Ignoring the GOP establishment's advice might have been Trump's smartest move

Based off the advice given in the autopsy, one would have expected a candidate such as Trump to stand little chance of winning in 2016. Trump took a hard line on immigration, denounced “political correctness,” and made his opposition to abortion a key part of his campaign.

Indeed, one of the autopsy’s authors publicly left the Republican Party following Trump’s nomination, while media outlets declared the GOP was “on the brink of another potential presidential defeat” due to the direction Trump’s campaign had taken. Little did they know Trump was on the verge of a monumental upset, winning more electoral votes than any Republican presidential candidate since 1988.

So how could such a result have happened? For answers, one need only consult another report written in 2013 by the American Principles Project (APP), countering the RNC’s autopsy. According to APP, the RNC autopsy report had two serious flaws: 1) it failed to acknowledge the unpopularity of the standard GOP economic message as best exemplified in the Romney campaign, and 2) it falsely assumed that abandoning socially conservative positions would be advantageous for Republicans. Trump’s victory in 2016 — and his ability to build the winning Republican coalition that Romney could not — proved APP right on both counts.