Home > World Events > Trump voters are Romney voters

Trump voters are Romney voters

November 6th, 2016

At CT and just about everywhere else, there’s been lots of discussion about who is voting for Trump and why. This began during the Republican primaries, when it made sense to ask “what kind of Republican would prefer Trump to Bush, Cruz etc?”.

This kind of discussion continued through the general election, even though the answer is now staring us in the face. Trump is getting overwhelming support from self-described Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, and almost none from Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents. The same was true for Romney four years ago, and for McCain and Bush before him.

This is well known, but few people seem to have drawn the obvious conclusion*. With marginal changes (I’ll discuss these below), the people who are voting for Trump now voted for Romney four years ago, and for Bush before that.

This makes nonsense of much of the discussion of Trump voters as the dispossessed, protesting against globalisation, predatory capitalism and the destruction of American manufacturing. Conversely, it turns out that the discussion of Romney’s “dog whistle” appeals to racism was misconceived. Replacing the dog whistle with a bullhorn has turned out to be no problem for the great majority of those who voted for Romney.

What matters to Romney/Trump voters is what Romney and Trump have in common. Trivially, they have both been nominated by the Republican party and their supporters are Republican partisans. But that’s a bit like saying that opium makes you sleepy because of its dormitive quality. People are Republican partisans because they agree with the core elements of the Republican position: white Christianist identity politics, opposition to (non-white) immigration, and anti-poor, anti-union economic and social policies. What Trump has done is to show that some things previously thought to be core Republican commitments (free trade, for example) are actually peripheral.

Of course, the overlap is not 100 per cent. The (small) group of Republicans who aren’t voting for Trump is different from the (also small) group who didn’t vote for Romney: the never-Trumpers are mostly women and college graduates, while the anti-Romney Repubs presumably included some stereotypical Trump voters (with the qualification that they identified as Republicans well before Trump came along).

In addition, it’s necessary to take account of demographic changes, newly registered voters, differences in turnout and switches in party affiliation. Demographic changes have mostly favored the Democrats. Trump has claimed to be driving new registrations, but I’ve seem no evidence of this. Republicans have had a net benefit from switchers, but that’s mostly a continuation/completion of the long migration of Southern white nationlists away from the Democratic party.

Overall, though, the problem is simple. If you want to explain Trump’s support base, you need to start from the fact that he shares it with Romney and Bush.

* Corey here at CT and elsewhere has probably been the most consistent exponent of the view that Trump is a traditional Republican, in the line of Goldwater and Reagan. I broadly agree, though I’d put more stress on new developments over the past 20 years or so. Trump’s complete disregard for truth, norms of decency and so on, is an extrapolation of a process that’s been going on for quite a while, at the popular level with Fox News, birtherism and so on and in the Republican intellectual apparatus with climate denial, zombie economics and attacks on “political correctness”.

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  1. Lt. Fred
    November 6th, 2016 at 15:57 | #1

    This is definitely a major theme of Pearlstein’s books on modern movement conservatism. The worst, most evil elements of the Republican Party are the reason its supporters are supporters. Famously he met a conservative who told him he didn’t really like Nixon until Watergate. A part of the huge task of fixing American politics is improving those inferior people.

  2. November 6th, 2016 at 21:40 | #2

    Yes. It is still a depressing surprise that party identification has triumphed so completely over Trump’s massive, obvious and unusual personal flaws, ranging from sexual predation and petty spite to indifference to policy to business fraud to being a Russian catspaw. If Hannibal Lecter were the nominee, they would still vote for him.

    Krugman makes a good point that the few Republican nevertrumpers surprisingly include the national security neocons, but not the partisan economists.

  3. November 6th, 2016 at 22:14 | #3

    I wonder which of the supposed core left-wing values are not actually core any more?

    The case you mention for the right, free trade, has morphed in recent years into big business having a free rein, unfettered by the will of the people, and that it remained a core value as long as it did is a measure of the lobbying effectiveness of big business.

  4. Julie Thomas
    November 7th, 2016 at 06:50 | #4

    Apparently, Trump’s Australian supporters are “mostly people who are tired of being told what to think and what to do. Also tired of being told how awful they are. Tired of being told how ignorant, and racist, and sexist, and … yes, how deplorable they are.”

    I’m totally nonplussed as to what have they done to deserve to be free from any censure of their behaviour? I see no evidence of anything decent that they have to offer as an alternative to the evil left.

    All I can see in the comments I read on the rwnj sites are ignorant, fact free, childish dummy spits by the most awful and badly raised group of people who have ever lived. They must have these beliefs about their superiority because they mistakenly believe that they have the genes that make them unassailable as the masters of the universe; there is nothing else that they have that would suggest any superiority or even competence in any field of endeavour except claiming to be the high point of evolution because they are not lefties.

    Such simple and nasty people; the foundation of their vote for Trump is as this most succinct comment makes clear; “I’d vote for him because he would rid us of the leftist pap which stifles us on a daily basis. ”

    Leftist pap? Stifled? OMG, it is so like a spoiled child complaining that the world is unfair.

    But at least an Essential poll a few weeks ago found that only 15 percent of Australians would vote for Donald Trump.

  5. john
    November 7th, 2016 at 07:31 | #5

    This morning one of the LNP members of federal parliament has come out in favor of the Donald.
    One of the reasons he is supporting him is because he will get rid of ” This Climate Change nonsense”.
    I guess that statement says more about the member than the Donald.
    So this is the level of deep thought exhibited by a person, who is elected in Australia and will be taken as some insightful knowledge of world affairs, god help us.

  6. Paul Wellings
    November 7th, 2016 at 08:27 | #6

    You went skipped from Romney to Bush, omitting McCain. Aren’t his voters worth discussing?

  7. Troy Prideaux
    November 7th, 2016 at 08:37 | #7

    So, why then did the Republicans choose Trump and not one of the other Republican candidates?

  8. John Quiggin
    November 7th, 2016 at 09:16 | #8

    @Paul Wellings Just a mental typo. I realised this an hour or so ago, then read your comment when I came back to the page. Fixed now, thanks

    @Troy Prideaux The OP was specifically about the general election and not the primaries. But, the same point applies. The Repubs who chose Trump were mostly people who’d voted for Romney in 2012.

  9. wilful
    November 7th, 2016 at 09:26 | #9

    John Brookes :
    I wonder which of the supposed core left-wing values are not actually core any more?
    The case you mention for the right, free trade, has morphed in recent years into big business having a free rein, unfettered by the will of the people, and that it remained a core value as long as it did is a measure of the lobbying effectiveness of big business.

    We’d need to define left wing first. Few thinkers from around the world would classify Hillary Clinton as left wing. Economically, more centre-right than anything.

  10. rog
    November 7th, 2016 at 16:22 | #10

    I think of the Dems as being conservatives and Repubs as being insane, criminal or just nasty conservatives. Underneath it all is racism and religion.

  11. November 7th, 2016 at 22:11 | #11


    By “left wing” I mean me! (and that is regardless of whether I actually am left wing or not)

    I suppose in these times I’d define left wing as a belief that the best result for society is not to just let business have its way, but to tax effectively and use that tax for socially desirable outcomes. Among those outcomes would be a reduction in inequality, good education and health care for all, and equality of opportunity. And you can throw in stuff about the environment.

    This seems reasonably ambitious to me, but no doubt the more genuine lefties here can add their bit.

  12. D
    November 7th, 2016 at 23:38 | #12

    But at least an Essential poll a few weeks ago found that only 15 percent of Australians would vote for Donald Trump.

    No it didn’t.

    The question was:

    “How concerned would you be if Donald Trump was elected US President?”

    The total “Not concerned” was 14%.

    There was no question in that poll asking:

    “How concerned would you be if Hillary Clinton was elected US President?”

    It would have been of some use to have included such a question.

  13. November 7th, 2016 at 23:39 | #13

    FtR Privare correspondence 12 Oct 16 from me to patient friendl


    I was amused by the contrasting “October surprises” sprung on the candidates.

    The REP Wikileaks OS featured HRC petitioning the Devil  (Goldman Sachs) for $3m in return for Opening the Borders to South America and handing over the keys of US Treasury With a bonus promise to the Israel Lobby to regime change 

    Assad, another scalp to hang next to Hussein & Gaddaffi. Quite a trophy room you got there Hilary!

    The DEM OS featured DJT using the word “pussy” in some locker room banter 

    No prizes for guessing which got the most political mileage 

    His fat- and slut-shaming seem to have lost the self righteous chick vote 

    Still I predict he will close some of the 6% gap by Election Day Angry white males don’t much care about men behaving badly They just want to get even 

    Its a pity that Trumps sleazy personality detracts from his sensible nationalist policy But that’s what happens when the King loses touch and the Court Jester attempts to ascend the Throne. 


    Just because Trump closed the gap doesnt mean he will win. The demographic fix is in, plus he just pissed off too many educated whites.

    So I put another $300 on HRC today. That makes an even 1K.

    At least one honest person will profit from her vicfory.

  14. November 8th, 2016 at 00:00 | #14

    Pr Q said:

    With marginal changes (I’ll discuss these below), the people who are voting for Trump now voted for Romney four years ago, and for Bush before that.

    Shorter Quiggin: Trump is REP core business as usual, only louder.

    This seems to miss the key issue of the election: Trump has openly courted the white working class, with success according to Pew survey reported in WaPo

    According to Pew data, white registered voters with a high school degree or less leaned toward the Democratic Party by a 50-41 margin in 1992, when Bill Clinton was elected to his first term as president. And Democrats still led among this demographic as recently as the late 2000s. Today, though, they have taken a sharp turn for the GOP, and they currently lean Republican by a whopping 26 points — 59 percent to 33 percent. That’s a net shift of 35 points between 1992 and today

    More generally this election is not about changing American policy regarding immigration or trade. It is about the struggle for the soul of the REP party. Trump has come and will go. But populist nationalism is here to stay.

