We now have President-elect Trump

It has been roughly a week since it was announced that Donald Trump is America’s president-elect. The initial shock is beginning to wear off and Americans (specifically hard-core democrats) are beginning to accept the fact that Trump will be our next president.

Now that we’ve all had a week to digest, it’s time to unpack what happened in the 2016 Presidential Race and why we ended up with the results that we did.

What happened? 

Donald Trump won the electoral college, surpassing the magic number of 270 electoral votes by 20 votes. Hillary Clinton received 228 electoral votes.

However, Clinton won the popular vote by over 650,000 votes. This is the second election within the past 16 years that the democrats have one the popular vote, but lost the electoral college. However, Clinton’s lead is much more substantial than Gore’s in 2000.

According to NPR, this might be explained by the large numbers of democratic voters into more liberal environments like California or New York. While this may serve as one of the explanations of the results of the election, it cannot be the sole reason for Clinton losing the electoral college by that much.

Why did it happen? 

  • Racism
    • There is no doubt that a good portion of Trump’s base has racist tendencies. Direct quotes from Trump, as well as his messaging appeal to racist individuals. However, many white working class voters who voted for Obama in 2012, voted for Trump this cycle.
      • While it is undeniable that a good portion of Trump votes were motivated by racism, that could not have been the only factor given the fact that voters who openly voted for an African American president switched over to Trump.
  • The Electorate
    • Young Voters (18-29 year olds)
      • According to NPR, in 2012, Obama received votes from 60% of this age group. Whereas, this year Clinton only received about 55% .
        • Why?
          • Clinton had a very hard time reaching out to millennial voters the way Obama did in both ’08 and ’12.
            • In the democratic primaries, Clinton’s opponent Bernie Sanders was able to excite and reach out to millennial voters. When Sanders lost the primary, many of his supporters felt unheard or silenced by the party. Which eventually caused his base to split between those getting behind Clinton and those who decided to vote third party or to abstain from voting.
          • I think it all boils down to authenticity. Obama has a very authentic aura. He was freshman senator running on change. Clinton is a seasoned, essentially career- politician running on basically more of the same.
            • She was unable to excite this age group in the same way and this is largely because she is not perceived as being
    • Black Voters
      • African American voters did not turn out the same way that they did for Obama in 2008 and 2012.
        • According to NPR, in 2012 this demographic accounted for 13% of the electorate. This year they only accounted for 12% of the electorate.
          • Why?
            • Much like millennials, Clinton was unable to appeal to African American voters in the way that Obama did.
            • During the primaries, Black Lives Matter protestors protested against Clinton for her “super-predator” comments she made during her time as first-lady.
    • Working Class Voters
      • THOSE WITHOUT A COLLEGE DEGREE IN INDUSTRIAL NORTH

        MINNESOTA
        2012: 53% of electorate, 52-46 Obama
        2016: 44% of electorate, 55-38 Trump (net gain: R+23)

        WISCONSIN
        2012: 58% of electorate, 51-47 Obama
        2016: 55% of electorate, 56-40 Trump (net gain: R+20)

        IOWA
        2012: 57% of electorate, 52-46 Obama
        2016: 57% of electorate, 54-40 Trump (net gain: R+20)

        MICHIGAN
        2012: 54% of electorate, 56-43 Obama
        2016: 58% of electorate, 49-45 Trump (net gain: R+17)

        OHIO
        2012: 60% of electorate, 53-46 Obama
        2016: 56% of electorate, 51-45 Trump (net gain: R+13)

        PENNSYLVANIA
        2012: 52% of electorate, 57-42 Obama
        2016: 52% of electorate, 52-45 Trump (net gain: R+12)

        (from NPR)

    • Those numbers do not lie. The blue collar workers who were once behind Obama, got behind Trump this election cycle.
      • Why?
        • Clinton’s main messages didn’t really target the working class. She mainly ran on being “stronger together” and fighting for women, children, and families.
        • Ultimately, the numbers show that Trump connected with white working class voters more than Clinton did. His above the trenches strategy was much more effective with that demographic.
          • It is clear that these voters have felt cheated by our system and those within it and wanted a change. They wanted someone from outside of the beltway bubble and that someone was Donald Trump.
  • America’s most disliked candidates.
    • Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are widely disliked by a large portion of the american public. For many americans, voting this cycle was like voting for the lesser of two evils.
    • According to FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver, both Trump and Clinton are not just disliked, but “historically” disliked. Half of americans gave Clinton and Trump strong ratings of either “strongly favorable” or “strongly unfavorable”
  • The Media
    • I believe that it can be argued that the media played a huge role in getting Donald Trump nominated during the primary stage.
    • For almost a year and a half, all the media has been reporting on is Trump. They reported on all of the moments from his campaign. They reported on what celebrities and surrogates were saying about him.
      • It felt like every week the media was reporting on the “shocking” or horrible things that Trump was saying, so much so that they began to desensitize us to offensive rhetoric and categorizations of groups of population.
      • In the past if a candidate had said any of the things Trump did, that would be the end of their campaign.But due to the media’s over-coverage of Trump as a candidate ultimately led to his normalization.

What does this mean for politics we all have known?

Trump’s campaign was far from traditional. In one of my previous posts, I spoke about just a few of the abnormal aspects of the campaigns this election. Trump’s campaign was extremely unique in many different ways. No one is certain whether his campaign’s style and strategies will change the political game for good.

I guess we will all have to wait for 2020 to know that for certain.

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