The Detroit Post
Monday, 25 October, 2021

How Trump Won In 2016

Carole Stephens
• Friday, 20 November, 2020
• 8 min read

Voters and political scientists will debate how Donald Trump won the presidential election in 2016. The businessman and political novice stunned the world by winning a presidential election most analysts and voters believed had firmly been in the hands of Hillary Clinton, who had far more experience in government and had run a more orthodox campaign.

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So how did Donald Trump win the presidential election by insulting voters, women, minorities, and without raising money or relying on support from the Republican Party? Trump portrayed himself through the 2016 campaign as a successful real-estate developer who created tens of thousands of jobs.

In a separate speech, Trump proclaimed his presidency would create “job growth like you’ve never seen. Trump runs dozens of companies and serves of numerous corporate boards, according to a personal financial disclosure he filed with the U.S. Office of Government Ethics when he ran for president.

Trump's position on trade was seen as a way to stop companies from shipping jobs overseas, though many economists pointed out taxing imports would drive up costs to American consumers first. “Skilled craftsmen and tradespeople and factory workers have seen the jobs they loved shipped thousands of miles away,” Trump said at a rally near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Trump promised to essentially lock down the borders to prevent terrorists coming in, an appeal to white voters who were not necessarily worried about crimes being committed by undocumented immigrants by jobs being filled by them. A scandal over Clinton's use of a personal email server as Secretary of State had dogged her through early parts of the campaign.

But 11 days before the election, FBI director James Coma sent a letter to Congress stating he would review emails found on a laptop computer belonging to a Clinton confidant to determined whether they were relevant to the then-closed investigation of her use of the personal email server. “Our analysis is that Coma’s letter raising doubts that were groundless, baseless, proven to be, stopped our momentum,” Clinton told donors in a post-election telephone call, according to published reports.

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“While 'free media' has long played an important role in our democracy by fostering political discourse and disseminating electoral information, the sheer enormity of coverage on Trump puts a spotlight on how the media may have influenced the course of the election,” analysts at mediaQuant wrote in November 2016. Free of “earned media” is the widespread coverage he received by major television networks.

He also spent tens of millions of dollars of his own money, mostly fulfilling a vow to finance his own campaign, so he could portray himself as being free from ties to special interests. “To just be grossly generalist, you can put half of Trump supporters into what I call the basket of deplorable.

Voters who were supporting Donald Trump because they were fearful over their status in the middle class turned solidly against Clinton. Trump running-mate Mike Pence capitalized on Clinton's mistake by crystallizing the condescending nature of her remarks.

“Awash in false conspiracy theories and petulant immaturity, liberals put Trump in the White House. In 2016, as in previous years, Americans were just getting notice that their health insurance premiums were rising dramatically, including those who were purchasing plans on the marketplace set up under President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

This blame was focused at the Democratic Party and persisted as a primary theme throughout Mr. Trump ’s presidency. And was elected in 2016 truly as a “people’s choice,” running squarely against the eight-year failed economic policies of the Democrats and the disastrous foreign wars of the Republicans.

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Mr. Trump ’s policies on immigration and border security enjoyed wide support and agreement. And Mr. Trump ’s gut decisions on fracking, NATO, climate change, Iran and dealing with China were paying direct and measurable dividends to our economy.

States that were won by Barack Obama in 2012, but flipped to Trump in 2016 are Florida, Iowa, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Maine is purple as it split its EVs, with Trump winning the rural 2nd Congressional District, while Clinton won the state; hence, Clinton won 3 Maine EVs, to 1 for Trump.

This is the fifth time the popular vote winner has not won the Presidency; the other occasions were 1824, 1876, 1888 and 2000. Clinton’s popular vote percentage margin is the largest for a loser since 1876, and the 1876 election was heavily disputed.

This spreadsheet by Cook Political Report analyst David Wasserman gives details on the popular vote, both nationally and for each state, including the swing from the 2012 election. The discrepancy between the popular vote and tipping-point state was thus 2.9% in favor of Trump, the biggest it has been since 1948.

The discrepancy between the popular vote and Electoral College was caused mainly by solid swings to Clinton in the two most populous states, California and Texas, but big swings to Trump in the Midwest. The states Trump gained had a greater proportion of non-University educated whites than nationally.

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US analyst Nate Silver shows that education level, not income, explained the swings. Even in counties with more black or Hispanic voters than whites, the relationship between education level and swing to Trump applied.

Blacks vote heavily for Democrats, but their turnout was down as Obama was not the candidate. Hispanic turnout was higher than in 2012, and this improved Clinton’s position in Texas, Arizona and California, which also have many university-educated whites.

Had these voters split fairly evenly, Clinton would have won as her favorable rating exceeded Trump ’s by five points. The FBI’s controversial decision to reopen its investigation into Clinton’s emails 11 days before the election probably contributed to these voters’ choices.

As Trump won the Electoral College by 0.8%, this decision can fairly be blamed for swinging the election to Trump. Donald Trump was an anti-establishment candidate, while Hillary Clinton had been involved in politics for at least the last 25 years.

Although Clinton had some ethical problems, her issues were minor compared with Trump ’s often blatant misogyny, racism and outright lies. In the 2010 midterm elections, Republicans gained control of the US House by a 242-193 margin, and have held it comfortably since.

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It has since been difficult for Obama and Congress to agree on even basic things, such as raising the debt limit. Democrats were deceived by the 2012 exit polls, where Obama won overall by 4 points, despite losing whites 59-39.

New York Times analyst Nate Cohn wrote well before the election that there were many more white voters than the 2012 exit polls had showed. The result is shown below: Obama won many overwhelmingly white counties in the north-east and Midwest that Trump demolished Clinton in.

Credit goes to Trump for sticking with his right-wing populism when most pundits, including many Republicans, thought he should have moderated to win the election. Many on the left think that Bernie Sanders would have beaten Trump had he been the Democratic nominee.

Trump and his cohorts would have made this a big issue in the general election. Past elections have sometimes had “faithless” electors who do not vote for the candidate to whom they are pledged.

Elections for both chambers of the US Congress (the national legislative body) are held every two years. The Democrats gained New Hampshire and Illinois, and held Nevada, but they narrowly lost Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Missouri.

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Trump ’s nominee will give the right a 5-4 majority, and approving this appointment will be a flash point in the Senate. According to David Wasserman, Republicans won the 2016 House popular vote by 49.1-48.0, a 1.1% margin.

The November 2018 midterm elections are an opportunity for Democrats to wrest back control of the House and Senate after two years of Trump. In the Senate, Democrats are in danger of going backwards, as they are defending 25 of the 33 seats up for election in 2018, to 8 Republican defenses.

Trump ’s rewriting of the rules of politics could usher in a period of global turmoil and uncertainty, as US allies, foreign markets and the Americans who were revolted by his behavior during the campaign look to the future with deep anxiety. Then came uncertainty as FBI Director James Coma cast a new cloud of suspicion over Clinton’s campaign, reopening a review of emails tied to her server.

Early on Tuesday, Obama’s former chief strategist, David Pouffe, tweeted a picture of vodka and Orange Crush, with the optimistic message: “Ready to watch her victory speech.” One Republican strategist noted that unlike in past campaigns, the GOP had permanent staff on the ground since the summer of 2013 in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Colorado and Nevada.

Working off the model of what the Obama campaign had done in 2008 and 2012, they spent the early days recruiting organizers and volunteers, testing their Got prowess in 2014. Instead of building their own ground game, the Trump campaign looked at the infrastructure that the RNC had built to support the Republican nominee and agreed to work within that framework.

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