Why and How Donald Trump won the US presidential election?
Donald J Trump emerged victorious in the US presidential elections concluded on November 8. He defeated Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton by securing 279 Electoral College votes (out of 538), while Clinton got only 228 votes. In popular votes, though Clinton got 47.7 % votes against 45.5 % votes polled by Trump. But the President of USA is chosen by an indirect method. The candidate winning the popular votes bags all electoral votes in a state due to the principle of ‘Winner Takes All’.
What made Trump Win?
The victory of Donald J Trump on November 8 has come as a shocker to the majority. Nearly all national polls in last several months were showing Hillary Clinton as a winner. The media particularly CNN was unjustifiably harsh and mocking on Trump. Liberal media kept ridiculing Trump and never gave him a chance.
But the 70 years old multi billionaire businessperson‘stunned’ ( a term used by CNN) the poll pundits and won the elections.
The reason is very clear: Silent White middle class voter voted decidedly in favor of Mr. Trump. And there are reasons behind it. The 2016 Presidential election was characterized by heightened resonance of alienation, bigotry, and divide to a level of persecution. 3 communities kept persecuting Mr. Trump with a level of disdain and ridicule that was beyond logic.
Mr. Trump during his campaigning carried a sustained abrasive attack on illegal immigration. But this was projected by media and Clinton campaign as a voice against Latinos. It is more than clear that Trump was not against legal immigrants, but Latino voters kept feeding themselves on the impression that Trump could not be a choice for them. This is evident from the fact that 65 % Hispanic voters voted for Hillary Clinton.
Same goes for Black voters. African Americans constitute 8 % of all voters and this time 88 % of them voted for Hillary Clinton. Naturally, Blacks also took Trump as a white supremacist and treated him like a pariah. Trump was earnest enough when he reached out to them by saying that he would work with them, removing poverty in inner-city areas and bringing education and jobs to them, but the Blacks continued to carry the stereotypes.
Similarly, Muslim communities –although insignificant in terms of votes- made loud noises about Trump to a level of persecution. While Trump did not mince words about Islamic Terrorism, literally all Muslims in USA took it upon themselves as a personal assault.
The persecutory opposition to Trump meant that those who wanted to support him did not feel encouraged to openly support him fearing ridicule and mocking. But obviously,there were many! As the results now show, 58 % White voters voted for Trump- majority of them being middle class whites. They proved to be Mr. Trump’s trump card! Trump’s slogan ‘Make America Great Again’ appealed most convincingly to the blue collared white middle class males. Over last 40 years, USA has lost manufacturing jobs to China and other countries and most affected by this are middle class whites. Trump’s clarion call to bring back jobs to USA played out well.
If we look back at the protracted campaigns, Trump’s election campaign is marked by 2 things: unconventional approach and playing with straight bat.
Trump consciously kept his campaign simple and not highly organized. His insistence on connecting with his voters directly via rallies and Twitter paid him well.
Trump was also successful in highlighting Hillary Clinton as a corrupt and elite, who could go to any extent to serve her own interests. Trump was able to highlight her as a corrupt politician.
Why Media went wrong about Trump:
US’s media is typically divided between conservative and liberal media. Both play out their biases to suit their agenda. Naturally, liberal media kept dismissing Trump as a white supremacist, bigoted and fascist. The biases of Hispanic, Blacks, and Muslims acted as a fodder to accentuate these perceptions. In this cacophony, the media hugely missed out the anger of a silent white middle class.
And as Allan Lichtman- a professor of History at American University in Doha, Qatar- says: Prediction Polls and Pundit-driven analyses unfortunately are not based upon scientific evidence. Prediction polls do not ‘predict’ scientifically’. Lichtman –based upon 13 historical point prediction model- had predicted that Trump would win this time. And he has proven right!