Politics, Social Science, Top Stories

Race, Gender and Trump: Everything You Think You Know is Wrong

Following Election 2016’s “shocking” finale, many in academic and journalistic circles have seemed less interested in dispassionately analyzing why Trump won than finding excuses for why Hillary lost.

As far as excuses go, sexism or misogyny (like racism, “foreign meddling,” or “fake news”) is pretty effective: it isn’t that Clinton was a non-charismatic candidate with a lot of baggage and a boring platform who ran a bad campaign — instead, those who didn’t vote for Hillary were driven by irrational and immoral impulses, preventing them from embracing the only ‘legitimate’ candidate in this race.

Therefore, it should not surprise that a vast academic literature has emerged on the alleged role of sexism and misogyny in the 2016 U.S. General Election (given that scholars overwhelmingly lean left). Co-occurrence searches on Google Scholar can provide insight into the scale of this enterprise. Restricting our search to 2016 and beyond, “Donald Trump” and “misogyny” yields 1,480 results to date; pairing “Donald Trump” and “sexism” brings in 2,760 hits; “Donald Trump” and “feminist” has 5,080 entries.

There is certainly some overlap between these, but it is nonetheless clear that a large academic corpus is being rapidly produced on this topic – in a wide array of fields, using diverse theoretical and methodological frameworks. However, surveying the titles and abstracts of these works, it is difficult to find any that meaningfully challenge notions that Trump and his supporters were sexist, that Clinton lost in large part because she was a woman (or a “strong woman”), or that gender played an extraordinary role in this election cycle.

Yet there are many reasons to be skeptical of this consensus position. 

For instance, much has been made of the “gender gap” between Republicans and Democrats in 2016: according to exit-polls, the distance between Clinton’s margin of victory among women, and Trump’s margin of victory among men, was wider than it had ever been between the parties. But how much of this effect was actually driven by Trump? Consider, the same was true in 2012: the “gender gap” was larger than it ever had been. In this respect, 2016 seems to be a continuation of trends from the previous cycle, rather than a sudden rupture.

Moreover, Clinton’s margin among women (relative to Trump), while solid, was not historic. According to New York Times exit polls, Bill Clinton won women by a bigger margin in 1996, as did Obama in 2008. Al Gore won women by about the same margin as Hillary in 2000. Nor was Trump’s margin among men unprecedented for Republicans: Nixon (’72), Reagan (’80, ’84) and George H.W. Bush (’88) all won the male vote by a larger margin than Trump. The “historic” gap emerged because both candidates had slightly bigger margins than usual among either men or women, not because Trump or Clinton did amazingly well with either group.

However, margins of victory is a non-ideal way of exploring this question because, for many reasons, exit-polls tend to oversample Democratic-friendly constituents (therefore, Democratic margins of victory are probably overstated across the board, and Republican margins of victory, understated). However, we can control for this bias by looking at Trump’s female support relative to his Republican predecessors instead: assuming the quality and bias of a long-running exit-poll is roughly constant across time, longitudinal differences can be held to reflect authentic changes in support among different constituencies.

Among Republicans, Trump won the lowest share of the female vote since 1996. But of course, this does not imply Hillary Clinton did well with women. In fact, she did poorly with women as well. Going back two decades on the Democratic side, the only candidate who got a lower share of women than Hillary was John Kerry.

How can this be explained?

Many analysts have latched onto race: Trump won a majority (53%) of white women. But this, too, is nothing extraordinary. Going all the way back to 1972, Republicans have won the lion’s share of white women in all but two cycles (1992, 1996) – and even in these instances, Bill Clinton could only muster a plurality of the white female vote. Democrats have never won a decisive majority in this demographic in at least the last 40 years. But actually, Trump did equivalent or worse with white women than his immediate predecessors Romney (56%), McCain (53%), and Bush II (55% in 2012).

In short, Clinton’s poor performance with women was not a result of race being especially salient in this cycle. Placed in historical context, Trump’s performance among white women was middling at best for a Republican candidate.

Nor does it seem to be the case that women had “internalized misogyny” and, themselves, couldn’t embrace the idea of a female president: most female Obama voters who defected from the party in 2016 did not go for Trump (again, his performance among women, including white women, was relatively low) – they went instead to Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

Far from being more genteel or amicable than Clinton (i.e. a more “acceptable” female option for those who could not accept a “strong” woman), Stein was more aggressive and subversive — far bolder than Hillary — in her rhetoric, in her manner, in her policy platform, etc. So it does not seem to be that women just couldn’t support one of their own, or were turned off by an assertive and confident woman.

In fact, Hillary didn’t just get one of the lowest female vote shares of any Democrat over the last six elections among those who did turn out, fewer women headed to the polls this cycle overall. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, female participation dropped by 0.4 percentage points in 2016 as compared to 2012 — and 2.5 percentage points compared to 2008.

