Blue-Collar, Rural Voters Give Presidency to Trump
“Politicians are all talk, no action. Nothing’s gonna get done. They will not bring us, believe me, to the promise land,” Donald Trump said in his 2015 speech announcing his run for president.
The message resonated. Although Trump was unable to win the popular vote, he’s claimed 276 electoral votes and is the victor in the run to be the nation’s 45th president. He’ll have with him a Republican-led House and Senate.
Much of Trump’s support came from Midwestern whites without a college education, and a smaller scale of that can be seen in Ohio. His appeal to the common industrial worker fueled his ability to take the majority of the swing states; on top of Ohio, constituents residing outside larger metropolitan areas in Iowa, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Florida were casting votes for Trump. At the same time, populations that aided Obama’s wins in 2008 and 2012 — minorities and millennials — were absent or unsupportive of this year’s Democratic candidate.
Enthusiasm seemed siphoned from the Democratic party and into the alternative Republican camp. Blue-collar workers, exhausted from the disappointment of elite presidential candidates, turned their backs on career politicians and familiar names like “Bush” and “Clinton” to a man who operated like a rogue, untouched by political correctness, promising to deliver the successes of the nation back to the middle class.
Trump’s campaign ran from there on that basic idea: politicians have failed this country; everything is in shambles.
His pessimism worked hard against the optimism Hillary Clinton’s campaign promoted after her win in the primaries. Trying hard to unify a party divided between herself and Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders, Clinton adopted much of Sanders’ platform, campaigning hard against income inequality and for human rights. Her campaign in numerous ways contrasted directly with Trump’s.
Where Trump found the need to make America great again, Clinton saw that America is already great, “because America is good.” Where Trump called for “law and order,” Clinton confronted racial biases in the criminal justice system, which disproportionately incarcerates people of color. Where Trump dismissed and disrespected women in his life and this country, Clinton gave those women hope that a commander-in-chief could some day look like them.
That hope shattered Tuesday as record numbers of middle-class, rural constituents cast their votes for Trump and minorities and millennials either failed to show or opted to vote third party.
In Ohio, the New York Times found that voters ages 18 to 29 “were 11 points less likely to support the Democratic candidate this year than in 2012, with Mr. Johnson and Ms. Stein capturing seven percent of their votes.”
“Black voters in Ohio were six points less likely to support Mrs. Clinton than they were to support Mr. Obama four years ago,” the Times continued.
Clinton won just seven Ohio counties (Franklin, Lucas, Cuyahoga, Summit, Mahoning, Athens, and Hamilton) compared to the 22 counties won by Barack Obama in 2008. In all of those counties except for Franklin and Hamilton, Democratic support showed multiple-point declines.
Clinton continued her message of unity in her concession speech today, urging people to keep an open mind and give Trump the chance to lead.
“I know how disappointed you feel, because I feel it too, and so do tens of millions of Americans who invested their hopes and dreams in this effort,” she said from the podium at NYC’s New Yorker Hotel’s Grand Ballroom. “This is painful, and it will be for a long time. Our campaign was never about one person or even one election — it was about the country we love and about building an America that’s hopeful, inclusive, and big hearted.”
Trump’s acceptance speech reiterated the concept of inclusiveness, namely between political parties, aiming to “bind the wounds of division.”
“To all Republicans and Democrats and Independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people,” he said.
Trump will take office on January 20, 2017.