Understanding why Trump won.
November 9, 2016 2:54 PM   Subscribe

Looking for good analysis, preferably quantitative, of how Trump won. Where are people looking at the available data and sharing ideas? What parts of Trump's message brought people out for him? How can other politicians address the legitimate concerns of his voters without all the negative stuff that goes along with him?

We are hearing lots of anecdotes and pundits citing different slices of the polling data. I'd like to find people taking a careful, clearheaded look at the data to understand what the critical issues, messages and groups were. It seems to me that jobs, immigration and trade were important - I'd like to be able to verify or disprove that, with publicly available data (election returns, polling, surveys, etc.), or find people working along those lines.

Are there any collaborative projects out there to analyze quantitatively what happened in the election? Should somebody start one?
posted by molla to Law & Government (28 answers total) 56 users marked this as a favorite

Dear Democrats, Read This If You Do Not Understand Why Trump Won (Medium)

The headline (and tone of the article) probably comes off a little insulting if you're a Democrat, but I find myself agreeing with the conclusions. I myself (as a long-term Republican) was repulsed by Trump, would likely have voted for Sanders, but instead voted 3rd party because I couldn't support either.
posted by randomkeystrike at 3:16 PM on November 9, 2016 [5 favorites]

just linked this elsewhere - really enjoyed the 538 podcast today. also, the rest of the site has various articles that look interesting (been out all day so haven't read them yet), like asking why pollsters missed trump.
posted by andrewcooke at 3:19 PM on November 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

^ 538 is always about as quantitative as anyone can possibly want.
posted by randomkeystrike at 3:26 PM on November 9, 2016

I skimmed over this piece by Michael Moore when it first came out, but now it looks pretty prescient.
posted by rpfields at 3:36 PM on November 9, 2016 [11 favorites]

This is the best analysis I've read so far.

The 538 piece is also good, but a little incomplete.
posted by kevinbelt at 3:48 PM on November 9, 2016 [5 favorites]

If you brand your opponent as racist or sexist or anything else which it is socially unacceptable to admit, that opponent will start to get lower poll numbers, but mainly because people become reluctant to admit their support in public. They will still vote for that person after the smear, particularly if they consider the label unfair or are willing to explain it away.

If you then make it your mission to poll higher than your smeared opponent in each key state and county, you are aiming too low. Hillary managed to beat Trump in her polling data, but had no idea she was in fact behind.
posted by w0mbat at 3:58 PM on November 9, 2016 [6 favorites]

This article came out a month ago, written by an author who grew up in a red state but who has since moved to a blue area. It's not as quantitative but it really gave me an understanding of where rural america is coming from. I know it's on a humor site, but I thought it was very insightful and worth a read.

posted by cali59 at 4:01 PM on November 9, 2016 [8 favorites]

I hate to say it, but you could do worse than reading Scott Adams blog. He puts it down to, essentially, good rhetoric ('persuasion').

I'm not going there because it'll be too nauseatingly smug but the bastard got it right, all the way down the line.
posted by Sebmojo at 4:04 PM on November 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Charisma. A piece by Paul Graham.
posted by neeta at 4:18 PM on November 9, 2016

Over thinking this. A simple turnout game. Trump got about the same number of votes as Romney. Hillary got a about two million less votes than Obama. The decline in AA votes in a few states was a multiple of Trumps margin.

Or as a text I got from a left ish friend last night said "people just don't like her". Chalk that up to misogyny or whatever, but it was lack on enthusiasm for her that made the difference.
posted by JPD at 4:18 PM on November 9, 2016 [14 favorites]

I found this article in Current Affairs, What This Means, How This Happened, What to Do Now, enlightening.
posted by j810c at 4:21 PM on November 9, 2016 [4 favorites]

Behind 2016’s Turmoil, a Crisis of White Identity was published on November 1, but is still very relevant.
posted by Carol Anne at 4:31 PM on November 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

Glenn Greenwald's thoughts.
posted by pdb at 4:58 PM on November 9, 2016 [3 favorites]

Honestly, while I get the impulse to start trying to make sense of things as soon as possible, I suspect right now even the quants are going to be doing a lot of hot-take guessing. I suspect the weaknesses in Clinton's coalition and the unexpected strengths in Trump's will become clearer over the next couple of months.
posted by en forme de poire at 5:02 PM on November 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Thomas Frank in The Guardian.
James Hohmann in WaPo.
posted by Ideefixe at 5:09 PM on November 9, 2016