Clinton ultimately lost largely because of her poor performance with women. Had Hillary won the same shares as Obama, Gore, or even her husband with this constituency, or if she had equivalent (or especially increased) rates of female turnout, she almost certainly would be president today.

Why didn’t she? Again, women didn’t defect to Trump en masse, they didn’t seem have a problem voting for a woman (given that the lost votes gravitated mostly towards Stein). The problem seemed to be Hillary Clinton in particular: her message, her platform, her character. And of course, the same factors that drove so many women away from Clinton likely also depressed her performance with men. Indeed, had Clinton won, she would have been (like Trump is) the least-popular victorious candidate in modern U.S. history.

Given these realities, unsettling questions emerge about how the election has typically been explored in the literature up to now.  For instance, why so much focus on men, “threatened masculinity,” and sexism, rather than exploring how women exercised their agency in this election? There is a moral dimension to this question — shouldn’t we be especially concerned with female perspectives, and female agency, in the age of Trump? However, there are theoretical considerations as well.

For one, the story among women seems more analytically interesting: It is truly striking that Clinton performed so poorly (in terms of vote share and turnout) considering her historic status as the first female candidate at the top of a major party ticket, and given the unending media portrayal of her opponent as a sexist, misogynist, serial harasser with a policy agenda that was just as horrible as his rhetoric. The puzzle grows all the more fascinating in light of the fact that Democrats’ vote-share among women has been consistently eroding across most midterm and general elections of the last decade (attrition mostly to third-parties).

The story among women is objectively more important too: Women made up a majority (52%) of the electorate in 2016 – and indeed they’ve represented the majority of voters for every election of the last 30 years. They consistently represent an even larger share of the Democratic base.

Therefore, if one wanted to understand an electoral outcome on the basis of gender, one should start by analyzing and contextualizing the vote preferences of women and how they’ve changed. It is a priority error to focus on men, given they are relatively less significant to determining how most races shake out. Nonetheless, the discussion on gender and 2016 has overwhelmingly focused on the male vote.

As I demonstrate in an article for the forthcoming volume of The American Sociologist, Race and the Race for the White House: On Social Research in the Age of Trump,” similar peculiarities hold in the burgeoning literature on the role of race and racism in the 2016 election.

For instance, Trump’s victory is often described as a “whitelash” by voters eager to erase the legacy of America’s first black president. However, this narrative fails to take account of basic election data. For instance, the most decisive votes for the 2016 race came from people who had supported Barack Obama in 2012 (and often 2008 as well) but then switched to Trump. If these were people horrified by a black commander-in-chief, it is not clear why they would have voted to give him another four years to pursue his agenda (let alone have voted for him in 2008).

If the election were a referendum on Obama, as a politician or a symbol, one would expect his popularity to have declined over the course of the race — especially given how it ultimately turned out. Instead, Obama grew more popular throughout 2016, even as favorability for Trump and Hillary tanked. Two years into the Trump administration, Barack’s ratings continue to climb, with 66% of Americans offering a favorable opinion of him.

The “whitelash” theory also suggests a surge white voting. Instead, participation among non-Hispanic whites was stagnant relative to 2012, and down from 2008. In fact, whites made up a smaller share of the electorate in 2016, while Hispanics and Asians made up a larger percentage of overall voters.

More damning: Trump actually won a smaller share of the white vote than Mitt Romney. He was nonetheless able to win because he won more Hispanics and Asians than his predecessors, and more black votes than any Republican since 2004.

As with gender, turnout was low among core Democratic racial constituencies, particularly African Americans. Had Clinton been able to better mobilize African Americans to the polls, or had she even just maintained Obama’s vote share among blacks, Hispanics or Asians (even from 2012, let alone 2008), she likely would have won. In other words, the problem wasn’t that Donald had extraordinary support among whites (he didn’t) – but instead that Clinton was significantly less popular than Obama among minority groups.

In fact, contrary to predominant narratives about the election, Obama significantly outperformed Clinton with whites as well. Hillary got the lowest share of white voters of any Democrat since 1984. But again, most of these votes did not go to Trump (who did worse than Romney among whites, and about the same as George W. Bush in 2004). Instead, as with Democrats’ lost female votes, many whites (especially young people) opted to vote for third-parties instead.

Nonetheless, scholars bend over backwards trying to find ways to “prove” that Trump voters were especially racist or sexist. Such narratives may be edifying for those who count themselves among the “resistance” — however, the real-world costs of politicized research likely outweigh these emotional benefits:

For instance, scholars and journalists can alienate the very voters Democrats will need to recapture in 2020 — calling them racist and sexist, often on weak evidentiary grounds. However, even to the extent these narratives were true, they could not be meaningfully operationalized: there’s little one can do about voters’ sexism and racism other than play to it, or not. Presumably, Democrats have settled on “not.” Consequently, there seems to be little practical value in trying to “prove” Trump voters are racist and sexist. Indeed, these efforts distract from learning lessons that could actually help Democrats prevent another humiliating and costly defeat in 2020

For those of us who would like to avoid another four years of Trump rather than circulate comforting stories to explain away his continued victories, it may be necessary to fundamentally rethink how we study the President and his supporters.