    Essentially the corrupt bargain of the post Cold War era – the DEM ethnic Left get the votes whilst the REP economic Right get the bucks – is over. The white Main Street working/middle class can no longer tolerate the REP Wall Street/DEM Mean Street pincer movement. The multiculti feminist DEM party despises them. So their only hope is to reform the REPs.

    The enemy is the REP Establishment. Trump wants to impose term limits on members of Congress. This will hurt the REP Establishment where it lives, in its gerrymandered rotten boroughs – which is just the old Court House gang in the age of the one per cent.

    This is the institutional basis for the REP-RNC-K-Street axis of evil formed by Gingrich-Norquist-Abrahamof in the aftermath of Reagans victorious Cold War end game. If this axis can be broken it maybe possible to rescue the REPs – and maybe even save the world with some climate realism.

    THE defeat of Eric Cantor – the REP House Majority leader and effectively the US PM – by a proto-Trump candidate shows that Trumps attack on the REP Establishment can work without him, provided the REP white working class base can mobilise in preselection.

    The key issue is not which party sits in the White House but whether the REP base can regain control of Congressional representatives.

    Congress controls the purse strings and writes the special interest legislation larded with lobbyist pork. So long as the REPs control the House this cosy relationship suits the interested parties. This works for them so long as minorities dont vote much in congressional elections, an assumption that has held up, till now.

    The Presidency is not the most important branch of government. That would be Congress which is more or less owned by REP Inc. Congress proposes, the President only disposes. Which is why the resurgent REP House was so keen to show Obama who was the real shut-down boss

    The DEMs can have the Presidency which now, in these piping times of peace, looks more and more like an office available for token minority hire. Rainbow coalitions like quotas. Which is a pity because a war-time C-in-C can do a lot of good. In any case, the Deep State control the most important cabinet posts – State/NSA and Treasury.

    Whch is why the REP Establishment are not too cut up about losing 6 out of last 7 Presidential popular votes. BUT notice how Tea Party angry they got when they lost congress and had to put up with Obamacare.

    Trump threatens to upend the REP cosy Congressional apple cart. If he can get push thst rickety vehicle into a ditch he deserves two cheers for democracy.

  15. November 8th, 2016 at 00:13 | #15

    Dear webmaster
    Please close italic html tags
    For the sake of appearances

  16. Julie Thomas
    November 8th, 2016 at 06:48 | #16


    “It would have been of some use to have included such a question.”

    I don’t think so. But maybe JQ would be interested in know why you would have liked to have known the numbers for this tricky questions that would have had such a bigly different results. yeah right. 🙂

    The absurd tantrum by the ugly bullying white men and the prostitutes who rely on them for a living is a last ditch response to the fact that your type of human being is dying out, so much for survival of the fittest eh? Who woulda thought that the great white apes would be bred out of existence by the brown people and their fecundity? lol.

    And not only that but your type of bully are not being raised any more.

    Of course there are some people who continue to bring up spoiled self-centered little boys who are told they will be prime minister one day – rofl – indulgent parents are the source of so much dysfunction in their children and to coach their children to ‘troll’ left wing teachers.

    I have read this on rwnj sites and have read that some old farts have threatened their descendants with disinheritance if they turn into ‘lefties’. Hilarious. The great march through the institutions is nearly complete.

    And because I do talk to rwnj’s in my little town in this totally right wing electorate and I even have a couple of them as friends on my fb page and guess what?

    They still hate muslims even though they have never even met one and they still post stupid memes about how they rip us off by taking all the welfare despite me telling them how annoyed I am about this, but then they post memes about how Trumps father should have worn a condom.

    So speaking from my on the ground experience, I don’t see any support for Trump among the ‘normal’ Aussie bigots. And I am going to have to go up the post office wearing my hijab if they don’t stop posting the stupid muslim memes.

  17. Julie Thomas
    November 8th, 2016 at 06:51 | #17

    @Jack M. Strocchi

    Do you really think anyone reads?

  18. guthrie
    November 8th, 2016 at 09:02 | #18

    Surely the thing about free trade is explained by the differences in aims and outlooks between the base and the elite within the party? The latter identify with the rich and favour the ‘free’ trade policies that help them, whilst distracting the base with racism and xenophobia?

  19. Jim Birch
    November 8th, 2016 at 10:34 | #19

    “How concerned would you be if the Sun went supernova?”
    The total “Not concerned” was 14%

  20. rog
    November 8th, 2016 at 10:45 | #20

    Trump has succeeded where others failed; Glenn Beck has made a miraculous (praise the lord) conversion to HRC

    ..so much of what I used to believe was either always a sham or has been made into a sham. There’s nothing deep


  21. may
    November 8th, 2016 at 13:52 | #21


    don’t forget “tha money”

  22. Jim Rose
    November 8th, 2016 at 14:05 | #22

    I do not recall a #neverRomney movement in 2012 among leading conservatives, nor Republican primary candidates refusing to vote for Romney, nor the Libertarian candidate getting 5% rather than less than 1%. Given this loss of traditional Republican voters, some of this loss is coming from blue dog Democrats.

