Lt. Governor Tim Griffin, R-Ark., said the 2016 election cycle can be viewed as the completion of a wave of voter discontent that began in 2010.
Griffin, appearing on Sunday’s Talk Business & Politics, noted that he was swept into Congress in 2010 during a GOP wave that led to the largest freshmen class in U.S. House history. With Republicans gaining control of the U.S. Senate in 2014, Griffin said 2016 fulfilled voters’ desire for dramatic change.
“In some ways, this is completing the picture – the House, the Senate and the White House and now they’re together,” he said.
Griffin was as surprised as anyone else with Donald Trump’s unexpected victory over Hillary Clinton on Election Night. He was in New York at the Trump victory party and watched the results roll in. Griffin said Trump’s discipline in the final few weeks resulted in momentum for the GOP nominee.
“I thought those few weeks of that run of just solid campaigning, I thought that definitely saved the House and the Senate. I did not – based on the polls I had seen – some where he was a little up nationally, some where he was a little down nationally, I had been looking at states, from the folks I spoke with at the campaign and all, they were seeing possibility. But no one was saying, ‘I’m going to Vegas and betting on it’,” he said.
Several other factors boosted Trump’s late momentum, such as FBI director James Comey’s letter regarding Clinton’s emails, but Griffin contends that voters having to make a binary decision – either Trump or Clinton – led to Republicans coming home.
Jonathan Martin, national correspondent for The New York Times, has written that Trump in many ways was a third party candidate running under the GOP label.
“Mr. Trump ostensibly ran as a Republican, but he was effectively a third-party candidate who happened to campaign under the banner of one of the two major parties. Casting himself as an outsider, he not only savaged leaders in both parties but he made a mockery of nearly all the pieties of the American political system,” Martin writes.
Griffin said that analysis is not far off.
“I think there is truth in that,” he said. “No one perspective totally defines this. You have to sort of pull from different disciplines and narratives to get a complete picture.”
Watch more of Griffin’s comments including his thoughts on GOP gains in the Arkansas Legislature and how he feels about changing long-standing rules associated with the Arkansas General Assembly and its committee selection process.