Election Day ended with both a bang and a whimper in 2016. The biggest political upset in the nation’s history unfolded on television and computer screens–Donald Trump had won the Presidency. How could the polls have been so wrong? Were Trump supporters more on the pulse of the country’s angers and worries than everyone else? The truth is that white voters, not minorities or abstainers, decided this election.
Nate Cohn, of the New York Times, offers this assessment of Tuesday’s shocking results in a November 9 piece, entitled, “Why Trump Won: Working-Class Whites.” This is true for Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, but not overall. He notes that not only did Hillary Clinton perform worse than Barack Obama in almost every swing state, but Trump did better with than expected with every group, other than women, college degree-holding whites, and the wealthy. A graphic analysis of this trend, published by the New York Times late on election night shows these specific gains and losses. So what explains these shifts?
It shows that Trump made a convincing enough case for not only middle and lower class white voters, who had been vocal about their status as ‘forgotten,’ but for minorities as well, including hispanics, who were seen as the target of Trump’s most damning issue–immigration. Just about everyone was more willing to make a ‘deal with the devil’ who recognized their frustrations, than a career politician and ‘elitist.’ Voters, at least in states that decided the outcome of the election, were fed up with being forgotten by the Democratic Party, and staged a protest vote unlike anything seen before in the United States.
Most importantly, however, do these demographics show cracks in the Democratic voting bloc? Had a Republican articulated anything other than Trump’s populist rhetoric any other way, they likely would have lost the election. 2016 may be called a perfect storm, politically. Thus, there is only a slim chance that it will repeat itself in the future. The Great Lakes will be safe for Democrats in the future, as long as they have something more to offer — to everyone.