You’re going to see this a lot from me today, so let me just confess this right now: I was wrong about Trump. No, I was very wrong about our next president, but I’m so glad that Hillary Clinton is not going to be our next president, and that this family’s chapter on American politics is now closed. Last night was a shocking upset, mostly due to a few uncertain factors, specifically the hidden Trump vote that existed and turned out big league for the billionaire. As some Democrats, like Democratic strategist Paul Begala warned, Trump has a path to the presidency if he’s able to ride the Rust Belt; areas where the electorate (33 percent) is chock full of non-college educated white working class voters. These voters stuck with Obama more or less in 2012. So, lets go down the states that Trump won that Romney was unable to clinch in the last election and the states that Clinton lost, which went handily for Obama. Van Jones also warned that progressives had dumb reasons for why Trump would lose in May, specifically noting that the Rust Belt is hanging by a thread for Democrats. He later called this election a “whitelash,” despite the 2016 electorate being a mirror image of the 2012 one, but we’ll get to that briefly in a second.
There are quite a few of them.
Trump took a sledgehammer to Obama and the Democrats’ Blue Wall:
Trump won Pennsylvania, Wisconsin (first time it’s gone GOP since 1984), Ohio, and is most likely Michigan.
In 2012, Romney lost Wisconsin 53/46 to Obama; Trump won it 47/46.
Pennsylvania went for Obama over Romney 52/47; Trump reclaimed for the GOP for the first time since 1988 in a 48/47 win over Clinton. Ohio went for Obama in 2012 50/48. It went big league for Trump 52/43. Yes, Trump lost the key counties of Hamilton and Cuyahoga County, but he made up for it in the various rural counties, running up the score there that Romney failed to do in 2012.
We’re still waiting on Michigan, but all the precincts are in and Trump is a little over 12,000 votes ahead. If he wins, it’ll be a squeaker 47.6/47.3.
Moving down south, Trump was able to win Florida 49/47 over Clinton; a state that eluded Romney four years ago in a 50/49 loss to Obama. Trump won Pinellas County, which Romney lost in 2012 that offset Clinton’s gains in neighboring Hillsborough County, which accounted for half of Romney’s vote deficit and he lost it by six points overall (McCain lost it by seven in 2008). You can read more about this in Ed Morrissey’s book Going Red.
Out west, in Iowa, the state pretty much flipped from its 2012 designation. Obama won 52/46; Trump clinched it 51/42 over Clinton.
So, in the end, Trump was able to bring five to six states, some of which were reliably Democratic states, into the GOP column. Also, on the demographic front, Trump did get one point less than Romney in the white vote, but turnout among Hispanic and Black voters dipped, and Trump was able to get a point or two better among non-whites.
In all, Trump out-performed Romney, was able to tap into the white working class that dominates the rural regions, and expand the map, which everyone missed. Make sure to read Cortney’s post on increased Hispanic turnout. Also, don’t forget Guy’s analysis.