Musa al-Gharbi is a Paul F. Lazarsfeld Fellow in Sociology at Columbia University and a research associate with Heterodox Academy. Readers can connect with his other work via his website, and follow him on Twitter @Musa_alGharbi

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  1. Designer says

    As a conclusion one must realize the very limited usefulness of concepts of identity groups and the theoretical stringency of the diverse ‘critical theories’. It proves wishful thinking can’t beat reality.

  2. AC Harper says

    So… Trump was awful but Clinton was more awful?

    I’m not an American but I looked on in disbelief at the presidential race. Each side trying to minimise it’s own failings and maximise the failings of the other side. I found Trump obnoxious but Clinton creepy.

    • markbul says

      I am an American – and yes, Clinton was more awful. I could vote for neither (so don’t blame me!), but if you put a gun to my head, I’d have voted for Trump as a single term president.

      • ritchietheriveter says

        Or, Jabber the Trump vs. the Pantsuit Palpatine.

        One might be a scoundrel on a personal level, but the other seeks to lord it over us.

        And that IS the difference that counts.

        • Laine Andrews says

          Your Pantsuit Palpatine is a double whammy, also a “scoundrel on a personal level” enabling serial sexual assaulter Bill, blaming his victims and joining with him in a corrupt Fraudation scheme of pay for play enriching themselves.

      • It is TRUMP who is corruption personified, as the lawsuit against the Trump Foundation demonstrates. And it’s stupid takes like yours – along with help given by Putin, the FBI and the media to Trump – that helped give us Trump. But of course there’s no way a media outlet led by a raging misogynist like Claire Lehmann could possibly have anything nice to say about Hillary Clinton.

    • ga gamba says

      I’m not a Yank too, though I lived in the states for a few years during one of its interminable election cycles. Could it be more insufferable? Well, in early 2015 it looked almost certain it would be Jeb(!) versus Hillary, which would have been the worst snooze fest yet. Frankly, how it turned out in 2016 I found very amusing. Shouty socialist Sanders tossed a spanner into the Clinton coronation and Trump destroyed what was a dire group of Republican candidates. Once the general election campaign went into full swing it was astonishing to behold. It wasn’t just the US media lined up against Trump, so too had the international media. Had he played a conventional campaign he was a goner, but with his tweets and the bombast he played a very weak hand amazingly well.

      Post election the internationalist cabal has revealed itself, and it’s amazing to see how the Democrats have savaged their own such as Weinstein. Had Hillary been elected you know it would have been the same old story and Weinstein would be invited to attend state dinners and continue to hobnob with world leaders.

      Other than Spain, most everywhere else is now collapsing for the progressives. Eastern Europe is standing up to Merkel and AfD has upended her plans. The Italians have had enough. Norway and Denmark clamped down on mass migration. Ottawa’s Liberal Party just collapsed. If the Swedes toss out the ruling progressives it’ll be a joyous occasion. I see a worldwide movement of regular people saying “Enough!” If it takes a oaf like Trump to shock the system, I’m OK with that.

      • Jeremy H says

        @ga gamba

        “Ottawa’s Liberal Party just collapsed.”

        Wishful thinking here, let’s hope for 2019, but I presume you mean Ontario’s Liberals. And point taken.

    • Danierl says

      And where is that country? The country in which the politicians honestly and fairly discuss the issues, presenting all sides, humbly presenting their opinions while acknowledging their solutions might work but might not, and, if not, then the solutions might do more harm than good, etc., etc.

  3. Caleb G. says

    Interesting content about the election data. Definitely contradicts popular election statements such as white evangelicals were to blame for Trump’s win. Essentially Trump was elected by omission rather than commission. This makes complete sense because neither candidate was popular in the polls. Most statements about the choices in voting were somewhere along the lines of “picking the lesser of two evils.” Also, while I would agree that demonizing Trump voters is not productive I would point to the fact that gaining the 3rd part voters back should be the largest goal. The next Democratic candidate has to be popular; seems obvious but Democrats picked an unpopular candidate last time so what’s to say it won’t happen again. Although it appears that 2020 will result in a swing in voting we may have a repeat of 2016 if people cannot decide on the candidate to swing to.

    • christian says

      White evangelicals were to blame because they chose to give up on their moral standards for a man with no character simply because he had an (R) against his name and could appoint some supreme court justices.

      • NomNom says

        @Christian: True, the supreme court justices (and other judicial nominees) was reason enough to vote for Trump. He’s really delivered some great nominees, too.

      • TarsTarkas says

        We had a choice between retch and regurgitate. I chose retch. You cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Trump as a person isn’t good, but Her Odiousness is horrible, in every way.

      • NCS says

        Maybe Republicans have evolved (you know, like how Obama’s views on same-sex marriage changed after he was elected). There would be no one in the White House if he or she had to be morally pure.

