MYTHS AND MISSIVES ABOUT THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION WITH 2020 PREDICTIONS
MYTHS AND MISSIVES
1. Democrats Must Dramatically Change Their Approach to Electoral Politics
Let’s immediately call “bullshit” on this one. HRC won the popular vote by almost 3 million votes. DJT won the presidency because of the quirky, antiquated Electoral College. A change of as little as 80,000 votes in the right places, out of 139 million votes (about 0.06%) would have elected HRC.
All those in-depth looks at which groups voted how is just so much eye-wash. Yes, HRC lost among less educated whites and won a lower percentage of blacks than Obama. Again, it was less than 80,000 votes in very limited geographic areas that made the difference. Navel-gazing at the entirety of the American electorate is just done because that is what people always do. In this election, it is relatively meaningless http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/11/09/behind-trumps-victory-divisions-by-race-gender-education/
- Democrats Must Woo Trump Voters to Win in the Future
Let’s forget about wooing real die-hard Trump voters back into the fold. They will never vote for a Democrat. They may not even vote for a Republican in the next election, if he is less of a nut job than Trump. The core Trump voter is someone who distrusts all governmental institutions and feels both ignored and alienated. They liked DJT’s rebelliousness and “screw the elites” attitude. They really didn’t care too much about what he would or wouldn’t do for them.
3. Democrats Must Woo Moderate Republicans to Win in the Future
We will not do any better with moderate Republicans. Since “moderate” as well as conservative Rs voted for DJT, that means moderate Republicans would basically be willing to vote for their friend’s dog who always humps their leg when it sees them ― as long as it is running as a Republican. Remember, these are the folks that polls now indicate feel that DJT is doing a great job.
- What About All Those Obama Voters Who Voted for Trump
One of the more mysterious aspects of 2016 is the issue of how many Obama voters voted for Trump. http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/political_commentary/commentary_by_geoffrey_skelley/just_how_many_obama_2012_trump_2016_voters_were_there
Yes, some folks voted for Obama in 2008, 2012, or 2008 and 2012 and then voted for Trump in 2016. Post-election analyses indicate that roughly 6 to 9 million voters went for Obama at some point to Trump in 2016. The three estimates discussed in the Rasmussen article noted above ranged from 11 to 15 percent of Obama voters.
However, these figures should be taken with some good measure of skepticism. Such numbers are quite slippery because of the proven tendency of people to say they voted for a winner. For example, Obama won in 2012 with 51% of the vote, but 58% of poll respondents said they voted for Obama [American National Election Study].
So, let’s take the middle value for the percentage of Obama to Trump switchers from the three surveys reviewed in the Rasmussen article (13%) and reduce that by the 7 percent of folks (58%-51%) with faulty recall about their previous “Obama” vote. We then get roughly 6% of Obama voters who voted for Trump.
But, we also have 4 percent of Romney voters (if you voted for a loser you are more likely to be accurate) who voted for HRC. So, HRC seems to have (best guess) lost 6 percent of Obama voters and gained 4 percent of Romney voters, and she won by almost 3 million votes.
The only way that “switchers” make any difference in future elections is if most of those them are in battleground states. Unfortunately, the 2012 to 2016 data do imply that most of those switchers were in upper midwestern or rust belt states, which have traditionally been Democratic in presidential politics. It seems that the traditional definition of battleground states may need to change, which means campaign strategies need to change.
[Personal Note: I still (no matter what the numbers) wonder how the hell people could vote for Obama and then vote for Trump. What were (are) those people thinking, if anything? Talk about thesis/antithesis. Could the differences between these two men have been any clearer?]
- Jill Stein of the Green Party Was the Reason HRC Lost
Third-Party candidates pulled in about 6 million votes in 2016. Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson garnered 4,442,771 votes (3.3% of total), while Jill Stein of the Green Party pulled in 1,420,351 votes (1.1% of total vote). http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/308353-trump-won-by-smaller-margin-than-stein-votes-in-all-three
That is all very interesting, but the hullabaloo is all about two or three states. In Michigan, Trump defeated Democrat HRC by 10,704 votes, while Stein got 51,463 votes. in Wisconsin, DJT’s margin was 22,177, while Stein received 31,006 votes. If some good measure of Stein’s vote had gone to HRC in those two states, then Trump would have lost 26 electoral votes. He would have had only 276 Electoral College votes. But, all you need is 270, so “eh!”
Also, third-part voters are notoriously unpredictable. A third-party vote is almost always a protest vote. Although most of Stein’s voters surely abhorred DJT, there is no convincing evidence that they would have come out for HRC. For most third-party voters, the Rs and Ds are usually seen as “tweedledee and tweedledum” or “six of one or a half dozen of the other.”
