What really happened in the US in 2016

What really happened in the US in 2016, by Matthew Yglesias, on a lefty site. Highlights of the article, which has several charts and graphs:

  • Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were unusually unpopular major party nominees

  • Third-party voting surged
  • Nationally, Trump did a bit worse than Romney
  • Democrats did better with white women, worse everywhere else
  • White voters polarized around education levels
  • White college-educated women were with her

What happened, fundamentally, is that both parties simultaneously took the unusual step of nominating someone who was already well-known and unpopular by the end of the primary process.

Presidents have won before without winning a majority of the vote, but Trump was the first newly elected president to have been unpopular on Election Day. If you don’t like Trump and never did and find yourself baffled as to how the voters could have possibly disagreed with you, the answer is simple: They didn’t. He was able to win not just because of the Electoral College, but because most voters also didn’t like his opponent.

What’s most notable beyond that in some ways is all the things that didn’t happen.

Trump did not, for example, discover that the white population was deep down yearning for crude racism. … Whatever black and Latino voters hadn’t already abandoned the GOP during the Obama era weren’t driven away by Trump, who did no worse with these groups than Romney had.

And while Clinton managed to rally educated white women to her side in a way that previous Democrats had not, she was not broadly more appealing to women than previous Democrats. And, in fact, she did worse with noncollege white women than a black man did four years earlier.

Most fundamentally, even though the extraordinary significance of the outcome seems to call out for an equally weighty explanation, it appears in the end to have turned at least as much on trivial matters as profound ones.

Neither had a general popularity, but I don’t think that it is correct to state that both parties chose unpopular candidates. They were both wildly popular, but with a limited audience. Both of the limited audiences loathed the other’s candidate.

hat-tip Philip Barton, Bob