Secretary Hillary Clinton no doubt watched the election results with horror, as the pundits had begun to call the crucial rust-belt states of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan for her opponent, now President-Elect Donald Trump. The polls, analysts, and establishment politicians had all predicted wrong, and a populist, borderline nationalist, is now the leader of the United States. Why did this unlikely result, in the minds of pundits at least, come to be? The answer is similar to the analysis we wrote previously explaining how Donald Trump was able to win this election. It is a backlash against the current world order, of free-flowing immigration, trade, and capital.
The Rust Belt
The states that put Mr. Trump over the top, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan, all have one thing in common. They are part of the large, somewhat forgotten sector of the American economy, the manufacturing Rust Belt states. No doubt Donald Trump’s message of ripping up trade deals, and the promise of returning American manufacturing back to these forgotten areas resonated with many, however misguided those promises may have been. While at the same time, Hillary Clinton’s message was ineffective and relied on patience, which is a virtue many in the Rust-Belt, understandably, might not have in the current state of American manufacturing.
First, she adamantly claimed her opposition to the Tran-Pacific Partnership (TPP), though she had defended it in earlier days as a member of the Obama Administration and had stated it as being the ‘gold standard’ of trade deals. To many in the rust belt, this answer clearly was not sufficient as many of these manufacture workers wrongly point to trade deals as the reason for a loss in American manufacturing. Nevertheless, Donald Trump’s message of ending trade talks and cutting up current free trade agreements seemed to resonate with several in this area of the country.
Second, Hillary Clinton’s solution to the loss of American manufacturing, job training did not have the same effect as the immediate solution of ripping up trade deals that Donald Trump was able to ingrain into the minds of white working-class America. The message Hillary Clinton was trying to convey, that job-training is the answer, did not inspire enthusiasm. It is not an immediate solution to a problem, unlike the one offered by Donald Trump.
Low Voter Turnout
As reported by many news outlets, Secretary Clinton was also the victim of low-voter turnout in important voting demographics, without which she could not have hoped to win the rust belt states. Low voter turnout in the Latino community, the Black community, and with young voters was considerably lower than it was in 2012 when President Obama ran against Mitt Romney.
The disparity between the white working class along with low voter turnout in the major demographics was a perfect storm that Hillary Clinton could not overcome. This is a sure sign that not only did Hillary Clinton have a lack of support from the working-class, but the Democratic party as a whole does as well. It is a prominent issue that Democratic leadership must address if they want to win the public opinion game in the numerous fights that inevitably will follow a Donald Trump presidency.