Understanding the Trump Victory

If you’re like me, you were pretty shocked to see Donald Trump emerge as the US president-elect. Has there ever been a bigger WTF moment? But if you were paying closer attention, maybe it didn’t come as such a surprise.

Whoops.

Progressives might recall the excitement generated by Bernie Sanders (who was screwed in the Democratic primary, and possibly could have beat Trump). The Independent senator called out the corporate class and demanded integrity for ordinary citizens in clear, direct terms. Such passionate language is a panacea for citizens that have been largely forgotten in the continued age of Reagan’s neoliberalism, typified by Bernie on the left, and after the Tea Party, Trump on the right.

I must dispel a myth: Half the country is crazy. Half the country are racists, sexists, gun fetishists and religious extremists who have united to “Make America Great Again”. This energized block of conservative voters — similar in anger to Bernie supporters, but bigoted — won this election for Trump. This is not the case. While bigots are certainly emboldened by Trump’s victory, this narrative has many holes. To start with, Trump received *fewer votes* than Republicans that ran before him. He may have been louder, but was not actually stronger as a candidate. (This should surprise no one — his campaign was a catastrophe.) Many conservatives (especially evangelicals) had their own hashtag: #NeverTrump. And only 18.3% of America voted for him. Not even 1/5th of the country. So let’s keep this in mind.

This outcome is really due to a lack of support for Hillary from the left. Her status as a career politician simply didn’t resonate with voters. Let’s compare the numbers to previous elections: