How Trump Won

11/10/16 | Rahil Modi | Regular Correspondent

On the Surface

The odds were stacked against him and nobody expected him to win. But on Tuesday, Donald John Trump became the 45th president of the United States. Defying top pollsters and political tradition, Trump won with an unprecedented electoral map. Three factors helped Trump achieve this astonishing feat.

Riding a White Wave of Support

White working class citizens have long been the core of Trump’s support, but are new to the Republican party. Riding these supporters, Trump swallowed key battleground states: Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, and Pennsylvania (Pennsylvania hasn’t voted Republican since 1988). Focus then turned to the Midwest, where again white, working-class voters garnered garnered Trump support. Clinton’s grasp on the White House slipped away, as these voters turned out in record numbers, and deserted the Democratic party for Trump. With the exception of Minnesota and Illinois, Trump swept the Midwest.

The Comey Effect

Before James Comey, director of the FBI, re-opened the investigation of Hillary’s email scandal, the Clinton campaign appeared to be coasting to victory. According to a CNN poll on October 21, a week before Comey announced the FBI would reopen the email investigation, Clinton was leading Trump by 5 points. However, the week before the election, multiple polls showed Clinton’s margin of victory narrow. On Sunday, November 6, Comey announced that the new batch of emails linked to Clinton’s private server were not criminal in any way. This information came too late, and the damage had already been done.

No Politico? No Problem

Many believed that Trump had no business running for president, much less winning the election, largely because he had no political experience. As the cycle proceeded, many came to believe that Trump was the type of candidate who could work efficiently as president, as per the popular belief that politicians stagnate progress. During the primaries, Trump persistently reviled GOP insiders such as Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Chris Christie for their “establishment” politics. And rather than shifting gears for the General, Trump chose to remain true to what he was, and it paid off. Trump captured the spirit of the anti-establishment, and the White House came with it.

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