    A large number of people are voting for Trump because they hate Clinton more. She is a battle scarred old warhorse who has accumulated plenty of enemies. Clinton had trouble seeing off a grumpy old Socialist in the primary who was not even a member of the party

    You must ask if a half decent Republican candidate, practically anyone else in the GOP field, ran against Clinton, they would have had a very good chance?

    It should also be remembered that Trump was the weakest front-runner in modern Republican history. His campaign was greatly helped by a bizarre spoiler campaign by Kasich who is now voting for John McCain in the general

  23. derrida derider
    November 8th, 2016 at 16:27 | #23

    Jim Rose is right (for once) – people are going to prefer the devil they know to the devil they don’t. I’m predicting (its early Tuesday morning US time) a surprisingly comfortable win for Hillary. It wouldn’t be so if the Repubs had picked a boring candidate.

    Mind you, Hillary aint actually much of a devil in reality – “battle scarred old warhorse” is about the worst you can say of her and still be accurate. That, and maybe that she’s a bit too fond of dropping bombs on brown people (not that that has lost her any votes).

  24. Julie Thomas
    November 8th, 2016 at 16:48 | #24

    @Jim Rose

    “You must ask if a half decent Republican candidate, practically anyone else in the GOP field, ran against Clinton, they would have had a very good chance?”

    Such a shame for you rwnj’s eh that the stupid GOP couldn’t or didn’t pick someone better. 🙂 What went wrong?

    But who would you suggest? A moderate like our Turnbull would have had everyone one of you loonies voting for him? No?

    Seems Turnbull isn’t doing so well in the polls, not that anyone like the biased to the right ABC has mentioned the rapidly shrinking numbers who will vote for Turnbull. Did you see the latest polls?

    I remember back when Julia was PM, Fran Kelly couldn’t wait every morning to mention the polls and ask some Labor person when there would be a new leader. But today? Not a mention.

    Just hopin and dreamin and prayin for a Trump win has been such a fun and wild ride for you poor old white men and your non feminist women. It has been a diversion from the pathetic group of people who are the right wing parties here. But no matter the result, over there, here Turnbull is your man. Who else is there?

    Just watched a clip from Q and A on fb in which a very erudite man with a good grasp of the situation asked a question about transition to renewable energy and that numptie James Patterson – a chinless libertarian if ever I saw one – was gobsmacked and could only say he was “agnostic”. Agnostic? Not a lot of leadership talent there eh?

    Where is Cory Bernardi and his new Conservative party? I’ve even read suggestions from your lot that Gina Rhinehart should become an Australian Trump having the money and all. But she can’t handle her champagne and falls over baring her white legs – not to mention the mutton dressed as lamb – and then Abbott falls out of the fire truck. One would think God wasn’t on your side?

    Not to mention Pauline and co who don’t seem to be going that well; seems to be some of her team have not been very honest people and I’m wondering how well they will travel as a party with no unifying ideas about how to fix all the problems that blight their sad and lonely lives.

    Sad. 🙂

  25. J-D
    November 8th, 2016 at 18:24 | #25

    @Jack M. Strocchi

    You have misrepresented the research finding you quote. ‘With a high school education or less’ is not the same thing as ‘working class’ (and ‘more than a high school education’ is not the same thing as ‘not working class’); so evidence of a shift in the voting behaviour of people with a high school education or less is not the same thing as evidence of a shift in the voting behaviour of the working class.

  26. paul walter
    November 8th, 2016 at 22:20 | #26

    Just watching someof it on TV. Clintonites are bad enough with their saccharine, starry-eyed gush, but the Trumpite hillbillies are beyond the pale, utterly deranged types who make Hansonists look sane by comparison (much the same thing, I know).

    Its a sort of Brady Bunch V the Mountain-men of the movie “Deliverance”.

    The brief interlude of commonsense came from Mexico, with Mexicans scornful of the US in its fantasy world, especially Trumpites.

  27. D
    November 9th, 2016 at 01:12 | #27

    Today’s “Essential” poll does contain the following question:

    “If you had a vote in the US Presidential election, would you vote for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump?”

    The results were that Australians polled said:

    Clinton: 59%
    Trump: 19%
    Don’t know: 22%

    The footnote says:

    A question asked in October 2012 about which candidate was most preferred resulted in Barack Obama 63%, Mitt Romney 9%, no difference 17% and don’t know 11%.

  28. Ikonoclast
    November 9th, 2016 at 05:41 | #28

    No matter who the people vote for they will get the same policies: namely endless war, endless despoliation of the natural environment and endless capitalism. Of course, these things are not endless, although it does feel like it. Unsustainable trends continue… until they can’t.

  29. Martin Spalding
    November 9th, 2016 at 07:19 | #29

    Ikonoclast #28 – don’t you think that’s a bit of a textbook case of moral equivalence?

