Jan. 12th, 2017

chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
Because it has been on my mind, herewith are some thoughts on the election. I intend to go from facts to theories about the facts to recommendations.

Facts

Looking at the voting data, it appears that Clinton lost the election because in many states, rural areas that had voted Republican in 2008 and 2012 60/40 went Republican in 2016 70/30 or 80/20. What did not happen was:

1) minority turnout being significantly repressed. Minorities came out in typical numbers.
2) New voters were not generated. Voter registration was not radically higher nationwide. Where it was higher was in a few states like Texas and that helped Democrats.

This is borderline between a fact and a theory, but it sure looks like about 20% of the rural (white, working-class) electorate, after voting twice for a black man, voted against a white woman.

Theories

There are undoubtedly various sexist and racist people out there who refused to vote for Clinton. However, it appears that they didn't vote for Obama. It also appears that there is a significant bloc of voters that are persuadable. It's my contention that's the group to focus on. Call them the "Obama 20%."

More Theories and Recommendations

Based as somebody who grew up in a small town, with a grandfather and two uncles who were coal miners, I have a theory as to why the Obama 20% went Trump. It's two-pronged.

First is economics. Again from experience, in a small town, when the factory closes, the impact is worse than a tornado. At least after a tornado, the National Guard is sent to clean up. I think I have a better chance of building a starship than Trump has of fixing the small-town job problem, but I know Clinton's plan of educating workers won't fly. When small-town voters hear "educating workers" they think of me - somebody who got a college degree and moved the hell out of Dodge. That might be what has to happen, but it means even more hollowed-out towns.

Second is foreign policy. Clinton called for a no-fly zone in Syria. As somebody who spent five years in the Navy to get out of a small town, small towns have borne a disproportionate share of America's recent wars. Clinton's foreign policy of injecting ourselves into another war did not sell well. Here Obama's (and Trump's) idea of staying out of Syria sold much better.

Recommendations

On economics, free trade is dead. The sooner everybody buries it the better. I do think coal is not coming back, but we need to talk about softening that blow. On foreign policy, a little less war would be nice.

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