The American people have voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump, right? Wrong.
On latest figures 59,821,874 or 47.4% of the eligible voting population voted for Trump. Hillary Clinton attracted 60,121.876 votes, or 47.7%. That’s around 300,000 more. In a democratic system where all votes have equal value, we’d be celebrating a win for Secretary Clinton. [See Update 1 below]
The real ‘deplorables’ are the people who didn’t vote. Trump got fewer votes than Mitt Romney in 2012.
This ABC article shows how close it was. Trump looks like winning 306 electoral college seats, or 26 more than he needed. However, a small matter of 107,330 votes in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania would have given Clinton the White House. Antony Green called the election when Wisconsin fell. I understand Clinton got thumped by Bernie Sanders in the pre-selections in Wisconsin. Yet she never once went there during the campaign. Green’s conclusion was that she lost essentially in the mid-west rust-belt states.
The essential error seemed to be chasing minority voters and better educated votes in the battleground states, and going after some states that were traditionally Republican, neglecting her ‘firewall’ of states that has traditionally voted Democrat, but happened to include voters in the rust belt who had been left behind.
It was not a ‘silent majority’ that turned the election. It was some very specific demographics that Clinton had no message for.
The New York Times has graphics showing support for the last four elections from exit polls in the important demographics. The main shift in this election came from whites with no college degrees.
At the same time Clinton’s support amongst minorities fell short:
- African-Americans, Hispanics and Asian-Americans overwhelmingly backed Mrs. Clinton, but their level of support for her was less than their support of President Obama four years ago.
Trump gained among men and barely lost ground with women. A majority of white women (53%, I think) voted for him.
CNN also has exit polling information. Those aged 18-29 chose Clinton 54-37, while the 45+ group went to Trump 53-44.
There are all sorts of narratives with some truth in them. A feminist analysis talked of white male capitalism, as the hegemonic view accepted also by white women.
There is a story, I think on personal suitability. After the third debate the election favoured Clinton, because Trump had shown himself manifestly unsuitable, and Clinton was seen as a safe pair of hands. That exploded when the FBI intervened, reminding people, unfairly, that Clinton was, by reputation if not fact, secretive, reckless, and untrustworthy. From that time I understand Trump’s aides kept him away from attacking Clinton personally and on message about what mattered in people eyes – the need for a new approach to a broken system, for real change, for draining the swamp, and exploding politics as usual in the way only a powerful outsider can. Or so it seemed.
Hillary, by contrast was defensive and had nothing new to offer. Trump said he was going to make America great again; Clinton said America already was great.
More broadly, though Naomi Klein nails it:
- They will blame James Comey and the FBI. They will blame voter suppression and racism. They will blame Bernie or bust and misogyny. They will blame third parties and independent candidates. They will blame the corporate media for giving him the platform, social media for being a bullhorn, and WikiLeaks for airing the laundry.
But this leaves out the force most responsible for creating the nightmare in which we now find ourselves wide awake: neoliberalism. That worldview – fully embodied by Hillary Clinton and her machine – is no match for Trump-style extremism. The decision to run one against the other is what sealed our fate. If we learn nothing else, can we please learn from that mistake?
Here is what we need to understand: a hell of a lot of people are in pain. Under neoliberal policies of deregulation, privatisation, austerity and corporate trade, their living standards have declined precipitously. They have lost jobs. They have lost pensions. They have lost much of the safety net that used to make these losses less frightening. They see a future for their kids even worse than their precarious present.
At the same time, they have witnessed the rise of the Davos class, a hyper-connected network of banking and tech billionaires, elected leaders who are awfully cosy with those interests, and Hollywood celebrities who make the whole thing seem unbearably glamorous.
Thankyou John D for the link.
Thing is you have to be in the top 5% to be a politician on the national stage in the USA, and wealth changes people. They become less emotionally able, less empathetic and less ethical.
Meanwhile we’ll await to see how Trump’s magic pudding economic miracle unfolds. The money markets, I think, are expecting volatility.
Update 1: When I wrote the post I didn’t know how complete the count was, but commentators were talking as though it was all but done. The figures have jumped around a bit, and I’ll correct this update when it’s all finished.
However, more eligible voters have appeared in the Wikipedia link, and more votes have been counted. The current state of play is that turnout was 50.45%, Clinton has now 630,976 more than Trump, and Trump’s votes are now a flat 24% of eligible voters.
Update 2: I forgot to mention, the race figures are 70% white, 12% black, 11% Latino, and 4% Asian.
Whites are down 2% since 2012, but are still the vast majority. White people without a college degree is where the numbers were.
This is how the election panned out. If Trump takes Michigan, and Clinton takes New Hampshire as expected, Trump will win 306 to 232. This is what the map looks like:
This is the result of a putative Sanders-Trump match up:
This does not mean Sanders would have won, of course, but Democrats must be wondering what if…
Update 4: Ambigulous pointed to a story by David Wong How Half Of America Lost Its F**king Mind.
To put his message gently, 62% of the population lives in cities, and the Democrat vote is largely locked up in cites where they win by large margins. Here’s the electoral voting map county by county:
And Illinois went to Clinton 55.4% to 39.4% largely because of Chicago:
Again, putting it gently, it’s a deep cultural divide.
Update 5: Wikipedia has an article on the ‘spoiler effect’, where a third candidate draws votes off one of the main candidates allowing the other to win. It’s happened many times, Ross Perot in 1992, Ralph Nader in 2000, and now at Wikipedia for some reason they’ve added Gary Johnson and Jill Stein as denying Hillary Clinton victory!
The justification perhaps comes in looking at the votes in Michigan (16 college votes), Wisconsin (10) and Pennsylvania (20). That’s 46 college votes that could have gone to Clinton with preferential voting, giving her 278. The combined difference is 107,330. Then there’s Utah with 10.
Update 6: Michael Moore famously picked Trump before the election in a piece 5 reasons why Trump will win. The first is the rust-belt states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania – their 64 college votes would have been enough without Florida and a few others.
Yes, and Hillary was a problem in herself.
I can’t say I disagree with any of his comments.