The world went into the 2016 US Presidential Election expecting a massive landslide for Hillary Clinton and the Democrats. Vegas called it at a 70%+ chance for a Clinton victory. Even Donald Trump said the campaign was “a massive waste of time and money” in November 8 interviews. Obviously, something else happened.
For all the impassioned pleas from Barack Obama, Bruce Springsteen and Beyoncé, for every Daily Show joke about the apocalypse, and every Democratic senator reading Harry Potter to convince Millennials to vote, Trump won the election.
Now a lot of people are asking why. I’m not going to be one of those guys that compares this to Brexit, or overanalyzes stuff. Here is a simple guide to why Trump won:
How The Polls Were Wrong
A big reason everyone thought Clinton would walk away with this thing is that the polls throughout the campaign were very positive in her favor. I knew the election was over the second 538.com posted an article that was basically called “Why We Were Wrong”.
Why were they wrong? In between tears, the people on TV made references to a “silent majority” of white non-college educated voters that supported Trump. These people are not active in traditional polls, which are boring and executed with a lot of formality. You know where they are active? Facebook. In the run up to the election, nearly all of us saw those “live polls” with a “like for Hill, heart for Trump.” In nearly every one I watched, Trump was the clear victor in terms of likes, even as the polls showed a massive Hillary unbalance. To understand the part of the country that voted for Trump, the pollmakers should have paid attention to Facebook and social media, where Trump supporters have been vastly more active. When historians look at this election, they will probably call it “The Facebook Election” or something stupid.
Why Trump Won
Many things that were in Trump’s favor going into the election were overlooked. First, it is extremely rare in modern US politics for a two-term president to be succeeded by someone from their own party.
Second, the Electoral College is actually a wonderfully American idea in that it allows a minority to still express its views even against overwhelming opposition. I may be the only person on the internet today to call Trump supporters “minorities,” but there you go. In this case, it was the midwest and the Rust Belt that gave Trump the votes he needed to win.
Third, Hillary didn’t do well enough with women and actual minorities, and Trump did a lot better than anyone expected. Trump won more Latino voters than Romney did, for example, and his performance with them in Florida probably won that state. And the numbers show that people didn’t spoil with a Johnson vote, either. It was close, but in the end, a lot more people just voted for Trump.
If you are a Hillary supporter who wondered what you could have done better, try moving to the midwest instead of Canada. Respect the Democratic process that makes America such a unique and balanced country and let’s all move forward together.
Oh, and at this point, I think it’s fair to say if somebody on TFM tells you to gamble on something, you should probably bet the other way..