Making sense of it

November 16, 2016

How did Trump become President? Here are some attempts to unravel this very unusual election.


 

The BBC stats and maths program More Or Less had some interesting analysis of the US elections results, including the fact that Hilary Clinton received 5 million less votes than Obama.

The More or Less episode is called “US election, stray cats and puzzles”


 

Bernie Sanders on “CBS This Morning” explains how he thinks Donald Trump won presidency and why he thinks Democrats failed to appeal to the working class in the 2016 election.

 


 


Rolling Stone “President Trump: How America Got It So Wrong”

“The Democratic Party’s failure to keep Donald Trump out of the White House in 2016 will go down as one of the all-time examples of insular arrogance. The party not only spent most of the past two years ignoring the warning signs of the Trump rebellion, but vilifying anyone who tried to point them out. It denounced all rumors of its creeping unpopularity as vulgar lies and bullied anyone who dared question its campaign strategy by calling them racists, sexists and agents of Vladimir Putin’s Russia.”


 

The New York Times: “The Democrats Screwed Up”

“Despite all the discussion of demographic forces that doomed the G.O.P., it will soon control the presidency as well as both chambers of Congress and two of every three governor’s offices. And that’s not just a function of James Comey, Julian Assange and misogyny. Democrats who believe so are dangerously mistaken.

Other factors conspired in the party’s debacle. One in particular haunts me. From the presidential race on down, Democrats adopted a strategy of inclusiveness that excluded a hefty share of Americans and consigned many to a “basket of deplorables” who aren’t all deplorable. Some are hurt. Some are confused.

Liberals miss this by being illiberal. They shame not just the racists and sexists who deserve it but all who disagree. A 64-year-old Southern woman not onboard with marriage equality finds herself characterized as a hateful boob. Never mind that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton weren’t themselves onboard just five short years ago.

Political correctness has morphed into a moral purity that may feel exhilarating but isn’t remotely tactical. It’s a handmaiden to smugness and sanctimony, undermining its own goals.”

Also in the NYT Susan Chira writes: “The Myth of Female Solidarity”

“The dream of female solidarity is, and always has been, a myth.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign tried to tap into that dream. She dressed in white, evoking the suffragists and the hope of shattering the highest glass ceiling. She played up issues like child care and equal pay that polling showed had cross-party, cross-gender support. Her ads pounded away at Donald J. Trump’s misogyny, hoping to lure women who would be reminded of all they had suffered in their own lives.

Fifty-three percent of white women voted for Mr. Trump.”


 

The Daily Telegraph crunches the numbers and maps the results: “US election results: The maps and analysis that explain Donald Trump’s shock victory to become President”

“While Clinton had a higher share of the popular vote than Trump, the Republican was able to take a series of key battleground states including Florida, Ohio and North Carolina, before stunningly carrying Pennsylvania, a state that had not backed a Republican for president since 1988.”


 

The FiveThirtyEight website crunched the numbers on voter turnout: “No, Voter Turnout Wasn’t Way Down From 2012”

“Stories are still circulating a week after the election that turnout fell sharply from 2012. That’s almost certainly not true. The confusion is the result of news outlets trying to pin down voter turnout figures quickly in a system that doesn’t count millions of votes until weeks after the election.”

The same website also delves a bit deeper into the electoral data: ‘Demographics Aren’t Destiny’ And Four Other Things This Election Taught Me”

“The 2016 election is in the books. Donald Trump won; Hillary Clinton lost. But it will take a while — weeks and months — to sift through the results, so be wary of any stories drawing sweeping conclusions about the country (it’s still the same nation that elected President Obama twice). That said, there are a few lessons we can learn from the results and a few myths we can hopefully now put to bed. These are my five big takeaways from the election.”


 

Joan C. Williams at the The Harvard Business Review: “What So Many People Don’t Get About the U.S. Working Class”

“My father-in-law grew up eating blood soup. He hated it, whether because of the taste or the humiliation, I never knew. His alcoholic father regularly drank up the family wage, and the family was often short on food money. They were evicted from apartment after apartment.

He dropped out of school in eighth grade to help support the family. Eventually he got a good, steady job he truly hated, as an inspector in a factory that made those machines that measure humidity levels in museums. He tried to open several businesses on the side but none worked, so he kept that job for 38 years. He rose from poverty to a middle-class life: the car, the house, two kids in Catholic school, the wife who worked only part-time. He worked incessantly. He had two jobs in addition to his full-time position, one doing yard work for a local magnate and another hauling trash to the dump.

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, he read The Wall Street Journal and voted Republican. He was a man before his time: a blue-collar white man who thought the union was a bunch of jokers who took your money and never gave you anything in return. Starting in 1970, many blue-collar whites followed his example. This week, their candidate won the presidency.

For months, the only thing that’s surprised me about Donald Trump is my friends’ astonishment at his success. What’s driving it is the class culture gap.”


 

Project Syndicate has an editorial entitled: “What Will Trump Do?”

“All US presidents come to power – and exercise it – by assembling and sustaining a broad electoral coalition of voters with identifiable interests. Donald Trump is no exception. Trump’s stunning election victory, following a populist campaign that targeted US institutions, domestic and foreign policies, and especially elites, was powered by voters – overwhelmingly white, largely rural, and with only some or no postsecondary education – who feel alienated from a political establishment that has failed to address their interests.

So the question now, for the United States and the world, is how Trump intends to represent this electoral bloc. Part of the difficulty in answering it, as Project Syndicate’s contributors understand well, is Trump himself. “The US has never before had a president with no political or military experience, nor one who so routinely shirks the truth, embraces conspiracy theories, and contradicts himself,” notes Harvard’s Jeffrey Frankel. But, arguably more important, much of what Trump has promised – on trade, taxation, health care, and much else – either would not improve his voters’ economic wellbeing or would cause it to deteriorate further.”

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