Why did Hillary Clinton lose the election? Why did Donald Trump win it? And why was the polling so completely wrong?
No one digs deeper into the demographics, polls, and trends of modern American politics than the Atlantic’s Ron Brownstein. Though he didn’t predict Trump’s win, his pre-election writing explained exactly how it could — and eventually did — happen. And it’s a more complicated story than you’ve heard.
In the week since the election, much has been made of Trump’s strength among white working class voters — and properly so, as they were core to his victory. But the white working class wasn’t the primary cause of Clinton’s loss. Her real problem were groups that didn’t turn out for her in the numbers her campaign expected — college-educated whites, African-Americans, and millennials. And that suggests a very different future for the Democrats.
In this conversation, Brownstein goes through the math of the election in detail. We also talk about:
-What Clinton’s campaign assumed, wrongly, about winning the middle of the country.
-The two quotes that Brownstein thinks explain the entire election
-How much James Comey influenced the election’s outcome
-Why Trump was able to win the support of voters who thought him unqualified
-What might have happened if Democrats had chosen Bernie Sanders as their nominee.
-Whether the next Democratic nominee should be focused on winning back working-class whites or energizing the Obama coalition
-The worrying signs the Republican Party will see if it compares Trump’s win to Reagan’s wins
-Why Brownstein sees Trump as a political independent candidate who happened to run under the Republican banner (and why Ezra disagrees)
-What will be hard and easy for a Trump administration to do while working with a Republican Congress.
And much more. There’s a lot of confusion about this election. Brownstein is here to clear it up.
Listen to the entire episode here.