The Election of 2016 Outcome and Evolution Essay

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The election of 2016 produced a shocking outcome in the eyes of most political analysts. As noted by Larry J. Sabato, there are many parallels between the election of 1948 and 2016. In 1948, Harry Truman, who was predicted to lose to Thomas E. Dewey, had a similar, populist “give ‘em hell” style to Donald Trump. Dewey’s supporters were similarly unenthusiastic as many of Clinton’s supporters, who backed her more as the anti-Trump candidate versus someone they genuinely admired. But the parallels end there, as Truman was still an incumbent president who had a lifetime of political service, while Trump, in stark contrast, had never held office.

Sabato notes that first and foremost, Trump rode a wave of anti-immigration and white resentment of what they perceived as encroachments upon their privilege. Many individuals who voted for Obama shifted their allegiance back to the Republican Party because of Trump’s apparent outsider image. Of course, those who questioned Obama’s legitimacy also found Trump’s campaign appealing, given that Trump had effectively began his career in modern politics accusing President Obama of not having been born in the United States and secretly practicing as a Muslim.

As noted by Marc J. Hetherington, there has been a strong anti-government, anti-politician undercurrent to all of American political discourse.

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Trump embodied this ethos, and even though it might seem contradictory that a poor, lower-class person whose economic interests might seem more aligned with Clinton’s policies would support a politician who vowed (for example) to abolish financial support for health insurance, support for Trump is consistent with the idealization of renegades who speak their minds, versus accomplished technocrats.

In retrospect, the campaign’s outcome should not seem as much of a surprise as it was to critics. Clinton was dogged by a series of accusations about suspect emails during her time as Secretary of State, when she used her personal email account for official business. Even if the nefarious purpose of doing so was unclear, by constantly referring to this fact, the campaign lost the ability to focus on the actual issues people cared about. A number of critics have also suggested that Clinton’s gender may have counted against her, as allegations that she did not embody appropriate feminine ideals had dogged her since she was President Clinton’s First Lady and made disparaging comments about standing by her man and….....

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Work Cited

Hetherington, Marc J. “The Election: The Allure of the Outsider.” The Elections of 2016, edited by Michael Nelson. Thousand Oaks, CA: CQ Press 2018, pp. 63-86.

Sabato, Larry J. “The 2016 Election That Broke All, Or At Least Most of the Rules.” In Trumped: The 2016 Election that Broke All the Rules, edited by Larry J. Sabato, Kyle Kondik and Geoffrey Skelley. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2017, pp. V-IX, 1- 29.

Schrieffer, Brian and Clark, John A. Making Sense of the 2016 Elections: A CQ Press Guide. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 2018.

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