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The Numbers Show Trump Voters Are NOT All Racists and Sexists

Monday, November 14, 2016 14:11
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Clinton supporters frequently assume that Trump supporters are all racists and sexists.

But a higher percentage of Hispanics voted for Trump than voted for Mitt Romney or Bob Dole in previous elections. As USA Today notes:

But that margin [of Clinton’s share of the Hispanic vote], based on exit polling conducted by Edison Research, was smaller than the 71%-27% split that President Obama won in 2012. And it was smaller than the 72%-21% her husband, former president Bill Clinton, won in 1996.

And quite a few individual voters and counties that voted for Obama – once, or even twice – voted for Trump.  And see this.

And quite a few men who hate Clinton would vote for a woman who wasn’t so firmly in the pocket of the establishment.

Lambert Strether – who is extremely knowledgeable about political horseraces – points out:

Talking Point: Clinton was Defeated by Racism

Here’s a headline showing the talking point from a Vox explainer:

Trump’s win is a reminder of the incredible, unbeatable power of racism

The subtext here is usually that if you don’t chime in with vehement agreement, you’re a racist yourself, and possibly a racist Trump supporter. There are two reasons this talking point is false.

First, voter caring levels dropped from 2012 to 2016, especially among black Democrats. Carl Beijer:

From 2012 to 2016, both men and women went from caring about the outcome to not caring. Among Democratic men and women, as well as Republican women, care levels dropped about 3-4 points; Republican men cared a little less too, but only by one point. Across the board, in any case, the plurality of voters simply didn’t care.

Beijer includes the following chart (based on Edison exit polling cross-referenced with total population numbers from the US Census):


Beijer interprets:

White voters cared even less in 2016 then in 2012, when they also didn’t care; most of that apathy came from white Republicans compared to white Democrats, who dropped off a little less. Voters of color, in contrast, continued to care – but their care levels dropped even more, by 8 points (compared to the 6 point drop-off among white voters). Incredibly, that drop was driven entirely by a 9 point drop among Democratic voters of color which left Democrats with only slim majority 51% support; Republicans, meanwhile, actually gained support among people of color.

Beijer’s data is born out by anecdote from Milwaukee, Wisconsin:

Urban areas, where black and Hispanic voters are concentrated along with college-educated voters, already leaned toward the Democrats, but Clinton did not get the turnout from these groups that she needed. For instance, black voters did not show up in the same numbers they did for Barack Obama, the first black president, in 2008 and 2012.

Remember, Trump won Wisconsin by a whisker. So for this talking point to be true, we have to believe that black voters stayed home because they were racist, costing Clinton Wisconsin.

Second, counties that voted for Obama in 2012 voted for Trump in 2016. The Washington Post:

These former Obama strongholds sealed the election for Trump

Of the nearly 700 counties that twice sent Obama to the White House, a stunning one-third flipped to support Trump.

The Obama-Trump counties were critical in delivering electoral victories for Trump. Many of them fall in states that supported Obama in 2012, but Trump in 2016. In all, these flipped states accounted for 83 electoral votes. (Michigan and New Hampshire could add to this total, but their results were not finalized as of 4 p.m. Wednesday.)

Here’s the chart:


And so, for this talking point to be true, we have to believe that counties who voted for the black man in 2012 were racist because they didn’t vote for the white women in 2016. Bringing me, I suppose, to sexism.

Talking Point: Clinton was Defeated by Sexism

Here’s an article showing the talking point from Newsweek:

This often vitriolic campaign was a national referendum on women and power.

(The subtext here is usually that if you don’t join the consensus cluster, you’re a sexist yourself, and possibly a sexist Trump supporter). And if you only look at the averages this claim might seem true:

On Election Day, women responded accordingly, as Clinton beat Trump among women 54 percent to 42 percent. They were voting not so much for her as against him and what he brought to the surface during his campaign: quotidian misogyny.

There are two reasons this talking point is not true. First, averages conceal, and what they conceal is class. As you read further into the article, you can see it fall apart:

In fact, Trump beat Clinton among white women 53 percent to 43 percent, with white women without college degrees going for [Trump] two to one.

So, taking lack of a college degree as a proxy for being working class, for Newsweek’s claim to be true, you have to believe that working class women don’t get a vote in their referendum, and for the talking point to be true, you have to believe that working class women are sexist. Which leads me to ask: Who died and left the bourgeois feminists in Clinton’s base in charge of the definition of sexism, or feminism? Class traitor Tina Brown is worth repeating:

Here’s my own beef. Liberal feminists, young and old, need to question the role they played in Hillary’s demise. The two weeks of media hyperventilation over grab-her-by-the-pussygate, when the airwaves were saturated with aghast liberal women equating Trump’s gross comments with sexual assault, had the opposite effect on multiple women voters in the Heartland.

These are resilient women, often working two or three jobs, for whom boorish men are an occasional occupational hazard, not an existential threat. They rolled their eyes over Trump’s unmitigated coarseness, but still bought into his spiel that he’d be the greatest job producer who ever lived. Oh, and they wondered why his behaviour was any worse than Bill’s.

Missing this pragmatic response by so many women was another mistake of Robbie Mook’s campaign data nerds. They computed that America’s women would all be as outraged as the ones they came home to at night. But pink slips have hit entire neighbourhoods, and towns. The angry white working class men who voted in such strength for Trump do not live in an emotional vacuum. They are loved by white working class women – their wives, daughters, sisters and mothers, who participate in their remaindered pain. It is everywhere in the interviews. “My dad lost his business”, “My husband hasn’t been the same since his job at the factory went away”.

Second, Clinton in 2016 did no better than Obama in 2008 with women (although she did better than Obama in 2012). From the New York Times analysis of the exit polls, this chart:


So, for this talking point to be true, you have to believe that sexism simultaneously increased the male vote for Trump, yet did not increase the female vote for Clinton. Shouldn’t they move in opposite directions?


The Numbers Show Trump Voters Are NOT All Racists and Sexists was originally published on Washington’s Blog


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