Trump fan family in victory tour in MI The Washington Post

The Lessons of America’s Election

The election of Donald Trump as US President has spawned a cottage industry of election post-mortems and predictions, in America and abroad. In fact, Trump's victory probably comes down largely to four key factors.

STANFORD – Donald Trump’s surprise election as the 45th president of the United States has spawned a cottage industry of election post-mortems and predictions, in America and abroad. Some correlate Trump’s victory with a broader trend toward populism in the West, and, in particular, in Europe, exemplified in the United Kingdom’s vote in June to leave the European Union. Others focus on Trump’s appeal as an outsider, capable of disrupting the political system in a way that his opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – a consummate insider – never could. There may be something to these explanations, particularly the latter. But there is more to the story.

In the months preceding the election, the mainstream media, pundits, and pollsters kept repeating that Trump had an extremely narrow path to victory. What they failed to recognize was the extent of economic anxiety felt by working-class families in key states, owing to the dislocations caused by technology and globalization.

But, as I highlighted two months before the election, those frustrations were far-reaching, as was the sense of being ignored and left behind – and it was Trump who finally made that group feel seen. That is why I recognized the possibility of a Trump upset, despite Clinton’s significant lead in the polls (five points, just before the election).

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.

required

Log in

http://prosyn.org/W8DK1aR;
  1. Patrick Kovarik/Getty Images

    The Summit of Climate Hopes

    Presidents, prime ministers, and policymakers gather in Paris today for the One Planet Summit. But with no senior US representative attending, is the 2015 Paris climate agreement still viable?

  2. Trump greets his supporters The Washington Post/Getty Images

    Populist Plutocracy and the Future of America

    • In the first year of his presidency, Donald Trump has consistently sold out the blue-collar, socially conservative whites who brought him to power, while pursuing policies to enrich his fellow plutocrats. 

    • Sooner or later, Trump's core supporters will wake up to this fact, so it is worth asking how far he might go to keep them on his side.
  3. Agents are bidding on at the auction of Leonardo da Vinci's 'Salvator Mundi' Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

    The Man Who Didn’t Save the World

    A Saudi prince has been revealed to be the buyer of Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi," for which he spent $450.3 million. Had he given the money to the poor, as the subject of the painting instructed another rich man, he could have restored eyesight to nine million people, or enabled 13 million families to grow 50% more food.

  4.  An inside view of the 'AknRobotics' Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

    Two Myths About Automation

    While many people believe that technological progress and job destruction are accelerating dramatically, there is no evidence of either trend. In reality, total factor productivity, the best summary measure of the pace of technical change, has been stagnating since 2005 in the US and across the advanced-country world.

  5. A student shows a combo pictures of three dictators, Austrian born Hitler, Castro and Stalin with Viktor Orban Attila Kisbenedek/Getty Images

    The Hungarian Government’s Failed Campaign of Lies

    The Hungarian government has released the results of its "national consultation" on what it calls the "Soros Plan" to flood the country with Muslim migrants and refugees. But no such plan exists, only a taxpayer-funded propaganda campaign to help a corrupt administration deflect attention from its failure to fulfill Hungarians’ aspirations.

  6. Project Syndicate

    DEBATE: Should the Eurozone Impose Fiscal Union?

    French President Emmanuel Macron wants European leaders to appoint a eurozone finance minister as a way to ensure the single currency's long-term viability. But would it work, and, more fundamentally, is it necessary?

  7. The Year Ahead 2018

    The world’s leading thinkers and policymakers examine what’s come apart in the past year, and anticipate what will define the year ahead.

    Order now