.

Too many pollsters based turnout models on past elections when this election was like no other; too many underestimated anti-establishment anger.

Too much national media is East Coast urban-oriented; too many TV talking heads are far too smug about politicians they happen not to agree with.

Franklin and Marshall College poll director Terry Madonna says pollsters need to use more online methods to reach more voters rather than rely on phone interviews. "I want to make sure in the future we get it right," he says.

And cable news commentators glibly convinced the nation that Trump never would get votes from blacks or Hispanics. In fact, he did better with both groups than Mitt Romney in 2012, according to exit polls.

I and others saw and reported the "enthusiasm gap" between supporters of Trump and Clinton. But almost no one accurately saw its size.

And this election is seen by some as all about white men rejecting emerging American diversity. CNN's Van Jones, who served in the Obama administration, says it's "white-lash" against a changing country and a black president.

Trump's campaign sure seemed to dog-whistle in that direction.

But what if Trump, whose awkward pledge to help "the blacks" sounds soft, governs differently than he campaigned?

What if the wall, the deportations, the Muslim ban, the promise of a special prosecutor to go after Hillary Clinton, are but opening gambits in a greater game of governance?

What if Trump, like Ronald Reagan (and I know, I know, he's no Reagan), continues exceeding expectations? To quote Kevin Hart's father, we're "gon' learn."

baerj@phillynews.com

Blog: ph.ly/BaerGrowls