So we’ve got a lot of people acting as though the election of Donald J. Trump represents a seismic shift in the American electorate and–just maybe!–a prelude to the Fourth Reich. This is just a reminder that the data don’t bear that out.
It’s not exactly news–Slate Star Codex carried it right after the election–but it bears repeating. So here’s the update from Matt Bruenig: The Boring Story of the 2016 Election.
Donald Trump did not win because of a surge of white support. Indeed he got less white support than Romney got in 2012. Nor did Trump win because he got a surge from other race+gender groups. The exit polls show him doing slightly better with black men, black women, and latino women than Romney did, but basically he just hovered around Romney’s numbers with every race+gender group, doing slightly worse than Romney overall.
However, support for Hillary was way below Obama’s 2012 levels, with defectors turning to a third party. Clinton did worse with every single race+gender combo except white women, where she improved Obama’s outcome by a single point. Clinton did not lose all this support to Donald. She lost it into the abyss. Voters didn’t like her but they weren’t wooed by Trump.
Bruenig goes on to explain why this narrative is so underplayed. Which is: nobody likes it. I’ll let you read Bruenig’s analysis on this point (I basically agree with it), but here’s the point: any discussion of what’s happening in American politics should adhere to the basic facts. Trump did a little worse than Romney. Clinton did a lot worse than Obama. Ergo the defining factor was Clinton’s deep unpopularity.
Last thought: she’s been in the press a lot since the end of the election. It even sounds like she wants to try again. Will she try? Will she succeed (in getting on the ballot)? What will that look like?