  30. sunshine
    November 9th, 2016 at 07:46 | #30

    – The mood for change is so great that Trump is close even though his campaign is an underfunded shambles with so much established power against him. With just a bit of support from the mainstream media which created him he would win. No wonder he feels hard done by.

    – How can a personality type like him be so attractive to so many (or even to anyone at all ?) ? .I can only think of one use for such a type ,- if I was to need a representative in a winner takes all fight to the death. Is this how so many see life ?

    – I’m not convinced a more normal GOP candidate would have beaten Hillary ,it would have just been her machine v’s theirs in the kind of contest she was borne for. In 4 years time ,after a HRC win , there wont have been change and the Democrats will be to blame. Sometimes you cant fix something without breaking it first.

  31. wilful
    November 9th, 2016 at 09:13 | #31

    Ikonoclast :
    No matter who the people vote for they will get the same policies: namely endless war, endless despoliation of the natural environment and endless capitalism. Of course, these things are not endless, although it does feel like it. Unsustainable trends continue… until they can’t.

    So you would have not voted? Or voted Stein? And in 2000, voted Nader?

  32. Jim Birch
    November 9th, 2016 at 11:16 | #32

    No one seems to have noticed, but Hillary is a woman. Her election as the country’s “patriarch” is quite a milestone event – albeit a sign of the times. IMHO she’s done an amazing job of navigating potential stereotype traps of getting elected as a woman. No one disputes her capabilities but her main electoral deficit seems that no one likes her personality (apart from me.) Being a chatty and likeable woman seems (to me) in US perceptions to indicate insufficient substance to be president. Two steps in the other direction and she’d be the bitch from Hell. It’s a narrow path.

  33. sunshine
    November 9th, 2016 at 13:27 | #33

    Hang onto your seats . Instead of the first woman president we may be about to get a bloke who brags about sexual assault .

  34. Paul Wellings
    November 9th, 2016 at 13:44 | #34

    Gleeful Trump supporters at Sydney Uni are running around yelling “grab them by the pussy. That’s how we do it”.

    You wonder what this will unleash – globally. Brexit was just the appetiser.

    We’ll find out soon enough.

  35. Ernestine Gross
    November 9th, 2016 at 14:30 | #35

    Well, whoever these Trump voters are, they surely have an impact on financial markets – equity as well as foreign exchange.

  36. Ikonoclast
    November 9th, 2016 at 15:21 | #36


    The pointing out of a dilemma is not a claim that one has a solution to the dilemma. However, the corruption of the Clintons and the DNC in colluding against Bernie Sanders’ nomination has not worked out well for them. I wonder if the corrupt arm of the Democratic Party will learn anything from this? Well, it won’t learn anything, of course, but I wonder if the rest the Democratic Party will now cut that corrupt arm off?

    The current madness is something the US must go through. The disillusion with Obama will look tame compared to the coming disillusion with Trump. Anyone who thinks a billionaire cares about poor people is sadly deluded.

    “Leaked Emails Suggest DNC Was Conspiring Against Bernie Sanders” – Huffington Post.

  37. Troy Prideaux
    November 9th, 2016 at 15:50 | #37

    Iko, what’s your prediction for the mid-terms? Total Republican wipe-out?

  38. Paul Wellings
    November 9th, 2016 at 16:15 | #38

    Trump won a bigger share of African American voters and Latino voters than did Romney.

  39. Tim Macknay
    November 9th, 2016 at 16:20 | #39

    I have been trying to work out the implications of. Trump presidency for global efforts to combat climate change. On the one hand, he has said he will repudiate the Paris agreement, which is unquestionably a bad thing. On the other hand, it isn’t clear whether that, optics aside, will significantly affect the efforts of the rest of the world to implement the agreement. Furthermore, emissions reductions in the US itself appear to be driven mostly by structural factors, rather than Federal government policy settings, so a Trump presidency may not change that, even with the assistance of a pro-fossil fuel Congress.

    So on reflection, a Trump presidency may not be as bad for climate change policy as at first it appears. That’s the ‘glass half full’ perspective, anyway.

  40. Tim Macknay
    November 9th, 2016 at 16:22 | #40

    That should be ‘implications of a Trump presidency’, not ‘implications of. Trump presidency’. Blergh.

  41. David Allen
    November 9th, 2016 at 16:26 | #41

    Earth’s only hope is to build the ‘B’ Ark now.

  42. rog
    November 9th, 2016 at 16:52 | #42

    Now that Trump is Emperor he will have to bring the jobs back and make America great quick smart. Markets and $US are down which will make this promise a bit more hard to achieve.

  43. Julie Thomas
    November 9th, 2016 at 16:53 | #43

    Abbott didn’t make anything better for the rwnj’s so I don’t think their elation will last for very long before they are again disappointed that there is no great man who will come along and put it all back the way it should be.

    Trump has no idea what he will do and he has no idea how to make those who voted for him any happier than they are now.

    But at least the poor fools who wanted him to win will have a few days of happiness as they contemplate the lefty heads exploding all around them. lol.

