Some Election, Huh?

23 Mar 2016

While migrating saved blog posts in 2020, I came across this one; it is not currently on my old Blogger blog and I’m not sure if it ever was.

So, some election, huh?

I have a few thoughts I’m trying to put in order. I’ll throw in a few footnotes.

First off, if you are a Democrat, liberal, whatever, and the results of this election came as a big surprise, consider this an important indication that you have been living in a media bubble that is just as pernicious as the so-caled “conservative” media bubble that liberals including me like to talk about. See this article:

Key takeaways: Facebook algorithms reinforce the things you already like to see and read about and screen you from dissenting opinions. Just like it used to be important to get your news from multiple, diverse sources of information in print, it is important to have multiple, diverse sources of information in social media. If you use social media as a news source, that is — which I can’t recommend.

Second, I think it is important to study the actual election results, broken down by group. Doing that helps debunk some myths about who we are as a country and who we vote for. See this image which an imgur user assembled from Wikipedia:

I originally found the image here.

Trump didn’t really win because there was some abnormally large surge for Trump. Trump won because Democrats didn’t turn out.

How do you break that down? Well, first of all, about 130 million people voted in the general [final results not actually in yet]. That’s actually very close to 2012 numbers, despite the increase in eligible voting population since then. So there was no real increment in turnout. (It seems like everyone yelling about how this is the “most important election of our lifetime!” may not actually motivate people.) In 2012 the VEP (voting-eligible population) was about 222 million. In 2016 it was about 231 million. So overall turnout was actually down as a percentage.

Why? I don’t know for sure what the numbers say, but I think (1) a lot of people sat it out out of disgust for both candidates, and (2) there was a lot of voter suppression.

This is the first election to take place after the gutting of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. There were far fewer places to vote in 2016 in many parts of the country and voting hours were reduced. I don’t know to what extent this led to reduced turnout for Dem voters, but I’m sure it was significant. A lot of people especially with more marginal incomes and work situation just don’t have the resources to go a long way to a polling place, or wait all day in line, or argue with people claiming their registration is invalid. Local Republican operatives know this and they are openly bragging about exploiting this, which is why we need the voting rights act back, and those states where this has happened need to go back on probation and the folks who engaged in deliberate partisan voter suppression need to be prosecuted.

There are a couple other important factors with Clinton the candidate. If you’ve been in a bubble where people are talking about “Clinton-hate” and how it is all about misogyny, you haven’t been paying attention to her actual career. I could not support Clinton.

It’s not about an e-mail server; it’s not even about being “extremely careless” with classified information. it’s about continuing a pattern, started by the Bush administration, to take the critical, historic record of government communications and make it impossible to get via FOIA.

It’s not about anti-elitism, it’s about a pattern of disdain for traditional ethical concerns and avoiding even the appearance of “pay-for-play.”

It’s not about Benghazi, it’s about a Democrat who openly admires Henry Kissinger and never met a murderous, entangling overseas intervention and abuse of American power she didn’t like. See:

Lastly, outside of the liberal bubble, Hillary was not popular and the Democratic Party screwed this up, big time. All the numbers suggest that Sanders would have handily won against Trump. If you want to look at polling data over time, look at the basic favorable v. unfavorable numbers. Sanders was viewed extremely favorably — more favorably than trump. Clinton never got her favorable numbers up. The Democratic party could have won this in a landslide by running Sanders.

“But Sanders lost the primary fair and square — he lost the popular vote in the primary!”

Did he? Are you sure?

I suggest that if you think that there is no reason to distrust the Democratic primary results, you are stuck in the bubble. On top of the aftermath of Shelby County v. Holder, there were massive irregularities.

If you think this is all fringe conspiracy stuff, it’s because you have wayyy too much faith in the mainstream media. Remember this was the year that the mainstream media conspired to suppress information and we had to get our actual, adversarial, investigative journalism from hackers and Wikileaks. Which brings me back to Clinton’s attempts to normalize moving official records to private servers that can’t be FOIA’ed. Is that really the future we want?

People have been claiming that this is the “revenge of the working class.” Some working class people actually seem to be happy about that idea. But according to the demographics it really isn’t accurate, at least not if you define “working class” by income. Trump got massive support among upper-income whites.

There was also this idea that women would break for Hillary and act as a kind of firewall to moderate the excesses of white males. Mostly, that didn’t happen:

Women supported Clinton over Trump by 54% to 42%. This is about the same as the Democratic advantage among women in 2012 (55% Obama vs. 44% Romney) and 2008 (56% Obama vs. 43% McCain).

So all that feminist solidarity, sisterhood is powerful, identity politics this election? Sorry, but I think that was mostly a creation of the liberal media bubble.

Level of education was a huge correlating factor. Age was a huge correlating factor. But I think the factor that people need to study is the so-called rural versus urban divide. That is huge, and liberals, progressives, whatever, must understand this or everything we are trying to do is pretty much hopeless.

First, understand that Democratic voters are largely, geographically, just a kind of “rind,” or “crust,” (or, if you will, a “scum”) mostly around the edge of the country.

If you haven’t seen this map or one like it, you may be living in a bubble and have a very wrong impression of what the country is like.

But by population, things are very different. Here’s a map with the sizes of the states adjusted by population.

And here it is by electoral votes.

That’s quite a different picture, isn’t it? Those are all 2012 images from here: and I’ll be interested to see final 2016 changes.

There are some other numbers that are kind of startling. Evangelicals came out for Trump. At this point I don’t see how anyone can deny that this population is, as a whole, Charlie Browns, who Lucy talks over and over again into attempting to kick the football. They keep thinking this will be about abortion this time. It would be hilariously funny if the results weren’t so serious. Many, many people talked themselves into believing that Trump was a Christian, and deep down a good man, because Hillary is openly pro-choice. It’s kind of astounding.

And, I think, we are really still looking at least in part at an electorate that has wanted to re-litigate 2008 and still feels, deep-down, that it was never legitimate to have a black president. I don’t think we should underestimate that effect. In that context it is maybe not surprising that they weren’t interested in supporting a woman.

As for the allegation that people voting for third parties caused this — well, there are so many logical fallacies there. I may take that on and break it down with some real numbers but honestly it seems like a waste of time, because it seems like people who believe that are not really interested in the hard numbers and the large number of other factors that had a larger effect on the outcome, but just trying to find someone to blame besides their own party’s failure. Really I wish the third-parties were that much of a force to be reckoned with in electoral politics in America, but they just aren’t, at least at present, although I hold out hope for that kind of historic change.

Anyway. I am taking a sick day today — not because of the election, but because of the typical allergies and resulting infection that tends to hit me in November, so I’ll be on Facebook more than usual today and posting some things other than cute animals.

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