      • Laine Andrews says

        The other candidate had a 40 year history of low moral character, starting with being fired from her first job by her Democrat boss for being “unethical” in the Nixon investigation. And she went on the way she started through Whitewater, smearing her husband’s sexual victims, minion Sandy Berger putting classified docs down his pants, graduating to classified docs as SOS on her illegal server, the Clinton Fraudation etc.

      • jacintokid says

        I’m not sure that evangelicals gave up on their moral standards, rather, I think they supported the morally flawed candidate with low character who pledged to defend their moral standards as opposed to the one who didn’t.

        • Thunderbolt3 says

          I totally agree, jacintokid. So, as a Christian, I’m supposed to refuse to vote for a morally flawed candidate, and then the other morally flawed candidate wins. Such a choice! I’d love to vote for Jesus, but he wasn’t on the ballot. Sometimes you have to pick between two bad choices.

  4. Martti O. Suomivuori says

    The way the mainstream media handled the election demonstrates that they have lost their focus. How can they totally miss half of the US voters as if they did not exist at all? Are they so centered on pleasing the political and economic elite that has profited from recent trends of globalization and polarization so that they think they can ignore the ‘other America’, the one that lost the jobs that were shipped to Asia?
    It is alarming (or just ridiculous) that they still haven’t realized their blind spots and try to demonize Trump and his supporters instead of trying to understand their own political shortcomings, their wacko identity politics and witch hunts which take an enormous amount of media real estate at the price of the real problems the lower middle class are facing daily.
    This was the potential that Steve Bannon took advantage of to the fullest. He is one weird working class hero but he managed to market a real estate mogul with no political or economical skills as the New Hope.
    In my mind, the American MSM lost the election for Hillary.
    With their backing, you really do not need other enemies.

    • Lincoln Dunstan says

      The Media, for all their so-called expertise, missed the GFC, as well!!

  5. ga gamba says

    I enjoy data-rich articles like this. Keep ’em coming Mr al-Gharbi.

    I think there are a few reasons progressives are trying to spin this narrative. Firstly, it advances the intersectional feminists’ cause by blaming white women for Trump. This is a convenient excuse to sideline white feminists to reap gains by feminists of colour. That white progressive feminists are the same as white female Evangelicals and country-club conservatives is the most superficial analysis, but having been told over the years to listen and obey, progressive whites nod their heads in silent submission. Good dog.

    Secondly, the call to not “normalise” Trump has progressives using the old standby of ism and obia to disparage anything and everything he does so such an extreme it’s become laughable. It must be used to explain the election. Sticking to one script snookers them though, because the general public becomes desensitised to this wolf crying and less likely to respond it. A decade ago who would’ve foreseen one being called a racist and Nazi is shrugged off? Only amongst identitarian progressives, such as those running Starbucks, does it still pack a punch.

    Lastly, and most importantly, it’s used to conceal a painful truth to progressives: black voter participation fell off the cliff in 2016 and Hispanics’ remained flat. Blacks’ seven percentage point drop from ’12 to ’16 was a 10.5% decrease, and when that happens to your most loyal base you have serious problems. Even participation by black women, who presumably would have found something appealing about a first female president, dropped 6.6 percentage points. I guess intersectionality only goes so far. Looks like a dead end.

    I recall the decline was immediately mentioned by election observers when exit polls showed it, and the response by blacks was one of outage: “Oh no you don’t, we’re not to blame. Blacks overwhelming supported Clinton.” Certainly this is true, but it conflates, deliberately I think, support for participation. In 2008 black participation finally equaled that by whites, and in ’12 it actually exceeded whites slightly, which was a historic first. Both Obamas and the aristocracy of black celebrity campaigned strongly on behalf of Clinton in ’16, yet black voters didn’t respond – participation fell to lower than 2004’s for Bush/Kerry. Surely the Trump-Clinton battle was more exciting than ’04, and preceded by a thrilling Sanders-Clinton showdown, it couldn’t have been missed. The legacy media and the Clinton camp used the tactic of playing up allegations of Trumps’ racial animus, which ought to have energised participation by both blacks and Hispanics.

    With the claim “demographics are destiny” Democratic strategists made a catastrophic error by relying on it. Where’s the evidence that enough blacks feel compelled to stand in voter queues to support under-fire Hispanics on election day? Perhaps a fissure exists, one that indicates enough blacks feel threatened by Hispanic immigrants competing for jobs and government programmes. If demographics are indeed destiny, perhaps enough blacks perceive that they too are being “replaced” by Hispanics – they fell from being the second largest minority community to third. Has research been conducted on their opinions of the limited resources for education being used for English as a second language classes and other curriculum tailored to immigrant needs?

