It’s hard to dispute that voters knew far less about Donald Trump on Election Day 2016 than voters had about any other major-party presidential candidate in modern history. Some of this was a function of Trump’s background. Having not held elected office, he had no track record of accomplishments and no demonstrated patterns of policy positions.
Much of it, though, was by design.
On Tuesday, we learned that something we thought we knew — at least in broad strokes — we actually didn’t. While no one took the report from Trump’s personal physician that was released in August 2016 terribly seriously (given that it included phrases such as “if elected, Mr. Trump … will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency”), it at least seemed to be an actual analysis from an actual doctor that provided some reassurance that Trump was sufficiently fit to serve as president. Until CNN reported the doctor’s claim that he hadn’t really written the letter at all and that it had been dictated by Trump himself. It fits — but it means we knew even less about Trump than we thought.
Given that revelation, it seems as though it’s worth reviewing what we didn’t know about Trump when voters went to the polls on Nov. 8, 2016.