Who is to Blame for Trump?
Why write about Trump, you ask? Everybody is writing about Trump. True. And you will have to be the judge of whether I have anything of value to add to the discussion. But everywhere I go Trump is the main topic of debate. And the debate is about as heated and uncivil as anything I’ve ever seen.
I had a journalism professor, the late John Patterson, who hated clichés. If you were in the mood for a good yelling at all you had to do was begin a standup with the phrase, “It remains to be seen”.
So I’m hesitant to cite the quote, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Edmund Burke? John Stuart Mill? Someone else? If you want to read about cloudy history of the quote you’ll find plenty of sources. It is considered a cliché by many because it is overused. In fact I’ve seen writing referencing a survey by the editors of the Oxford Book of Quotations declaring it to be the most used quotation of modern times. I’ve been unable to find the survey itself.
The thing about clichés though, is that they are overused phrases because they tend to sum up a matter in a nice and concise manner. So, with respects to Prof. Patterson, sometimes I find a cliché appropriate. I digress. If you stick with this blog you’ll see I do this a lot.
Why write about Trump? Because there is evil in the world today and doing nothing is not an option. Writing is what I do. So writing it will be.
Let’s start with the blame game. The 2016 election, as we all know by now, was determined by the Electoral College votes. Republican Donald Trump won 306 Electoral College votes to Democrat Hillary Clinton’s 232, even though he lost the popular vote, 62,985,062 (46.05%) to Clinton’s 65,853,581 (48.14%) (My raw data came from the MIT Election Data Science Lab. If there are processing mistakes, I’m the culprit). Three states, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan, all won by Barack Obama in 2012, flipped in 2016. They represented 54 Electoral College votes, and that made all the difference.
2016 U.S. President
|Trump, Donald J.||62,985,062||46.05%||306|
A closer look indicates that just 80,000 votes, switched in those three states. would have changed the outcome. Think of it. Eighty thousand votes out of nearly 136 million ballots counted in the Presidential election. That’s a little under six one-hundredths of one percent. With a margin that small you can blame any demographic group and be correct. Or not. It was obviosuly a combination of factors. But you have to start with the basics. Go to your nearest mirror, look at it and see what you see. If you do not see somebody who voted for Hillary Clinton, you’re looking at someone who is to blame.
Yes you can blame Jill Stein voters. I know many disgruntled Bernie Sanders supporters who were sure Hillary would win and told me they were casting a “protest” vote for Stein, the Green Party candidate. And you can blame Gary Johnson voters. After all, the Libertarian Party candidate received more than three times Stein’s vote.
You can blame people of color who voted for Barack Obama but stayed home in 2016. You can blame white women. Fifty-three percent of them voted for Trump. You can also blame white men. They also gave fifty-three percent of their votes to Trump, although that was less of a surprise. You can blame the Electorial College and voter suppression. It really doesn’t matter. It boiled down to eighty thousand votes in three states.
And here’s one more little fact. There were, according to the United States Election Project, 230,585,915 people eligible to vote in the 2016 election. That means Hillary Clinton received 28.56% of eligible voters. Donald Trump received 27.32%.
And 93,798,728 eligible voters, 40.68% of the total, just didn’t give a damn.