As an after-the-fact, this musing may not count as much. Although I have predicted this outcome earlier this year, I did not put my thoughts into writing because I was too much of a chicken to declare an early victory to the right. I’m just going to call it my analysis for this surprising-yet-very-much-predictable outcome.
I may not be the best political scientist out there, but I have an intrinsic understanding of human nature. The first reason I called a Trump presidency earlier this year is because, as shallow as it may sound, I believe that middle-class men are not going to vote for Mrs. Clinton. We just live in that kind of world–a misogynistic one–no matter how much we would like to sweep that fact under the rug. No man, with his ego intact, want to see a woman leading him. If he is not a proud political liberal, there is no reason for him to go out of his way to vote for Clinton. It does not mean he is going to vote for Trump either, but he won’t vote for Clinton. And we need to remember that Obama’s success, especially in 2008, was very much due to an unprecedented turnout.
Speaking of Trump, while he is definitely a divisive figure, you have to remember what that really means. It means that for every American who thinks of him as a crude representation of the country, there will be another person who trusts and adores him, not because of his policies, but because of who he is in the public eye. Middle Americans who do not have the time nor capability to go through the intricacies of politics just want to vote for someone, anyone, with the personality to match a leader of a great nation. All he needs to do is to portray confidence and those with a TV set with no tertiary education will take that as a cue that he knows what he’s doing.
Next is the economy. Poll after poll shows that the economy is the main concern of voters. While the official statistic may portray a recovering America, the perception is that it is not enough. People want more jobs, better trade deals and stability of income. Here’s the irony: unemployment level has actually gone down in the past six years. It’s an irony because unemployment has always been a reliable indicator in an election year. It shows that perception on the economy comes from many different sources these days. Or perhaps it is time we re-evaluate how people vote, which is no longer based on the depth of their wallets, especially when there are other pressing matter such as domestic security.
My final point, which is really intuitve, is that America is moving to the left at a faster pace than the average person is comfortable with. Even if Trump is morally bankrupt, most middle Americans see Hillary’s social agenda as more dangerous. While Trump has had a colorful history, most hypocritical white Americans can say that his sins are forgiveable, thus, making him relatable. Hillary’s fight for equality on the other hand does not make much sense to people who have never encountered outsiders or social outcasts before. In other words, while New York and California are more in step with Europe and other first world countries, the rest of America is uniquely conservative. Because of Hollywood, we sometimes forget the real demographic of the 300 million strong Americans who would like to see a country unchanged from the days of their grandparents.
At the end of the day, while we laugh at Trump’s brash demeanour and his seemingly lack of a campaign strategy, that may have been his strategy all along. Him playing with people’s fear actually worked because of the uncertainties we face this day and age. Politics is not about doing what’s right, it’s about gaining access to a limited resource. Can we blame Trump for trying?