I thought this was interesting. A breakdown on US voter behaviour by race and gender:
It seems sensible to precede this with caveats about US political statistical data. And those are raw numbers, not percentages. Also, there’s enough information in there to focus in on different things and construct a narrative of what happened. You can also make the argument that the election was close, Clinton won the popular vote, ect, and if things had been slightly different the data would look very similar but the narrative stories we tell about it would be radically different. The election would have been about Trump alienating white women voters, and that would have been the decisive factor rather than whatever people are saying now: that Hilary was too close to Wall Street, or identity politics has failed, or that liberals are too smug and live in a bubble, or that white people are evil, or whatever.
One of the big questions for me is: why was the election so close? Trump is basically the incarnation of everything the left hates, and everything it exists to indict. Oligarchy, Racism. Sexism. Exploitation. Ignorance. Normally the left assures itself it fails to defeat these things because of structural barriers. Lack of money. Media bias. The establishment protecting the rotten status quo against progressive change. But none of those things were true this time around, and the right-wing candidate was the least qualified, most unpopular candidate in US political history, and the left got to spend an entire year saying everything it wanted to say about all of its core beliefs in a uniquely benign media environment. Obviously we can say, in hindsight that it was real close, Clinton was a flawed candidate because Wall Street etc, but is that really an explanation, given her far more deeply flawed opponent, and what was at stake, and the nature of the campaign?
Why was it so close? It’s like, I dunno – a world heavyweight boxing champion losing a bout to an untrained, unfit amateur and afterwards everyone nods their head sagely and says, ‘No sense generalising about what happened. Could have gone either way,’ or ‘Turns out that wasn’t quite the right world heavyweight champion to fight that untrained amateur. Should have picked that other guy.’
In general terms the election was about both candidates losing votes rather than gaining them. That makes sense to me. They were both unpopular. But what’s key here, for me, is that one candidates unpopularity with different groups did not really translate to another’s gain. Trump lost white women but so did Clinton. There’s this debate among the left-wing political class in the US at the moment about whether the Democrats should reach out to try and win white voters and male voters, or whether that’s letting the racists and bigots, win. That chart suggests the basic problem is reaching out to try and win anyone during an election in which they should have been winning everyone.