Posted: 7:18 am Wednesday, November 9th, 2016
By Jamie Dupree
The campaign trail was an even more exciting place in 2016 with the candidacy of Donald Trump. When I would return home for a few days between primaries, the other parents in my neighborhood only wanted to talk about one thing on the sidelines while our kids played soccer, baseball and more. Donald Trump.
Can Trump really win? He won’t really win, will he? What about his rallies? He’s crazy, right? He’ll never win, though, right?
And I kept telling them – Trump has a chance.
They didn’t believe me.
As Trump’s win became apparent on Tuesday night, I went back into my email files, so I could fish out one that I knew was there.
The date was February 24 – hours after Trump won the Nevada Caucus. I had just flown to Texas, where the GOP was having a debate, and thought a lot about the race as I drove down the dark highway toward Houston.
At my hotel, I wrote an email to a very experienced Democratic strategist back in D.C.
“After watching him in a number of states now, I’m convinced he can win in November,” I wrote of Trump.
Just dragged out an email I wrote on February 24 about Trump. "I'm convinced he can win in November"
— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) November 9, 2016
Many people I knew would sort of try to humor me at first when they would hear me say that; but I would insist, telling them that Trump could win this whole thing.
They didn’t really believe me. I could tell.
I’m sure much of America didn’t believe it back in February or March. Or even July and August.
But on Tuesday night, Donald Trump took that opportunity and seized it, defeating Hillary Clinton by winning in the states that Democrats thought they had defended, as Republicans not only took the White House, but also kept their majorities in both the U.S. House and Senate.
This is real, folks. This is real.
— Sean T at RCP (@SeanTrende) November 9, 2016
It wasn’t just my friends who didn’t believe me about Trump.
I kept hammering my radio stations to understand that this was not some flash-in-the-pan political episode.
you know…let’s just admit the public polling was wrong! the idea of change trumped everything else. no pun intended/
— Tony Fabrizio (@TonyFabrizioGOP) November 9, 2016
Just hours before the polls opened on Tuesday, I wrote my stations a note about Election Day. On Trump, I said:
“Let’s re-emphasize something that I would certainly say if my voice worked – at EVERY STEP, we have been told that Donald Trump CANNOT win. He won’t win a state. He won’t win a primary. He won’t get the nomination. And yet he did.”
My bottom line – do not assume that he is going to lose.
Back in June, I ran into someone from my neighborhood. “You were right,” he said.
“About what?” I had no idea what he was talking about.
“About Trump,” he said. “You told me he was going to win, and I didn’t believe you.”
Many of my friends inside the Beltway didn’t believe me. But I had been out there on the campaign trail, and I had seen the crowds and excitement for Trump.
I wasn’t sure that he would win. But Trump caught a big break in being able to run against a candidate who was weighed down with all sorts of baggage.
And Trump won. Despite all of his own warts.
And now, he’s President-Elect Donald J. Trump.
Soon after I got up this morning, an email arrived from a guy I know.
I had told him in mid-February that Trump could win.
“You called it,” he said. “Before South Carolina Primary. I will never forget that.”
About the Author
Jamie Dupree is the Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau of the Cox Media Group and writes the Washington Insider blog. A native of Washington, D.C., Jamie has covered Congress and politics in the nation’s capital since the Reagan Administration, and has been reporting for Cox since 1989.