  44. Ivor
    November 9th, 2016 at 16:56 | #44

    THis went 1000% against my instincts.

    There will now be a political earthquake such as we have never seen.

  45. may
    November 9th, 2016 at 17:13 | #45

    anybody notice that today really is the ninth of the eleventh.


  46. David Allen
    November 9th, 2016 at 17:16 | #46

    Julie Thomas :
    Abbott didn’t make anything better for the rwnj’s

    But Julie that was someone else’s fault. Labor, the Greens, unions, latte-sippers, Russians, Chinese. There’s always an out for failure to deliver. Trump will be the same.

  47. David Allen
    November 9th, 2016 at 17:17 | #47

    ? What has September got to do with November?

  48. may
    November 9th, 2016 at 17:32 | #48

    u.s. puts the month before the day.

    never mind.

  49. Donald Oats
    November 9th, 2016 at 17:36 | #49

    Trump trumped Romney’s support base by a substantial margin. I think Trump tapped into the general sense that the entire political system is broken, so voting Trump is like sticking two fingers up at the system. Another thing that came across is that people do believe that Trump will be an arsehole but against the enemies of America. Whoever the enemies are…that bit isn’t clearly stipulated.

    This general disgruntlement with the system has been happening around the world, especially in countries rocked by the GFC. Quite frankly though, I haven’t seen any indication that Donald Trump will address the poverty and unemployment, homelessness, etc, that the combined GFC and lack of social security safety net has imposed upon those who were in the wrong job at the wrong time. If Trump thinks that ratcheting up law-n-order is the solution, that’ll just mean America will continue to be the highest imprisonment rate per capita prison system in the world.

    My guess is that a lot of the Trump supporters are going to find out that what Trump wants isn’t what they want.

  50. November 9th, 2016 at 17:37 | #50

    Donald has just been declared the winner with 276 electoral college votes won, six more than the required 270.

  51. Ivor
    November 9th, 2016 at 17:58 | #51

    Krugman’s comment

    So we are very probably looking at a global recession, with no end in sight. I suppose we could get lucky somehow. But on economics, as on everything else, a terrible thing has just happened.

    I hope, as he has got everything else wrong – he’ll get this wrong as well.

  52. hc
    November 9th, 2016 at 20:01 | #52

    Trump got more votes than Romney so your thesis cannot literally be correct.
    But really too upset to be bothered with this.

  53. Ikonoclast
    November 9th, 2016 at 20:02 | #53


    And I thought that was some obscure reference to “the ninth lord in the eleventh house” or something. 🙂

    I think astrology is nonsense, of course, but I was willing to have a laugh at some tongue in cheek millenarian or fin de siècle prediction. Mind you, none of this is a laughing matter.

  54. Ikonoclast
    November 9th, 2016 at 20:16 | #54

    More broadly, this Trumpalist development of a new US Trumpire is all of a piece with the USA’s trajectory since Reagan. A “B” movie actor became President then and now a B “Reality” TV presenter becomes President. This trajectory has about reached its nadir. History repeats itself, “first as tragedy, then as farce,” as Karl Marx wrote.

    The Republicans now control just about everything in US politics. Republicans now control the House and the Senate and will have the Presidency in the new year. They control most state governorships too with 31 Republican controlled legislatures, 11 Democrat-controlled legislatures
    and 11 split legislatures.

    I’ve been warning that neoliberalism and capitalism are not done with us yet. The worst is still to come. Maybe a few people will start to see this “Cold Fact” (as Sixto Rodriguez would call it).

  55. Ikonoclast
    November 9th, 2016 at 20:17 | #55

    Correction: 8 split legislatures.

  56. D
    November 9th, 2016 at 20:22 | #56

    MSM credibility, such as remained of it, is the loser. Good.

    Of all the polling regularly collated at “RealClearPolitics”, only the ‘LATimes’ consistently had Trump ahead by a few points. All the others were wrong to varying degrees.

    War (especially nuclear) is suddenly looking less likely.

    The “establishment” (especially the ‘left’ half of it) has taken a blow.

    Sanders would have won in a landslide, but of course he had to be destroyed by the Democratic Party machine because he was “unelectable”. Oh dear.

    The real left needs to get back control of its political arm worldwide, or abandon it as worse than useless.

  57. November 9th, 2016 at 20:22 | #57

    To put it simply:

    An elderly woman told American’s she’d govern for all of them.

    An elderly man told American’s he’d govern for the biggest single group, the whites.

    The whites voted for the old man.

    Totally not what I expected, but there you go.

  58. Tim Macknay
    November 9th, 2016 at 22:23 | #58

    Coming back to the OP, now that the results are in it seems that those at the pointy end of globalisation, predatory capitalism and the decline of American manufacturing did turn out to vote for Trump and were instrumental in Trump’s upset win. But the OP is not actually wrong, to the extent that it was based on a reading of the polls and the polls apparently didn’t see this coming. Of course, as Julie has pointed out, Trump doesn’t really have a solution to the rust-belt protest voters’ problems. To some extent I think D is right and that the mainstream American left has lost touch with a large section of its voters. Whether or not Sanders would have won it will never be known, but in hindsight it appears that his pitch might have appealed to those rust-belt voters who flipped for Trump more than Hillary’s. So it goes.

