Posted by: Valentin Berceanu | November 12, 2016

20161112 – Looking back at the numbers…

This past summer, right after the Democratic convention I had planned an article intended to prepare the faint of heart for the likelihood of a Trump presidency and to illustrate that it might not be that far fetched. My reasoning wasn’t at all political or based on polling, but on some simple maths with some common sense mixed in (I thought). Before actually crafting the article I was discouraged by the echo chamber I would have to launch it in. No one seemed to even entertain the possibility that Trump might actually become president. No one!

Here’s the short run of that reasoning. I started from the 2012 electoral college outcome which was this:


And noticed that all Trump had to do was to flip Florida (was a marginal win for Obama in 2012, and as recently as 2004 had voted republican), then flip New Jersey (I thought since the Governor of New Jersey was one of the first people who jumped on the Trump Train this wouldn’t be impossible), flip Ohio (republican governor, running late in the primaries, heightened interest, I was also banking on Kasich endorsing Trump ultimately, which never ended up happening) and that would put Trump’s total at 267. All he would need is to flip 3 more EC votes his way and he’d be president. And after looking long and hard at Rhode Island, at New Hampshire, at Iowa and at Nevada I settled on Nevada. That would have made the EC map look like this:


Turns out Trump had a larger plan in mind, but I was half right about the above. He did flip Florida and Ohio, he didn’t flip New Jersey ( lost by over 12 points) and he didn’t manage to flip Nevada (but it was close, lost by 2.73 points). We all know by now what states Trump won and how he got to the 306 EC votes he’s standing on, but what’s the real story behind this election? Did Trump really win or did Hillary blow it?

I’ve seen a lot of media spin and propaganda with regards to the demographic split of the vote: white racism, men, old people, low information voters are all supposedly to blame for Trump’s win. You know who’s conspicuously missing from that list? Hillary. I’ll get back to that point, but first I need to refute one of the 4 categories outright. You don’t get to complain about “low information voters” voting for the other guy when the entire Mass Media has colluded with the DNC to help Hillary as much as possible. If you got your info from the mainstream media alone, this election season, you WERE a low information voter.

What really happened in this election? To answer that question I decided to compare VOTE for VOTE, Trump vs Romney and Clinton vs Obama. To do that I collected the demographic data available at the wiki pages for the 2012 and 2016 elections and converted them into rounded (integer) people. Some interesting conclusions present themselves.


With regards to Ideology, Clinton actually won more liberals than Obama in 2012 but both candidates lost a shitload of moderates (over 1 million people for Trump and over 3.39 million people for Clinton). In fact, Trump has bled voters in all categories from Romney’s voters, but Clinton simply lost more (get ready, this will be a theme from here on out).


The cross party lines voting was almost a trade-off. Clinton won about half a million republicans more than Obama while Trump won over about 850,000 democrats more than Romney. But the thing to look at is the number of their party people both candidates lost. Trump lost about 75,000 of Romney’s republicans, while Clinton lost over 2.57 million of Obama democrats. One thing I’d like to point out (before anyone starts calling for Gary Johnson’s head) is that the third party candidates in 2012 were: Gary Johnson and Jill Stein. This is another proof of Clinton simply losing democrat votes, votes that went to Obama in 2012. I’m not suggesting that she was the lone factor in losing these votes, surely the failed Obamacare, the DNC machinations and the media bias all had something to do with it.


This is one of the important tables because it directly contradicts the narrative that traditionalist backward America voted Trump in. Or that sexist men voted Trump in. Or that married women who are “under their husband’s foot” voted Trump in. Look at the numbers. Trump gained 1.2 million votes over Romney from men. Hillary lost 1.3 million women votes from Obama. Trump lost 1.86 million women votes and Hillary lost 1.87 million votes (this last one is a trade-off). It would seem from this that men voted Trump into power, and while I’m sure that this is correct, you can’t at least stop and think for a second that Hillary lost votes (compared to Obama) from both sexes. The feminist candidate took 1.3 million women votes less than Obama in 2012. She made it about gender, failed to capitalise on it with the women vote, and then complained that men flocked to the other candidate. Even when I normalised the sample to account for the less voters in this election compared to 2012 Clinton still underperformed Obama by more than 716.000 women votes. Face it, people, the feminist candidate was a hard sell to women. Another thing to note when breaking down by sex and marital status is that Trump posted big losses vs Romney with married people (traditionalists) his boon coming from the unmarried men and women with which he scored better, while Hillary bled votes in all categories EXCEPT for married women where she got over half a million votes more than Obama. Take that narrative and stick it in the paper shredder.


Second narrative that gets shattered is: Trump won on the back of the white vote. Look at the numbers again. Trump lost over 2.38 million white votes that Romney won, but he outperformed Romney with every other racial/ethnic group. Clinton on the other hand (and this was also remarked on by Obama, when they got the early voting returns) LOST 1.94 million black votes. Mind you, these didn’t go to Trump (he only gained 228,249 votes from Romney’s total black votes). Blacks didn’t want to vote for Hillary in the same numbers as for Obama in 2012 and that is a significant reason why Hillary lost the presidency.


Third narrative that gets shattered is: Trump won on the back of retirees. Historically younger people vote democrat and then it begins to even out after 30 while the last 2-3 age brackets are predominantly republican. But retired 65+ saw Trumps biggest loss of Romney voters (1.2 million). It’s those who are looking at retirement that Trump seems to have convinced, up 1.6 million from Romney’s total. But the things to focus in this bracked is Clinton’s loss of support in the 40-49 bracket (1.09 million), the overall loss of new (young) voters (18-24 bracket) – Trump down more than 580,000 votes, Clinton down more than 1.26 million votes. Also we see Trump connecting more with the 25-29 voter base, up more than 595,000 votes and while it does appear Clinton underperformed a little with this bracket, when normalised for 2012 participation she actually outperformed Obama by a small margin.


But here is perhaps the most significant reason why Hillary lost the elections. First of all let’s dismiss the idea that Trump somehow won because of the rich vote. All the top categories show Hillary outperforming Obama by significantly larger numbers than Trump outperforming Romney. If anything there was a swing in favour of the democrats among the “privileged rich”. One thing to keep in mind when reading the above is that it’s looking at family income. The average wage in the US was in 2015 a little over 48k annually ( so a two income family where both people are on the average wage would fall into the 50k-99k interval. Hillary Clinton lost over 2.89 million votes from the 30k-49k bracket and over 4.55 million votes from the under 30k bracket. Eight years of Democratic policy combined with Hillary Clinton as a democratic nominee have convinced over 7 million democrat voters who voted for Obama in 2012 to not vote. They didn’t flock in mass to Trump (enticed by his populist speech), Trump posted losses over Romney in these brackets as well. There’s your explanation: Clinton lost because the poor vote that traditionally lines up democrat decided to stay home or go third party and since the third party candidates were the same in 2012, we can pin this movement squarely and entirely on the democrat party, their policy and their candidate.


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