Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Why Clinton Lost and the Post-Election Protests (Part I)

Clinton lost the election more so than Trump won the election because she won the battle of highly flawed candidates. Statistically reviewing Ohio, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Minnesota revealed some critical insight. Although Clinton’s margin of victory in major cities and suburbs was in line with 2012 or better, she still lost all of these states except Minnesota (she won MN by 1.5%). Overall, the turnout was down from 2012 and in rural areas Clinton’s vote was down and Trump’s vote was up in almost every county. We can conclude three things after running some basic correlation on the data: 1. Democratic (or left leaning independents) voters stayed at home 2. Democratic voters voted for Trump and or 3. Democratic voters voted for a third party candidate. It was probably a combination of all three of these things. Florida was a bit different than the Rust Belt states because voter turnout was up. But we can still conclude Democrats or left leaning independents were more likely to vote for Trump or a Third Party candidate (higher correlation). We can conclude that Republicans did a better job getting their electorate out to vote or that Clinton’s Get Out to Vote (GOTV) effort energized more Trump supporters since Trump did much better than Romney with minorities and people of faith. One poll estimates that Clinton’s GOTV energized up to 15% of Trump supporters (remember the 2016 electorate looked a lot different than 2012 but Clinton used the same models to identify potential voters). And finally, Clinton had a three to one money advantage and an army of people at her command. Yet, she was outspent in Wisconsin and Minnesota by Trump. In fact, she never visited these states in her campaign. Clinton did not lose Minnesota, but it close. These were huge missteps by the Clinton campaign. There was no excuse to get outflanked by Trump in battleground states.

Trump not only had to overcome a money disadvantage but he also had to overcome a battle with establishment Republicans to win. Clinton also had the advantage of having a popular president campaign on her behalf to save his legacy. However, he was repudiated. It is my belief that people confuse approval ratings with likeability. People may personally like Obama but they really do not approve of his agenda. For instance, the popular Joe Biden campaigned for Hillary non-stop in Scranton PA, yet Clinton lost 10 points in Lackawanna County from how Obama performed in 2012. Obama has been the gift that keeps giving to the Republican Party. Democrats now have their lowest representation in federal and state governments since the Civil War.

How stunning was this victory. Trump could have lost Florida and he still would have won the election. Nobody predicted that. Yet, as stunning as Trump’s victory was, I am convinced that any other Republican candidate could have fared just as well if not better than Trump. House Republicans won the national vote by nearly 3 million votes (Despite House Generic polls showing Democrats up by 3 to 4 points) which was about 3.5 million votes better than Trump. And Trump underperformed most Republicans in Senate races in many key battleground states he narrowly won: Arizona, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Georgia, New Hampshire, and Wisconsin. Let’s face facts, Trump was a bad candidate, but Clinton was worse.

Over 25% of Clinton supporters had as one of their top two reasons to vote for her was because she was a woman. Quite frankly, discrimination or sexism is not a very good reason to vote for anyone. I do not understand how voting for someone because they are women is any better than Trump remarking on a woman’s looks. They are both sexist and have no place in our culture. The converse is also true, voting against someone merely because they are women is equally wrong. If discrimination or sexism accounted for a big reason why over 15 million people voted for Clinton, then she really did not have much to offer the American public in terms of policy after 30 abysmal years in public service and politics. And for the struggling people of Florida and Rust Belt states, voting based on prejudice, sexism, and discrimination were obviously not an option.

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