  59. paul walter
    November 9th, 2016 at 22:46 | #59

    Apart from Trump fighting a grubby campaign, how does this work as a lead in?


  60. BilB
    November 9th, 2016 at 23:13 | #60

    It’s all bad news for Americans. Trump’s only word that I heard is “were going to have an infrastructure boom (led recovery)”. Infrastructure these days doesn’t involve tens of thousands of people with shovels and barrows as it did for Roosevelt, it involves a hand full of guys on expensive machines pushing around hugely expensive material.

    So remembering that the “we have to pay our way and get rid of the deficit” Republicans now have absolute power, you can expect every social welfare program to vaporise, and on top of that Trump will demolish what ever is left to have the hundreds of billions of dollars to build his infra structures.

    I think most of the women of the US are now eligible to wear dunces hats for the next four years. What a wasted opportunity blown over what? how someone handles their emails???

  61. Ikonoclast
    November 9th, 2016 at 23:26 | #61


    For the simplistic Manicheans, this doesn’t mean I think Trump is or will be any better.

  62. D
    November 9th, 2016 at 23:42 | #62

    I think most of the women of the US are now eligible to wear dunces hats for the next four years.

    Pretty much exemplifies the sentiment that ensured Trump’s win.

  63. paul walter
    November 10th, 2016 at 00:21 | #63

    What did they expect of Assange, given their treatment of him.

    He knows he is going down on a frightened and vindictive trumped-up smear campaign and perversion of legal principles and his last act is to to bring the creeps who brought him down with him.

    That’s what happens when you rob a person even of hope.

  64. Luke Elford
    November 10th, 2016 at 01:06 | #64

    “Overall, though, the problem is simple. If you want to explain Trump’s support base, you need to start from the fact that he shares it with Romney and Bush.”

    Apparently, political science models that focus on fundamental factors such as the state of the economy and length of time a party has spent in office predicted a Republican win or a tight race.


    Maybe the fact that it was Clinton and Trump didn’t matter at all.

    It’s quite terrifying to think that swing voters will vote for anybody simply because they think it’s time for a change.

  65. James
    November 10th, 2016 at 05:31 | #65

    Reading through the comments there seems to still be a lot of identity politics going on (did someone mention old and white?) and a large dose of the ‘too stupid’ meme, in pointing out the obvious that a vote for Trump did not correlate with self-interest.

    I would surmise that there were two forms of disruptive vote going on, one voting for Trump because he was not the establishment choice, and the other not voting for Clinton, because she was the establishment choice.

    The sense that the trajectory of the nation is wrong is not limited to the US, and I would think it is only a matter of time before these trends become apparent in Australia. In that sense, the unpopularity of Shorten is not a temporary blip.

  66. James Wimberley
    November 10th, 2016 at 05:36 | #66

    In confirmation of JQ’s main point in the OP, Trump actually got fewer votes than Romney in 2012, with a larger electorate. He won because Clinton got far fewer votes than Obama. The popular idea that Trump charmed am army of racist hillbillies out of the woodwork where they’d been hiding out in past elections does not explain the result. He turned out the Republicans, Clinton failed to turn out the Democrats.

    Was it likeability? Age? Perceived frailty? Lack of physical charisma? To much experience? Simply gender? I’m afraid the Democrats have to find a young, inexperienced and physically attractive candidate for 2020. Yes, in a woman this means sexy. Kamala Harris might do.

    You do need a separate explanation for the massive and systematic failure of the polls, which led to that of the aggregators. Large numbers of Trump voters hung up on pollsters, or lied to them. Apparently – I’d like to see this confirmed – the error extended to the more expensive internal polls of both campaigns. Trump was not expecting to win.

  67. J-D
    November 10th, 2016 at 06:03 | #67

    On the subject of the polls:

    When the 2015 UK general election produced a result that deviated widely from the pre-election polls, the British Polling Council and the Market Research Society commissioned a thorough independent inquiry into how the pollsters might have got it wrong. The full report is easily available online. Several possiblities were investigated, including what they call in the UK the ‘shy Tory’ effect, that some people are too embarrassed or ashamed to admit to pollsters how they are intending to vote; the researchers found that the evidence did not support that conclusion. Of course it’s possible that something has happened in the UK that did not happen in the US, that there were substantial numbers of voters who decided to vote for Trump and weren’t prepared to admit it to pollsters, but it’s only one possibility and not the first one to consider.

  68. GrueBleen
    November 10th, 2016 at 08:41 | #68
  69. Ivor
    November 10th, 2016 at 08:50 | #69

    Unfortunately this is how Hitler and other right wing nationalists get started

    “Make Germany Great Again”

    “Make the rest of the World Pay”

    etc etc.