    The elephant in the room is participation by Hispanics, or rather the lack thereof. Assuming they vote as a monolithic bloc, if it meets that of whites and blacks that’s a game changer. Yet, Marco Rubio’s campaign went nowhere, Ted Cruz couldn’t make anything of it, and Trump captured a significant minority, which suggests more than ethnicity counts for them. Given their many different lands of origin, and the rivalries that exist, it’s probably a safer bet to see them behaving like whites for whom which European land of ancestry matters little when voting. You don’t hear the Norwegian- and Polish-Americans make much of an issue of it, though it may be safe to say each respectively would find a President Gustafson or Sobieski pleasing.

    • ss396 says

      There were 7 million more votes cast in 2016 than had been cast in 2012. How can you say that participation fell off the cliff when there was 5% increase in the number of votes cast?

  6. Tom Darlington says

    There’s a glaring omission in this analysis that really needs to be said: Clinton won more votes than Trump, almost 3 million more votes.

    Trump’s victory depends on how his votes were distributed across the states like Florida, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, not over demographic groups like women, men, latinos, and anglos. If you slice the same pie any different way among the states Clinton would probably win.

    • AuxPart says

      This isn’t relevant. Trump probably would have won the popular vote too, if that was what mattered. Since 2 of the most populated states where a shoe-in for Democrats (NY, CA), Trump spent little effort campaigning there. If he had, convincing 3 million more Republicans to vote would have been easy.

      • Tom Darlington says

        That argument also applies for deep red states like Texas and Alabama: i.e. more Democrats in those states would have turned out in those states.

        And of course it’s relevant, to this article at least. This whole discussion revolves around his popularity in certain groups of voters, but as you say total popularity isn’t what matters. It’s where those voters are.

        The underlying point here is that margins of victory for Trump are razor thing. He nearly didn’t win.

    • Ian Thompson says

      just don’t let folk jettison the electoral college with this as a justification or the Union will be under threat

    • Laine Andrews says

      So you really believe that the Dems’ most unpopular candidate got more of the popular vote? Well, NYC and California made her their queen, and is it not rational to suspect that all the encouragement for illegals who number in the millions to vote, sent along with their California-provided drivers’ licenses plus President Obama’s public assurance that they wouldn’t get caught or punished boosted her numbers? California has since categorically refused to cooperate with a federal investigation of voting by illegals. Of course. Dems would likely never win again if illegals couldn’t vote.

      • J. Quinton says

        Thinking that illegals were voting in droves is a conspiracy theory with zero evidence.

        • Laine Andrews says

          Since investigations that would generate the evidence are being blocked by state rights, we’re left with human nature and likelihood. What is the probability that out of millions of illegals who already broke American law by smuggling themselves in, none were tempted to break the law again by the obvious outreach in Dem states like California handing them drivers’ licenses and also info on voting registration for which they only needed the driver’s license?

          When they switched on their TVs and saw the POTUS Obama encouraging illegal voting by stating that they would likely not be caught and certainly not punished what are the odds that a few million at least decided to compound their law breaking by voting illegally? And who would they vote for except the party favoring illegal migration?

  7. SkipTownCPA says

    it isn’t that Clinton was a non-charismatic candidate with a lot of baggage and a boring platform who ran a bad campaign — instead, those who didn’t vote for Hillary were driven by irrational and immoral impulses, preventing them from embracing the only ‘legitimate’ candidate in this race.

    Where did you get this impression, DNC shills on MSNBC? Pretty much everyone thinks she has the charisma of a rock and that she ran a horrible campaign; those on the left loathed her, but some who voted just saw her as the lesser of two evils. And if you think racism and misogyny didn’t play a role, I guess you didn’t watch any of Trump’s stump speeches on cable news. Of course, labeling folks racist and sexist doesn’t win hearts and minds, but there are no easy answers or bumper-sticker slogans to capture the enthusiasm of those being left behind by 21st Century technology and globalization. Lies and bait-and-switch tactics are far more effective. Remember, feelings are much more important than facts in our current political environment.

  8. Dan says

    It seems to me that the biggest elephant in the room is the failed realization of the democrats that economics are prior to everything in politics. The rust belt is dying economically, and the democratic platform was ultimately reducible to an economic status quo, focusing more on identity politics rather than how to reassure people that they’ll be able to put food on the table while their factories are closing down. They can’t seem to reconcile that non-racists and people who believe in social equality could still vote for Trump, because they fail to realize that only people who know they can pay their bills every month have the luxury of worrying about social equality.

    Any research that suggests otherwise is simply a waste of money – sponsored out of the arrogance of failing to understand basic human psychology. It is troubling that democrats still don’t get this.

    • McExpat says

      Excellent comment and exactly why Ford won in Ontario in Canada

      • Dan says

        Absolutely. This underpins most of the basic populist movement accelerating through the world. The coastal elites who are economically secure don’t understand that the populist platform has nothing to do with euro-white ideology and everything to do with the blue-collar workers staring down a bleak future and begging for something to change; no matter how unqualified and loony a populist leader may be, anything is better than the status quo, which would be the worst possible outcome.

