White American voters seem to have been the driving force behind Donald Trump’s victory.
CNNcommentator Van Jones suggested that the vote was a “white-lash against a black president”.
Hillary Clinton simply failed to convince enough middle-class Americans to elect the country’s first female president, especially in key battleground states.
But it’s not only about white voters. According to Harry Enten of FiveThirtyEight: “a big part of the story is that Clinton underperformed Obama with blacks and Hispanic. Clinton is winning only 88 percent of the black vote. Exit polls in 2012 had Obama at 93 percent. Clinton is only at 65 percent among Latinos. Obama won 71 percent of them.”
Clinton failed to fire up the Obama coalition, and it cost her greatly. Trump on the other hand, made progress compared with Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign.
Clinton may have failed to mobilise her base, but the attention that Donald Trump generated on the airwaves and in the international press could also have undermined his opponent’s messaging.
Trump used public battles with CNN, the Washington Post and New York Times to question the authority and motivations of the Main Stream Media, or MSM.
This in turn allowed him to brush off criticism and dismiss scrutiny of his more extravagant statements.
Media organisations benefitted from having Trump dominate their news segments. Buttressed by high public interest, media organisations followed Trump’s campaign closely, creating what FiveThirtyEight called back in July 2015, a possible feedback loop.
“Some event sparks a news story about a candidate, which triggers more public attention, which encourages yet more media attention — and so on,” reported FiveThirtyEight.
The breakdown in the 2016 election is also a also a generational issue. Voters under 40 favored Clinton, older voters, not so much.
A non-negligible segment of the youth vote have gone to third-party candidates, such as the Green Jill Stein, and Libertarian Party Gary Johnson. According to the national exit poll quoted by FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver, 9 percent of voters ages 18 to 29 went for third parties, as did 8 percent of voters ages 30 to 44.