- Black Voter Turnout in 2016 Was HRC’s Problem
The US has about 239 million voting age individuals in the USA. Just over 60% of the voting-eligible population, voted in November. In 2012, 59% of eligible voters went to the polls, but in 2008 just over 62% turned to vote. https://www.dailydot.com/layer8/voter-turnout-2016/
Some analysts focus heavily on changes in the racial/ethnic composition of the electorate from 2012 to 2016.
“Among minority groups, black Americans showed the sharpest decline in voter turnout– 7.1 percent since 2012. At 59.6 percent, it was the lowest black turnout rate since 2000. This is notable because 2012 was the first year since records were kept that black turnout eclipsed white turnout nationally. The 2016 black turnout rate lies nearly six points behind that of the white turnout rate.”
That is all national data, but we and the author (Frey) know that presidential voting is really a state matter. So, the article addresses this issue.
“Even though there was a downturn in black Democratic support in 2016, Hillary Clinton still won the popular vote with the help of all minority groups. It was the Electoral College that elected Donald Trump—who squeezed out close votes in six states: four in the industrial North (Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin) and two in the fast-growing South (North Carolina and Florida). Although Trump’s win in each of these states can be chalked up to the vote advantages he received among white Americans who showed up on Election Day, this was amplified by the improved turnout of white Americans compared with black Americans.”
But, as the author notes, the white voting age population dwarfs the black voting age population, and white voter turnout increased in 2016.
Using a number online sources, I looked at Florida, North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. In three of these five states (FL, NC, and WI), even if black voter turnout had not changed from 2012, the increase in white voter turnout would have still given the state to DJT. However, in the very tight races in Pennsylvania and Michigan, the slightly greater than 12% decrease in black voting from 2012 did seem to mark those 27 Electoral College votes for DJT. So, again, it is not national trends that tell the tale. It is the facts about specific states that give us a better picture of what happened in 2016.
- TRUMP WILL NOT LAST FOUR YEARS
Seriously, there is going to have to be photos of him holding a smoking gun with the dead bodies of multiple, major Republican contributors strewn across the carpet in the Oval Office before congressional Republicans will give up DJT ― who for them, like a sexually transmitted disease is “the gift that keeps on giving.”
And, even though he really hates the job, he will not quit because that would have some people put him in the category of “loser,” which he would find intolerable.
Paul Krugman had a very clever essay where he discussed the congressional Republican’s glee at their ability to have DJT (the President) support what Krugman called “zombie” and “vampire” policies. Zombie policies are those like trickle-down economics, which will be a rationalization for their revisions to the tax code, that you thought you had killed long ago but have been brought back to life in this Congress. Vampire policies are those, like the Republican health care plans, that only have a chance of being passed if they are never exposed to the light of day.
- PREDICTIONS FOR 2020
DJT will not run in 2020. He will declare a tremendous victory for the American people and go back to pursuing his business interests from someplace other than the White House. For DJT, politics is just too much trouble, though he does like those rallies where he can bask in the fevered glow of enthusiastic support. But, he can still have some of those as an ex-president.
Mike Pence will be the R’s nominee in 2020. He is already building support among heavy-hitting Republican supporters. He will not do much to energize the Trump or Tea Party wing of the party, but traditional Republicans will heave a sigh of relief and pony up serious cash. Also, he could win over some of the right-wing nuts by picking someone like Ted Cruz as a running mate.
So, Pence might be vulnerable in 2020, but that means the Ds will have to find an attractive candidate. Who that might be is extraordinarily unclear.
Sanders and Biden would have age issues in a campaign. Also, Biden’s social gaffs as VP might make good fodder for any opponent. Making someone seem silly is worse than making them seem threatening. Sanders would have to win over moderate Dems, which he really seems to be making no effort to do.
Elizabeth Warren has gotten some national recognition. She is charismatic, but it is not clear whether she really wants to be president. Also, her version of Clinton’s email buzz that followed her through the campaign, might be Warren’s “Pocahontas” moment. But, that line of attack did not help her opponent in her Senate race, so it may not really be an issue. She excites the progressive wing of the party, but she (like Sanders) gives moderates a bad case of hives.
The opposite can be said of Sen Cory Booker, the black senator from NJ. Moderates love him, but many progressives wonder if he is too centrist. Also, though black, it is unclear that he could recapitulate Obama’s 2012 victory with its high turnout among minorities. He doesn’t really seem to be the charismatic figure that Obama was and still is.