  9. Sirreal says

    Given how well the economy is going, the tax break, the progress against ISIS & with North Korea, the renegotiating of unfavorable trade & other deals, the very real need to control our borders & stem the flow of illegals – why would anyone NOT want a 2nd term of Trump? Mean tweets?

    • SkipTownCPA says


      The economic numbers are continuations of existing trends; progress in the Middle East consists of Iran and Russia further consolidating their positions in Iraq and Syria; I’m not aware of any trade deals; and border crossings have been trending down for quite awhile, even without the wall or splitting kids from their moms.

      Nevertheless, if you have any data from reliable sources to support your assertions I’d be truly happy to see them.

      • West says

        Why would anyone bother to do the research for you, and give you “data from reliable sources” when you ignore plenty of data that’s tight in front of you to spin thin tales of how the massive changes that have happened since Trump has been inaugurated were all going to happen anyway?

    • SkipTownCPA says

      Oh, and the tax break went mostly to corporations, which are primarily passing the largess on shareholders vice Trump’s most vociferous base.

      • NomNom says

        I’m seeing about $250/month more in net pay since the tax cuts. Why should I care if a corporation gets a large tax break? As long as I’m taking home more of my own money, I really could care less about the abstract idea of some multinational corporation getting to keep more of its bottom line. Its hard to deny the evidence of more money in my bank account.

        • Bill says

          NomNom, a funny thing is now the Dems are in the news criticising Trump’s policies because wages are growing too fast. It’ll be inflationary, they say! Odd, wouldn’t jacking up minimum wage to $15/hour, as they campaigned on in 2016, have done the same thing?

      • Bill says

        You do realize that the shareholders = everybody’s 401k, Teacher’s and Union pensions, the fixed income retirees, etc? I know the Left likes to make it sound like the tax breaks to Corps just go to the Warren Buffett types, but that just isn’t factual. Yes, those “evil Rich” get a good chunk but the wealth is spread. Oh, and it also helped jack up rate of return in the market — a shame really, now we’ll have to wait a bit longer for some of those areas of California to go broke with their under/un-funded liabilities in union pensions.

  10. Sylv says

    There’s a tendency to think of Intersectional Social Justice arguments as the province of the Far Left, but the Hillary candidacy demonstrated not just that those arguments could be readily employed in support of a centrist candidate, but that they’re often a better fit for relatively conservative policy positions. By moving the focus away from policy and onto identity, the candidate can collect all the money from Wall Street and Wal-Mart they like and still portray themselves as noble underdogs fighting the status quo. Or that was the theory anyway.

    Didn’t really work out in practice.

  11. uh, I mean he barely improved on Romney’s non-white percentages. Probably more due to lower turnout and running against a white lady rather than a black man.

    And racial anxiety still motivated his white vote.

    • NomNom says

      You heard it here, first, folks. White people are a monolith.

  12. Sean S says

    I would have voted for Trump. Honestly, I doubt there will be democratic government in the next 30 years. I applaud for that. Liberals sounding like good people, do terrible things.

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  14. Bob Cowley says

    For many foreigners, things in the USA look like this:
    Can America
    heal it’s wounds?
    The world trembles.
    Or, for a more optimistic view:
    patiently persist
    surely a solution sometime?
    character should count

  15. “Therefore, it should not surprise that a vast academic literature has emerged on the alleged role of sexism and misogyny in the 2016 U.S. General Election (given that scholars overwhelmingly lean left). Co-occurrence searches on Google Scholar can provide insight into the scale of this enterprise. Restricting our search to 2016 and beyond, “Donald Trump” and “misogyny” yields 1,480 results to date; pairing “Donald Trump” and “sexism” brings in 2,760 hits; “Donald Trump” and “feminist” has 5,080 entries.”

    Why would a search result for the keywords “Donald Trump”+”misogyny”/”sexism” on google scholar indicate a paper that alleges that Hillary Clinton lost the election due to sexism or misogyny as opposed to for example Donald Trump being sexist or misogynist or connecting the keywords “Donald Trump” and “misogyny”/”sexism” in any other context?
    The author of this article doesn’t seem to be aware how search machines work.

    • Uh… I urged you to survey the titles and abstracts of these works, as I did… it’s kind of right there in the paragraph…

  16. NCS says

    Researcher bias begins with the ‘problem’ being investigated and the questions being answered. I, too, would be quite interested in a different focus. It’s even possible this has already been done since results that support the null hypothesis are rarely published.

    Frankly, I’m tired of being labeled a racist, misogynist, fill-in-the-blank phobic, etc., etc., etc. I have my reasons for how I voted, and nothing I’ve seen from the Dems so far has convinced me that I’ll want to vote differently next time.

    Maybe the researchers should focus on how the pollsters could be so off on their predictions.

    • Nancy says

      Are you saying that you would want to vote for Trump again, or that you would vote for a conservative republican? I ask because I can’t tell if Trump supporters like him merely for his aberrant behavior or for his policies. And given the new issues of trade, are there results of the presumably upcoming trade war that would change your view?