@pdb that Glenn Greenwald thing is a Pocket link.
posted by dgeiser13 at 5:15 PM on November 9, 2016

The latest episode of Keepin It 1600 podcast was very good and addressed a lot of the things you brought up. I especially liked the second half, when they talked about moving forward.
posted by chaoticgood at 5:43 PM on November 9, 2016

I found this article, from the UK newspaper The Guardian, to be interesting reading.
posted by ClaireBear at 6:04 PM on November 9, 2016

Oh shoot, sorry about the Pocket link. Here's the actual story.
posted by pdb at 7:36 PM on November 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

You're asking for hindsight. One pundit had the foresight to understand Trump's appeal and his supporters at a time when the mainstream media was treating him as a joke prior to the first primary. His analysis was about the power of persuasion. Time and time again Scott accurately predicted how and why Trump would emerge with more support from the latest 'gaffe' or position statement that the mainstream media was sure would be the end of him.

The mainstream media ignored Scott. Friends I sent to his website reported back various forms of 'you must be joking' because they couldn't get past Scott's primary occupation to read any of his ongoing commentary. Given almost every political pundit with credibility got this election wrong, maybe people will sift through Scott's writings to see why he got it right: Scott Adams' Blog.
posted by Homer42 at 11:59 PM on November 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Ian Welsh wrote this in May:
Clinton’s entire hope comes down to Trump’s bigotry. She will rest heavily on the minority and female votes. But if inroads are made there, she can easily lose. Women are not the monolith people act like they are: Married women often vote in their husband’s interests, seeing those interests as their own.

Also, it remains to be seen how much people will come out for Hillary. They won’t vote for Trump? Okay. But vote for Hillary? A different thing.

There’s plenty of time before the election, and Clinton does not seem to me to be a sure thing.
And his post-election summary (with links to further reading):
Let’s be clear, I don’t think Trump will be a good president. And Republicans controlling House, Senate and Supreme Court is bad.

There are, however, reasons why Clinton lost against Trump. Part of it is that she was always an awful candidate, with sky high negatives. Democrats knew this, and nominated her anyway, with Democratic operatives effectively cheating on her behalf.

Part of it is that despite his manifest weaknesses, Trump ran a more positive campaign with a better message, while Clinton ran campaign based entirely on fear and with a message that “everything is basically fine.”
posted by amb at 12:02 AM on November 10, 2016 [3 favorites]

Just two add too the two academic articles above - here is a blog from a professor at LSE on the same theme
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 5:47 AM on November 10, 2016

From 2008 to 2016 Democrats lost 10,000,000 votes, from 70m to 60m. The Republicans stayed even at around 60m. Where did all the votes go? Part of it is voter enthusiasm. Millions of first time voters were excited for "Yes, We Can" in 2008 but Obama's failure to actually achieve his campaign promise of "hope" and "change" combined with the incredibly vicious campaign in 2016 led these people to stay home. However, the biggest culprit is voter suppression. Republicans in states across the country but especially in North Carolina, Ohio, and Wisconsin passed laws designed specifically to lower turnout. In 2013 the Supreme Court struck down key pieces of the Voting Rights Act which had, until then, protected against these types of shenanigans.

2008 Election
2012 Election
2016 Election
posted by Glibpaxman at 8:43 AM on November 10, 2016 [3 favorites]

Nthing the David Wong piece on Cracked about how Trump became a thing, and adding his surprisingly reassuring follow up piece that went up the day after Election Day.
posted by helloimjennsco at 10:34 AM on November 10, 2016 [2 favorites]

I thought this Ezra Klein piece has some interesting thoughts.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:20 AM on November 11, 2016

thomas frank (the "what's the matter with kansas" guy) is mentioned above, but here's a talk of his that hasn't been linked. i listened to this before the election and was interested (in many ways he describes the kind of culture i see here on mefi - left-leaning academics / professionals), but wasn't sure how much weight to give him. anyway, i just found it again and in retrospect he gets quite a few things right (still, his presentation style rubs me completely the wrong way...).
posted by andrewcooke at 2:36 PM on November 11, 2016

Re: the Ezra Klein piece – he has been wrong about nearly everything during this election. I won't be looking to him for answers now (or ever again, frankly).
posted by amb at 3:18 PM on November 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

« Older What logo does this remind me of?   |   Need guidance on sticking to a serious news and... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.