Wednesday, 9 November 2016

So how did The Donald get through?

Readers, another event once again unexpected by pollsters, media online and offline, and others has happened: Donald Trump has achieved enough electoral votes to become the next President of the United States, even though he is overall predicted to win fewer actual votes than Hillary Clinton.

And this happened in spite of all his offensive, derogatory remarks, his misbehaviour towards women in particular, his extremist plans especially for immigrants, and his ridiculous manner.

Those of you who are shocked about Trump's win are wondering, 'How?'

Much like the (in)famous Brexit vote of 23 June this year, there was a huge amount of protest against the current system, and a failure to acknowledge and adequately anticipate the power of that protest, which above all else has enabled The Donald to come to The White House. His ridiculous policies that could easily have come out of an episode of 'The Simpsons' may have turned off a lot of voters, but his desire to be different and stand out from the crowd, just as American contestants had to do in the Apprentice to avoid hearing the words 'You're fired!', was enough to push it in crucial swing states, particularly Florida and Ohio which frequently act as barometers for the overall result of the US election. 

Not only did this protest come from many white working class voters, especially in the southern states of the USA who felt left behind by the current US system especially in the aftermath of the Great Recession and where turnout was higher than usual, but also from ordinary, middle-class voters who were tired with relative inaction and failure to bring the new hope that the previous President, Barack Obama, had promised. Bernie Sanders, who lost the Democratic primary to Hillary Clinton, knew how important these factors would be and I believe that because he was far more refreshing than Hillary Clinton on the Democrats' side, he would have been able to just clinch it had he been a Presidential candidate. And if he had run as an independent like John Baynard Anderson (an independent Republican who was not happy with Ronald Reagan) did in 1980, he might have been able to make a difference of some sort.

Meanwhile, Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson did not do as well as expected (I believed his performance, which by all accounts would be the best third party performance since 1996, would impact on the Republican vote in particular especially in the Midwest), particularly in swing states where many would-be Libertarian voters felt stopping Clinton from winning and continuing the same kind of story was important. These included Florida, where Trump's Palm Beach mansion is located and where many African and Hispanic Americans voted early to prevent a Trump victory, North Carolina, Ohio (where on current results, Donald Trump secured its electoral votes by a margin of 454,000 votes, critical in this most classic of bellwether states), and Arizona despite its relatively large Hispanic population. Other states that were won by, or are about to declare for, Trump include Michigan, which has still not recovered from the departure of car factories and other industries which were once dominant, and Pennsylvania which despite being in the prosperous northeast of the USA has many stark socio-economic and cultural divides. Even though I know of many Sanders supporters who switched their vote for Jill Stein, the Green candidate, Jill sadly could not make a real difference due to the unfairness of the electoral college system and due to the vast finances of the Democrats and Republicans compared to other parties in the United States.

The stark divide between different genders, ages, ethnicities, education levels and income levels between those who voted for Clinton and those who voted for Trump was also decisive. The younger someone was below the age of 40 (but still of at least age 18, of course), the more likely they were to support Clinton, but the older someone was above the age of 40, and especially above the age of 60, the more likely they were to support Trump. The same applied for college (university) education or lack thereof, but those with higher income levels were more likely to vote for Trump irrespective of education (even though education is still a key factor in long-term income level unless you have a particularly strong aptitude in business, music etc.), partly because of Trump projecting himself as a self-made billionaire to those voters. In reality, Donald Trump inherited an already very successful real estate empire from his father, Fred, and just magnified its prominence.

The shock and anger so many people have already expressed at this result is similar to that felt when Ronald Reagan was elected President in 1980, yet more so because of how close this race was and because Trump is in many respects even more dangerous and outrageous than Reagan was. It also holds true to the adage that 'evil prevails when good people do nothing', sadly enough.

With this result, the Brexit vote of 23 June, and more still to come in Europe and beyond, we are entering a Brave New World.


UPDATE: Donald Trump did indeed win Michigan and Arizona. The final electoral college tally was Trump 302, Clinton 236, with only 4.8% of American voters not voting for either Clinton or Trump in the end.

1 comment:

  1. I agree that Had Bernie Sanders achieved the Democrat nomination there is more chance that Trump could have be defeated by a small margin, but if he'd stood as Independent against Hillary Clinton I think the Democrat vote would have just been split and guaranteed a Trump victory. - We are on the brink of a New cold War that is certainly going to lead to ACTUAL conflict in some form, somewhere between Russia, China, the USA, and Europe - and with the UK looking more like a poodle for the USA than it did back in 2003 dark days are ahead of us.