Wednesday, November 09, 2016
The Morning After
And the sun rose! For a while I thought it might not, given the other "black swan" experiences of yesterday. Donald Trump is now the most powerful politician on earth. He also seems to be an utterly unpredictable one, and that is frightening. What will he do? His list of impossible promises doesn't add up.
Will he really abolish the ACA and replace it with subsidized savings accounts (aka no insurance for anyone but the very rich)? How is he going to reconcile the immense tax cuts he has promised with his pledge not to cut Social Security or Medicare? How many wars will he initiate? How is he going to force firms to return jobs to the United States? What international treaties does he plan to break? How is he going to build that wall and make Mexico pay for it?
Nobody knows the answer to those questions. Whatever I might think about George Walker Bush, at least he was a politician who worked within the framework of his party, and that made him somewhat predictable. Trump is a loose cannon, a man with the thinnest of skins who takes umbrage at everything, whose reactions cannot be easily predicted, whose skills for the job he has won are non-existent.
No wonder the financial markets have jitters. And no wonder many of us are shell-shocked.
None of the polls I read before the election foretold the events of last night. Why was that the case?
I have been told that the white working class turned up to vote in much larger numbers (for Trump)*, that the base of the Democratic party did not turn up in sufficiently large numbers, and that something akin to the Bradley effect might have operated with those Republican voters who were going to vote for Trump, come hell or high water, but weren't going to admit to it when pollsters queried them. Other explanations are no doubt possible.
Then, of course, the Republicans will also dominate the House and the Senate, and will nominate new Justices to the Supreme Court. Those Justices are very likely to be either religious fanatics of the Christian type and/or in the pockets of large corporations.
At least one exit poll study has already appeared. Treat it with some caution, given that it is based on exit polls, not actual votes. Still, it offers some data on the demographics of Clinton and Trump voters. For instance, here's the split by race and sex:
Note that white men went overwhelmingly for Trump and that the majority of white women did, too. That is a pattern familiar to us from prior elections: The base of the Republican Party consists of whites, especially of older whites.
But this is fascinating: See how inside each racial or ethnic group more men than women voted for Trump?**
All the tables in that survey are interesting. I want to pick out the income table, because it raises some questions about the economic motivations Trump voters state they have:
Finally, this is a fun table: How much Trump's treatment of women bothers the respondent in the survey:
So it goes.
Well, better buckle up, because we are in for some turbulence.
* But note the income table later in this post. It suggests that the Trump voters are not particularly economically disadvantaged.
** The same pattern is visible for Independents, too, and within each of the two major parties slightly more men than women chose Trump.