      • NCS says

        I’m not only-Trump – I would support the candidate who is most likely to promote what I consider to be best for my country. As such, I will be evaluating the results of Trump’s trade policies. There will, of course, be both negative and positive effects on specific industries and even individuals in the short term. I’m more interested in the bigger picture.

        I don’t presume to speak for all Trump supporters, but I agree in general with his policies regarding taxes, illegal immigration, and support of the 2nd Amendment. You’ll need to provide some specific examples of aberrant behavior if you want me to comment on that.

      • Bill says

        The trade war that simply puts the US on the same footing as the other countries? Canada has tariffs on US products by subsidizing native (lumber, dairy, etc). Other countries have tariffs as well. Would it be more comforting if we just changed the label from tariff to something else, like the EU does with their VAT system based upon country of production? Now granted, the US has historically done similar without complaint (biodiesel comes to mind).

        Perhaps one of the unifying themes of Trump voters is that they are tired of being silenced by threat of name & shame and tired of watching the prior elected leaders spending so much of the US’ capital (human and resource) overseas. We’ve been the world’s police force with NATO allies paying below the treaty requirements for years. We pay the lion’s share of the UN costs AND are expected to supply much of the military might. Disagree with some leftist policy? OMG! You’re a RACIST!!!! simply because the President was mixed-race with dark skin pigmentation. OMG! You want to kill old people because you are RACIST! Nope, have a basic understanding of supply/demand and a little research on how hospital billing works (Time magazine had a lengthy piece about the chargemaster — enlightening if you haven’t seen it).

        Oh, and lest we forget: https://www.nyu.edu/about/news-publications/news/2017/march/trump-clinton-debates-gender-reversal.html Clinton lost to Trump because of Clinton. All the sexist! Racist! White supremacist! name calling is demonstrably false when you reverse the genders of the candidates, recreate the debate, and Clinton still loses — only this time without the talking Media heads trying to convince you how badly she’d beaten Trump with her pre-scripted and focus group tested responses to questions she likely received in advance (as she had when she was debating Colonel…er…Senator Sanders.

  17. Another four years of Trump is far preferrable to four years of whoever the Democratic candidate will be. Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, or Corey Booker? If you see a strong economy as the majory political issue of the day, which is how I see things, I don’t know how you can vote Democrats. As long as it is the party of social justice you can count me out.

  18. Gospace says

    In 1992 the supposedly popular Bill Clinton took a whopping 43% of the vote. In 2016 Trump took 46.1%, the losing candidate 48,2% rendering this statement in the article “Indeed, had Clinton won, she would have been (like Trump is) the least-popular victorious candidate in modern U.S. history.” false. Thus making the entire article nonsense. In 1996 Bill Clinton took only 49.2% of the popular vote, becoming one of the very few two term Presidents to never achieve a majority of the popular vote.

    • “Popular” here was determined in terms of approval rating, not vote share.

      That is very explicit. Trump and Hillary’s approval ratings were deep underwater, far deeper than Clinton’s were in 1992 or 96. This is also gone into in the link provided…

      • If Trump or Clinton got a higher vote-share, it is not because they were more popular than Bill, but because negative partisanship drove more people to the polls (to prevent Hillary from winning, or Trump from winning). The unprecedented power of negative partisanship in this cycle is well-established empirically.

        • In short, the measure you are referring to (vote share) does not necessarily reflect anything about the popularity of the candidate in question. It could have just as much to do with the unpopularity of their rival.

          In this election, both Trump AND Clinton were reviled to a degree that is without historical precedent. There has never been a cycle in recent history where both candidates were loathed so deeply.

  19. dirtydave54 says

    Hillary didn’t lose because she is a woman, she lost because she is a c**t.

    • West says

      I am so glad to see others embracing the New Civility (TM), as spearheaded by prominent progressives like Ms. Bee.

    • TarsTarkas says

      Hillary lost because she was a bad candidate as well as morally and ethically corrupt. As for the argument ‘she was never charged’, her husband (or an ally) was always either the AG or controlled the AG. Because she always had that ‘get out of jail’ card she and her organization got so loose and sloppy that her enablers had to outdo professional contortionists to continually explain her actions away.

  20. Gemma Godivala says

    Winning back third party voters may be the goal of the Democrat party but breaking the two party system should be the goal of all right thinking Americans. In an election where virtually everyone was casting a negative vote imagine what could have happened if enough people had had the courage to cast a moral vote for a candidate they actually liked, no matter how unlikely their victory might have seemed. It’s a risk, sure. You need to accept the possibility of the greater of your two evils gaining power but when the choice is as poor as it was surely it’s a risk worth taking. Even if it doesn’t have immediate results. Even if it takes two or three election cycles to show that an independent vote isn’t a wasted vote.

    • DCH says

      You are ASSUMING that there WAS a candidate they liked, NOT a good assumption.

