donald-trump

How did Trump win?

donald-trump

The UK went to sleep late on November 8th expecting to see the USA with it’s first female president in the morning. The New York Times had her at an 80% chance of winning the White House and The Huffington Post even had 97%. So why did the UK wake up to Trump’s smiling face and Clinton’s rally in sheer disbelief?

Even though Clinton won the popular vote by 240,000 voters (0.15%) she will not be moving into the White House come January. In fact Clinton has never actually lost a popular vote when running for something. This ultimately came down to Trump being able to bring down the “blue wall”, also known as the Rust Belt. States which are considered the democratic back bone are Pennsylvanian, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa and Wisconsin, the big swing states with large amounts of electoral votes. All were predicted to swing Clinton’s way and deny Trump the presidency. Unfortunately for Clinton, the predictions were very wrong. In fact she lost all of them.

Image Credit: New York Times
Image Credit: New York Times

From this image you can see the change of states from 2012. It’s clear there were huge Republican swings in the Northeastern states. So how did Trump claim these states? It is most likely down to a combination of a few things. 58% of the white population voted for Trump, whilst Clinton couldn’t claim as much of the Hispanic vote as she was expecting. Only 65% of Hispanic voters backed Clinton and she ultimately failed to inspire people to get to the polling stations.

Image Credit: BBC
Image Credit: BBC

Let’s start with the white population in those states, why did they vote for Trump in huge numbers? Are they all just racist? Probably not, but it is undeniable that the racists supported Trump as they had no real alternative out of the choices. Trump won the white vote because he sought it. In those states, huge numbers of the white population used to work in the steel industries, now all but gone, along with the prosperity there. Exit polls showed that 52% of voters said that the economy was the most important issue to them. Trump’s campaign acknowledged the importance of the economy to voters and used this to his advantage. Trump’s message was about bringing back the American Dream to them, a long and forgotten populace of voters. His message resonated across those states and their workers and when it came to November 8th they were all but ready to carry him to the White House. This caused him to win the white population in almost every societal group except for the white educated women vote. Although, even there, he only lost it by 2%. In fact, 53% of white women voted for Trump, something that’s confusing in light of the recent controversy around his treatment of women.

Obviously Trump didn’t just win the white vote because of his promise of bringing back jobs to the American people. Another important reason for this is the treatment of white people by the Democratic Party. Don’t forget, during Hillary’s campaign she called Trump voters “deplorable”. She put half of America into the same basket as KKK supporters and Neo-Nazis. This was a huge mistake for Clinton. She single-handedly reinforced the Left’s view of the white non-college educated voters, that they are all racist, bigoted and living in the past. That didn’t go down well with a lot of American voters and when you refer to a certain group as racist and bigoted for two years well, they sure as well are not going to vote for you. Trump’s win of the white vote is a backlash of the treatment of them, a big swipe at the politically-correct elite.

Trump didn’t manage some historic turn-out of the Republican or white voters, in fact turn-out dropped since 2012, most likely due to the dislike of Trump from the Republican voters. It was Clinton’s failure to captivate the voters from Obama’s terms which gave Trump even a remote chance. The Democratic turn-out dropped by six million since Obama’s last term. Perhaps those voters were voting for Obama, not the Democratic Party; alternatively, sheer dislike of Clinton may have brought the turn-out down.

Image Credit: https://www.reddit.com/r/dataisbeautiful/comments/5c5k4e/i_made_a_chart_showing_the_popular_vote_turnout/
Image Credit: https://www.reddit.com/r/dataisbeautiful/comments/5c5k4e/i_made_a_chart_showing_the_popular_vote_turnout/

We can consider whether it was due to a dislike of Clinton rather than just a vote for Obama by questioning what the outcome of the election would of been if Bernie had won the Democrat nomination. If we look at Bernie’s popularity in the Rust Belt it tells a very different story there. Trump only just managed to flip those states by around a 2% margin, an area in which Bernie was dominating in the polls when put against Trump. Now, this was just during the primaries and to think that this would translate across to the election is pure assumption but what it does suggest is that voter turn-out could of been down to the lack of enthusiasm for Clinton.

Clinton lost the Democratic Party their blue-collar workers, possibly for a long time. The Party once held these voters with great regard but soon forgot them in this campaign. Those forgotten voices spoke this election. What is worrying now is after seeing Brexit and the hate brought on to those who voted ‘Leave’, that that same hate will be brought onto the white non-college educated individuals in America. People are going to look for someone to blame for Trump’s win and right now they are the prime target. They are already being attacked in the streets and I hope America can accept this election as a wake-up call. They must move past the blame game they are playing and unify. The rest of the world needs America to come out strong from this election, not divided.

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Alexander Waudby

Alexander Waudby

Technical Director of The Yorker. University of York Third Year Mathematics Student.