Inside The Mind Of The Trump Voter: Election Night, 2016, One Year After
Exactly 1 year ago, officially 62,979,879 Americans, cast their vote for the least qualified Presidential candidate since Herbert Hoover.
Most of the #eventrump, anti-Clinton voters, didn’t really expect Trump to win, nor did they have high expectations from a Trump presidency if he did. Between the second and third debates between Clinton and Trump, Hillary Clinton was on her way into the White House. She was all about women, minorities, diversity, and inclusion.
I vividly remember hearing blurbs on the evening news about how college educated women would vote for Clinton because they don’t like mansplaining from Trump.
Even Trump Voter
#Eventrump voters, from many conversations I had with them, became clear to me, expected Trump to lose. But I remember them thinking that they just don’t want him to get clobbered. A clobbered Trump would cause two chain reactions they deeply feared. 1. It would fully energize the PC left to double down on the Democratic Party. 2. It would re-legitimize the establishment neocons of the Republican Party who would lament – If only we’d picked a qualified candidate, like Jeb Bush, or Marco Rubio.
They cast a “protest vote” for Trump. That rude, crude, and sometimes lewd blowhard. That would soon become a “Birther-in-Chief”.
Who is Trump Voter?
The “forgotten Americans” voted for Trump. Even some of the critical thinking academics, forgotten in the age of political correctness. Others were the blue-collar Democrats. The Reagan hard hats of the 1980s. Those who traded their hard hat for a fedora when they entered higher education, but haven’t forgotten their roots. Some of the “forgotten Americans” were African American. Many Latinos were also forgotten.
But Trump wasn’t supposed to win
On election night Trump voter expected to wake up to a Clinton presidency. He just hoped it wouldn’t be a landslide. When he voted for Trump, he was not voting for a President. He was giving the establishment the middle finger, the same way recently Juli Briskman gave the middle to President Trump with a difference, Trump was hired and she was fired.
I had watched every election night since I was 11 years old, and the first Clinton was elected in 1992. But I didn’t watch this one. I just went to bed, consoling myself with mixed emotions. I woke up the next morning, at about 5 AM. I had an early day. I picked up my phone expecting to see Hillary as the new president of The United States.
I then noticed a facebook notification from a friend who is a solid Republican, unlike me. “Trump won! The Red States rising!” she posted. As a political scientist, I knew Trump didn’t know what he was doing.
The first year of Trump
A barrage of political correctness and red-baiting came Trump’s way. Everything from “RUSSIA! RUSSIA! RUSSIA!” to “He’s so offensive!” and “He’s a buffoon!” Trump is tactless, we all know it. And the more reports we saw of Trump saying something offensive, tweeting something offensive, the more entrenched his voters became.
Trump seemed to get more done before he was inaugurated and during his first week, then he has in the other 11 months and 3 weeks combined. Sure, we’re out of TPP. But no tariffs on China have materialized, his policies in the Middle East seem to largely follow Obama’s agenda from the last few years (after he replaced Sec. Clinton with Kerry). He has not repealed and replaced the Affordable Care Act. He has not passed substantial tax reform. The wall is not built.
Here we are a year later, and little has happened other than inflammatory rhetoric that continuously is weakening our diplomatic standing in the world.