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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 18th November 2016 > GRAB’EM BY THE BALLOTS

GRAB’EM BY THE BALLOTS

SEX AND SEX SCANDALS HAVE LONG BEEN A SORDID (YET RIVETING) PART OF POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS, BUT THE 2016 U.S. PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION TOOK THAT FASCINATION FROM SIDE- SHOW TO MAIN ATTRACTION AND SPLIT OPEN A GENDER GAP THAT COULD ROIL AMERICAN POLITICS FOR A GENERATION. THE GOP IS NOW DOMINATED BY DONALD TRUMP’S BASE OF ANGRY WHITE MEN, WHILE WOMEN LINED UP FOR HILLARY CLINTON. HOW LONG CAN A HOUSE (AND SENATE) DIVIDED BY GENDER STAND?
JOHN LOCHER/AP; PREVIOUS SPREAD: FROM LEFT: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/GETTY; JOE RAEDLE/GETTY

MAN POWER

WHITE WORKING-CLASS VOTERS POWERED DONALD TRUMP’S STUNNING ELECTION, BUT DOES HE HAVE A PLAN THAT CAN HELP THEM?

IT WAS JUNE 26, 2015, 10 days after the mogul and showman had announced his bid for president and just after I’d written a piece for Newsweek that my editor had given the alliterative headline “Donald Trump: The Billionaire for Blue-Collars.” In it, I’d argued that although the media and most Republicans were dismissing Donald Trump’s chances of winning that party’s nomination, his opposition to multilateral free trade agreements and demands for much tighter immigration restrictions made him a perfect fit for the white working-class men who now made up a large share of the Republican electorate. I also noted that Trump broke with Republican orthodoxy by adamantly insisting he would never cut Social Security and Medicare—another position that put him more in line with working-class white voters.

“I thought that piece was great,” Trump said over the phone from his office at Trump Tower, then digressing in Trumpian fashion to let me know he’d been on the cover of Newsweek before. (“I always loved the magazine,” he said.) I was a little surprised by his enthusiasm, since I had accused him of “bloviating,” among other things, and I cringed a bit as well, as any reporter does when the subject of a piece seems too happy. Later, I learned that he refers to himself as the “blue-collar billionaire,” so the headline seemed to have captured his affection.

As the campaign went on, I wrote critically about his policy proposals, such as banning Muslim immigration (which he later modified to be a ban on immigration from countries wracked by terrorism) and dragnet monitoring of American mosques for signs of terrorism; his attack on a Gold Star family; and his alleged groping. But I never lost my fascination in Trump and the blue-collar whites he won in the national election for president by a 40 percent margin over Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton. Among blue-collar white men, it was a 49 percent margin. Trump also won college-educated whites, but by 4 percent, far lower than the usual double-digit Republican victory in this demographic. Trump won seven out of 10 non-college white men and six out of 10 non-college women.

Clinton carried minorities, yes, but by a lower margin than Barack Obama won the African-American and Hispanic vote, and she made critical mistakes in her quest for white voters. She failed to travel to blue-collar-rich Wisconsin, convinced it was safely part of the “blue wall” of 18 states and the District of Columbia that have voted Democratic in presidential contests since 1992. Clinton never visited the state after the Democratic primaries. Trump won Wisconsin, the first time a Republican had taken it since 1984.

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About Newsweek International

Donald Trump, may have split the US voters and world views, however, the Trump towers tycoon has, beaten Hilary Clinton (the hot favourite), to claim the 45th Presidential hot-seat in the White House...
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