Commentary: Blame It On The…

Voters Point Fingers as Trump Becomes President

By: Steven Morris

On November 8, 2016, Donald Trump was voted in as the 45th president of the United States, which sent a shockwave through the country and even the world, as Hillary Clinton was almost unanimously predicted to win.

Trump’s win was seemingly the biggest upset in American political history.

The election of Trump had a huge impact on the people of the United States and world markets. As election night was progressing, the markets around the world were digressing.

The Dow Jones Industrial Futures’ was down almost 800 points, and markets around the world, such as Japan and England, were slipping in reaction to Trump’s lead over Clinton.

As the electorate who voted for Trump were joyous that their candidate was elected, there were also a lot of people that were surprised and scared.

Controversial events such as this lead people to point fingers and blame others for the outcome; it’s human nature. As expected, those who did not vote for Trump looked to rationalize the outcome of the election and understand how Trump became president.

Through it all, there were three groups of people that were focused on in the blame game.

Those three groups include the people who voted for third party candidates, such as Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, the surge of the white working class population, who propelled Trump to becoming president, and the Democratic Party.

Let’s start with the blame that the voters of Gary Johnson and Jill Stein have been receiving.

The theory that third-party candidates can alter an election stems from the 2000 presidential election between George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore. The third-candidate in this election was Senator Ralph Nader, an independent.

Infamously, the 2000 election was a controversial one as George W. Bush won the Electoral vote, but lost the popular vote. Back then, people blamed Ralph Nader for running, thinking that if he hadn’t run, Al Gore would have been elected president.

This same thinking is being applied to candidates’ Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, but is not accurate.

For example, nationally, Gary Johnson won 3.3 percent of the vote and Jill Stein won 1.0 percent of the vote, which is a combined 4.3 percent.

Theoretically, this combined total could have flipped a few states such as Michigan and Wisconsin. However, as the Washington Post concluded, this wouldn’t have been enough to win the election. Ultimately, the nation chose between Trump and Clinton.

The second group that has been blamed is the non-college educated white working class population, which election models dramatically underestimated.

The reason for this underestimation was an effect of the 2012 election. In this election, President Obama had the lowest turn-out of white voters without a degree since Walter Mondale. The 2012 election showed that this population only accounted for one-third of the electorate.

Because of this representation, the forecast models of the 2016 election built this representation into the models, which forecasted an almost certain win for Clinton. However, as election night went on, the models were starting to shift towards Trump because of the unexpected turnout of the white working class population.

Lastly, there is the blame that the Democratic Party has received.

Yes, the Democratic Party has received its fair share of blame, but what are the reasons for this?

First, this blame could be because of the DNC email Wikileaks, which showed that the leadership of the DNC, such as former chair Debbie Weisermann-Shultz, were actively sabotaging the Sanders’ campaign to make Clinton the nominee.

Second, did the Democratic Party choose the right candidate? During the primaries, there were polls that had theoretical match-ups between candidates in the Democratic Primary and Republican Primary.

In those polls, Senator Sanders’ out-performed Secretary Clinton in a head-to-head match-up with Trump. Also during the Primaries, almost 80 percent of voters, ages 18-25, supported Sanders over Clinton.

The same white working class population that helped Trump become elected did not vote for Clinton in the Primaries either. During the Primaries, they supported Sanders over Clinton.

Lastly, the Democratic Party is blamed for its voter turnout. Based on the latest data from electproject.org, around 58.3 percent of eligible voters participated in this election, a slight decrease from 58.6 percent in the 2012 presidential election.

Even though there may be a small difference, Republican turnout increased while Democrat turnout didn’t budge, per data compiled by Douglas Rivers of YouGov.

Blame will continue to be hashed out, whether it’s on the news or on social media. One can blame all they want, but it won’t change what happened.

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