Maybe it was just too much to ask our nation's top political journalists to see the facts.
I mean, they have had to wrestle with the fact that -- to be blunt -- Hillary Rodham Clinton is not on her way to the White House for a very simple reason: Not enough Democrats voted for her.
It wasn't the danged white evangelicals. They may have helped in Florida (look for Latino evangelical votes there too) and North Carolina, but a Democrat doesn't lose Wisconsin and Michigan because evangelicals rushed to the polls and took over.
No, as I said in my post the other day -- "Working-class folks: What Bill Clinton knew, and Hillary Rodham failed to learn" -- Hillary Rodham Clinton lost because lots of working-class, labor-family people (male and female, it turned out) who have long been Democrats didn't think she cared about them and their futures. Many of them were Catholics, including good-old cultural Catholics who don't show up in the polls all that much.
I interviewed EWTN anchor Raymond Arroyo about all of this more than a week before Election Day and one of his quotes proved to be spot on. He told me that he was hearing from the Rust Belt a lot and he told me what lots of Catholics were telling him. Thus, that "On Religion" column ended like this:
What now? Arroyo offered this Election Day advice: Watch Catholic men in the Rust Belt.
"Lots of working-class Catholics aren't sure if they're Republicans or Democrats these days," he said. "They keep swinging back and forth. ... What I hear them saying is: 'I'll go in that voting booth and make a choice, but I'm not talking about it. I'll go behind that curtain and do what I have to do.' "
As you would imagine, "Crossroads" host Todd Wilken and I talked about all of that and more when recording this week's podcast. Click here to tune that in (and sorry for the delay, with some technical complications.)
Meanwhile, journalists have been wrestling, as you would imagine, with the whole "How in the heckfire did we miss this story?" puzzle. Some journalists have even concluded that it may have been wrong to have openly crusade on behalf of the Clintons, to help protect America from Citizen Donald Trump and his crude followers. (Please recall that I was openly #NeverTrump #NeverHillary during the campaign.)
There are so many essays to which I could point readers to show how our elite scribes are still looking at this as a strictly political story, with some hints of culture trouble, and few have connected the dots to anger about matters of morality and religion (think "religious liberty" trends), as well as the overwhelming economic pains in the Midwest and Appalachia extended (hello J.D. "Hillbilly Elegy" Vance).
But this Washington Post Wonkblog piece will do, since the political desk there has been so, so tone deaf to matters moral and religious throughout this election year (as opposed, of course, to the religion-news desk). The headline: "How Trump won: The revenge of working-class whites."
The bottom line: Many Trump voters felt that their world has being destroyed, meaning their lives, their culture, their families and their futures.
For the past 40 years, America's economy has raked blue-collar white men over the coals. It whittled their paychecks. It devalued the type of work they did best. It shuttered factories and mines and shops in their communities. New industries sprouted in cities where they didn't live, powered by workers with college degrees they didn't hold.
They were not the only ones who felt abandoned by a rapidly globalizing economy, but they developed a distinctly strong pessimism in its face.
... Their frustrations helped elect Donald Trump, the first major-party nominee of the modern era to speak directly and relentlessly to their economic and cultural fears. It was a “Brexit” moment in America, a revolt of working-class whites who felt stung by globalization and uneasy in a diversifying country where their political power had seemed to be diminishing.
It was a rejection of the business-friendly policies favored at various points by elites in both parties, which deepened trade relationships with foreign countries and favored allowing more immigrants in. And it was a raw outburst at the trends of rising inequality and economic dislocation that defined America's economy thus far this century.
Whites without a college degree -- men and women -- made up a third of the 2016 electorate. Trump won them by 39 percentage points, according to exit polls, far surpassing 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney's 25 percent margin.
Gosh. Any crucial element of life missing in all of that?
At the same time, these working class whites have seen the fruits of American prosperity increasingly go to the very rich. “Superstar” cities, like San Francisco, Boston and yes, Washington, gained even more wealth, and they have been responsible for an increasingly large share of the country's job growth.
Meanwhile, non-college whites saw jobs go away and businesses fold in the rural communities and smaller cities where they are more likely to live, particularly in the Rust Belt.
And so forth and so on, world without end. Amen.
Friends and neighbors, is this all about politics and money? Is that all there is to life for lots of working-class people? Why do so many of these people keep talking about abortion, trends in schools and other cultural matters? Why was the U.S. Supreme Court such a crucial issue?
Or is politics and money, alone, the ultimate equation for most political-desk professionals?
MAP: 2016 election by counties, with the familiar red vs. blue look.