  21. Pingback: Setting the Record Straight about the 2016 Election - The Locker Room

  22. David Morris says

    Seems strange to say “Trump won because of Hispanics and Asians”. How many Asians and Hispanics actually live in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin? The data suggests that a particular type of white person was very abundant in he Midwest – one without a college degree.

    • Laine Andrews says

      Since the people WITH “college degrees” including Obama with his affirmative action credential from the Poison Ivyies ruled and made a mess of the country for 8 years, perhaps a little less implied sneer at people without college degrees who have retained their common sense is in order. If one looks objectively at most American college campuses today, they seem to have transmogrified into left wing indoctrination centers. They have become the opposite of what their purpose was – now “islands of repression in a sea of freedom”.

      As proof I offer hundreds of incidents of repressed speech on campuses by violent protests, screaming over the speaker, bomb threats, pulling fire alarms, pie-ing the speaker, vandalism, jostling, blowing vuvuzelas, administrators charging crippling “security” fees etc. 100% have been left wing students and profs blocking the right to free speech of conservative speakers and those who invited them onto campus. Not a single left wing speaker has ever been treated in such a disgusting way.

    • Shannon Hyland says

      Are citizens without college degrees less qualified to vote? Should leaders be less concerned with that part of the constituency that didn’t graduate college? That attitude is rampant with elites and it was heard loud and clear.

  23. ss396 says

    Comparing 2016 to 2012, there were 7 million more voters in 2016 than there were in 2012. Trump picked up 2 million of them; third parties picked up 5 million of them. Clinton lost 80,000 votes. Go down the list and compare state-by-state the Trump vs. Romney tallies, and the Clinton vs. Obama tallies. In state after state after state, Clinton received fewer votes than Obama did. Meanwhile, in State after state after state, Trump received more votes than Romney did, and third parties went really wild that way. Clinton didn’t lose to Trump so much as she lost to third parties. But even there, Trump nabbed a chunk of those additional voters; Clinton lost them.

    That Jill Stein thing is misdirected. It is true that if you give Clinton all of Stein’s votes, then she would have won. But if you give all Stein’s votes to Clinton, then you have to give all McMillan’s votes to Trump – and when you do that, Trump wins Wisconsin. BAM. Hillary is still not President. If you are going to “pick and chose”, you need to look at both sides or you are just kidding yourself with confirmation bias.

    So many analyses focus on Clinton-Trump, but the biggest story is those 5 million new votes that went to third parties. Those were the deciders; those are the margins of either party’s core. But no one seems to be paying attention to who they all were.

  24. gda says

    “Two years into the Trump administration, Barack’s ratings continue to climb, with 66% of Americans offering a favorable opinion of him.”

    Isn’t it an extraordinary thing that a man who weaponized the entire apparatus of the State against his political enemies from the moment he entered the WH, who illegally spied upon and tried to prevent DJT from becoming President, and later set in motion plans to “kill the king”, to throw him from office under the most laughable of pretexts, should be so favoured by the American people.

    It’s as if Adolf Hitler was found to have a 66% favourable rating in Germany.

    Now admittedly, the bare and ugly facts have not been disseminated yet to the American public. But they are out there, despite fevered attempts to cover up, deny and dissemble. And the dam is about to burst.

    In the not too distant future Americans will be exposed to the truth, and Barrack’s “stardom” will turn to ashes. Just another Chicago pol trying to start a “Big Man” banana republic.

  25. Another excellent read from Quillette! The point is to be honest in analyses so that we can hone in on actual societal ills, rather than to blindly follow specific ideological bents in a religious-like fervor.
    Thank you for an enlightening article. I agree stronlgy with the conclusion that trying to label Trump voters as racists and misogynistic will only alienate possible democrat voters in the future.

  26. Fred says

    Here we are 18 months later and the democrats refuse to acknowledge why they lost. Why? Well Hillary was terrible for one thing, but when she went to her “basket of deplorables” and basically packaged all conservatives as racist, mysohynist bigots. There was no way I could vote for her..even though I begrudgingly thought she was a better candidate. Dems will never get that though. They just keep going further and further left….and in doing so losing moderate democrats….

  27. Alan says

    Given the, apparent facts, that black employment is at all time highs and minority business ownership is up. Anyone who voted for Trump because, “he a racist like me and he gonna put them people in their place,” has to be pretty disappointed in his performance so far.

  28. You could have won if you bet a million bucks that Quillette would publish an anti-Hillary Clinton article that only lightly criticizes Trump. Quillette not only hates feminists, its founder Claire Lehmann hates women, period. Hillary Clinton was not terrible, she was up against Trump being supported by the media (in their effort to always play “both sides” which helped Trump) the FBI and Putin. Aided and abetted by Far Left Berniebros. Good luck growing Quillette with all your hatred of women – Lehmann should just rebrand Quillette as a white man’s publication and stop pretending otherwise.

    • Stefan says

      Alright, it’s only mid June, but it looks like we already found the dumbest comment for this month

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