Trump will not win the popular vote, although there has been an unequal shift in the country towards Republicans. Mitt Romney lost by 3% whereas Trump has only lost by 1%. President-elect managed to do this by leaving some areas and intensifying campaigning in others. The only years in which a Republican party were 1876, 1888, 2000, 2016. The Bipartisan Center held a panel to discuss the pillars which made the Trump candidacy stronger. 

Panelists: Whit Ayres (Founder, North State Opinion Research) Jane Hook (Wall Street Journal) Mark Mellman (Founder and President Mellman Group)


Whit Ayres points out that it was not likely to predict a Trump victory. He believes Republicans are living on borrowed time. One of the primary reason is that the whites in the electoral college have gone down in the last years remaining at 3-4% minority. The prediction is that this year the electoral college will be made up of at least 70% white majority. Although Donald Trump needed 65% of the white vote and more than 17% of the non-white vote to win he was still victorious. Ayres believes that the missing white voters are a myth.


Jane Hook believes that a major part of why Trump has won the election is because he is a good public speaker. She points out that the Wall Street Journal, earlier this year has published a piece specifying the only way in which Trump would be able to win, would be by winning the Rust Belt states. Further another major reason she believes Trump won is that he had a simple message, that of which he is strong and will be able to protect the country, whereas Hillary Clinton would only say that he is dangerous and she is not, and her only advantage over candidate Trump was that of which she had experience. Further Hook believes that Hillary Clinton did not have a real economic message whereas Trump promised reviving modern America. Some of the reasons why people voted for candidate Trump were because they wanted a change, and although some may not have agreed with his message, voted for him anyway because they were part of the Republican party.


Mark Mellman believes that the polling was not truly out of order this year. The polls in 2016 were off by 1-2% whereas the polls in 2012 were off by much more than today. Further, there have been years in which the polling was off by 7%, therefore, in conclusion, the ballot this year was one of the closest in accuracy. Per say in Pennsylvania the polling was saying that it would be very close, and it is a matter of turnout.

A large number of scholars blame the turnout, and evidence shows that it could have been a great game changer. For example, the country of Milwaukee Hillary Clinton has lost by 40.000 votes. In Michigan, Hillary Clinton has lost by 12.000-13.000 votes. In Wayne County, the turnout was only 36.000. The counties in which Donald Trump has won the turnout was much smaller.

The campaign execution was much stronger for candidate Trump rather than for  Hillary Clinton in the states which have been important. Per say Trump has gone to Wisconsin 6 times during his electoral campaign whereas Hillary has never been. Further Trump visited Michigan and Pennsylvania more. Further Trump has spent more money on television ads and another campaigning in Pennsylvania and Michigan.

There was a change in the blue collar vote, as they did not follow the popular vote. The majority was due to a large group of people, the majority of white Americans, though they had been displaced and dislocated. These people felt that they have been marginalized and President-Elect managed to tap into this feeling.

To support the statements, Mark Mellman has given an example of a question he asked throughout the campaign. “Do you believe that America’s culture and way of life improved since the 1950s?”

+ 5/1 of those who found that life has improved voted for Hillary.

+ 3/1 of those who believe that nothing has changed voted for Hillary.

+ 2/1 of those who though life has gotten worse voted for Hillary.

(Important to keep in mind the segregation that was taking place in the 1950’s.)

A primary reason why people have voted for Donald Trump was that they believed that they had lost power since 30 years ago. Voters favoring Trump were reacting against change; it was a risk they were willing to take although he does not have a political background. Although 1/5 people who did not think that Trump was qualified to be president, still voted for him.

Biggest worries of the white class were that the individuals who have always been on the outskirts economically, the people who are once doing well and are no longer doing so. For example, women and her husband have been working for the same company for 30 years until it migrated to Mexico and left them without jobs, which is the reason why this family and many others voted for Trump because the anger they have been holding.

Another reason to which Trump was successful was that people have been expecting so much change from Obama, and not as much or what they have desired happen, which resulted in voters taking a new stance, in hope for improvement.

Another reason is that because so many of Bernie’s supporters heard the Hillary Clinton comments he made, once he left the race there was no other candidate they could vote for. Because she was part of the establishment for so long.


Synthesis by: Patricia Besciu – all conclusions are those of panelists, no personal opinions included