Saturday, November 12, 2016

How Can We Explain Trump's Victory?

There will be lots of efforts to explain Trump's triumph in the election.  What we do know is that his presidency will achieve what Republican's have failed to achieve by selling its ideology to the American people.  Trump won the election by using identity politics to his advantage.  His base was less interested in policies than it was in preserving their identity in a society that has been rapidly moving away from them.  Now that Trump has a Republican Congress to work with he will implement the ideological policies are fundamental to the Republican Party.  We will get a more regressive tax plan, less government regulation and increased military spending.  That will produce budget deficits that only worry Republicans when Democrats are in office.  The deficits will then become the excuse for reducing spending on social welfare programs.

Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but she lost three Democratic states, by a thin margin, that cost her the election.  Thirteen million votes were cast in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.  Trump's margin for victory in those critical states was only one tenth of 1%.  She would be our president if she had won those states.  Her loss by a razor thin margin had little to do with policies. It was all about identity politics.  Clinton failed to sell inclusiveness to voters in those states who were more enthusiastic about Trump's appeals to white identity.  There were other factors in play that are well described by a leader of Obama's successful campaign.  Democratic turnout was lower than it was in Obama's election and third party candidates may have captured more Clinton votes than Trump votes.

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