  70. Julie Thomas
    November 10th, 2016 at 10:25 | #70

    Well I am going to be hopeful that:

    “As this capitalist system destroys itself, we can step aside and find healing by living honestly and without fear. They don’t get to tell us how to live. We can share our pain with family and friends. We can post it on social media. Shout it from the rooftops if we feel like it. The pain we feel is capitalism dying. It hurts us because we are still in it.”

    from an article by joe brewer “the mental disease of late stage capitalism”.

  71. paul walter
    November 10th, 2016 at 10:39 | #71

    Ivor sees it right. Definitely a 1934 moment.
    Not a single positive to be drawn.

  72. Julie Thomas
    November 10th, 2016 at 10:45 | #72

    Nope Paul, we have the internet now. That makes it different from 1934.

  73. Charlene MacDonald
    November 10th, 2016 at 12:25 | #73

    This is very different to 1934.
    To even suggest a likening between Trump & the parties of 1934 can be said only by someone utterly without understanding of what Fascism is.
    That an individual’s education is so deficient can perhaps be blamed upon the public education system, which has many strong points – but is utterly deficient at teaching any understanding of modern history.

  74. Ivor
    November 10th, 2016 at 12:49 | #74

    @Charlene MacDonald

    Try providing some basis. You appear to be confusing 1934 with what happened and developed later.

    O yeah, I am aware there were plenty of differences but the political angst and victimisation was in the same mould.

  75. J-D
    November 10th, 2016 at 14:15 | #75

    So, what happened in 1934?

    Among other things, 1934 was the year that a law was passed transferring all or nearly all of the powers of the German states to the national government; and the year in which the SS and the Gestapo murdered at least eighty-five political opponents of the government on the so-called ‘Night Of The Long Knives’.

  76. Ivor
    November 10th, 2016 at 15:04 | #76


    Don’t get too excited playing your games.

    The actual year is not important. No one is saying Trump will murder or gas opponents. Trump tried the Hitlerite “poll monitors” and is threatening what will surely be a show trial of Hillary.

    Hitler too wanted to “Drain the Swamp”

    The equivalency is at a different level.

  77. paul walter
    November 10th, 2016 at 16:18 | #77



    Having the internet does not preclude the Trumpites holding the houses of Congress. From this issues forth appointments to the Supreme Court. The hope of the break on the conservative hold on the Supreme Court came with the death of Antonin Scalia, the hope was that a Clinton government would redress the ideological imbalance there, as J-D appears to recognise.

    Instead we will witnesses silliness of a magnitude and intensity that would make Abbott’s PM-ship seem rational by comparison.

  78. Julie Thomas
    November 10th, 2016 at 17:42 | #78

    But whatever Trump or the Repubs do, it won’t make the people who voted for them happy.

    He will fail to improve their lives except for the brief flashes of satisfaction some of them feel when other people they don’t like suffer because of something they instigated like if he makes abortion illegal. The lovely Charlene aka Phillipa would be happy with that bit of fascism but the people who voted hoping for a better and more prosperous world will be very disappointed with the solutions he offers when they don’t work.

  79. J-D
    November 10th, 2016 at 17:55 | #79


    Don’t get too excited playing your games.

    If you’re only prepared to posit an equivalency at the level of sloganeering, your claim has no factual content.

    ‘No one is saying Trump will murder or gas opponents’, you write. I’m sure they aren’t. But what are you saying Trump will do, in concrete terms, not in vague abstractions?

  80. paul walter
    November 10th, 2016 at 19:58 | #80

    Julie, JD.. this is the whole thing, it is unchartered territory. We know the killing is offshored, eg the mid east, is there a chance in a nation that has woken up to the power of high level weaponry and the idea of militias really constrains minorities more severely in future than at present. I remember Margaret Attwood did a dystopic novel called “Handmaids Tale”involving an emerging theocracy in a collapsing, dumbed down society.

  81. Donald Oats
    November 10th, 2016 at 23:59 | #81

    A plutocrat with inherited wealth speaks for the under-employed and unemployed men, the women who bounced off of the glass ceiling, the undeclared immigrants? Strange days are these.

    Actually, it is a salutary statement that if the left side of politics wants to be relevant, they need to do some serious thinking about how to assist the sinking class. Platitudes no longer suffice, if indeed they ever did.

  82. paul walter
    November 11th, 2016 at 00:23 | #82

    As happens so often, Donald, you nail it.

  83. D
    November 11th, 2016 at 00:50 | #83

    ..if the left side of politics wants to be relevant, they need to do some serious thinking about how to assist the sinking class..

    What a novel idea!

    Again, here we have President Trump precisely because the “left” side of politics has no idea what that even means. And because “they” have been able to count – until recently – on a very large slice of the electorate to vote for them no matter what they do.

    “Lesser-Evilism” will keep going and giving these results until enough of the “left” say: No!

  84. D
    November 11th, 2016 at 01:20 | #84

    A few weeks ago Michael Moore put out a nauseating film called ‘Trumpland’ which got massive MSM exposure and consisted of a 70 minute monologue of him telling the universe how excellent Hillary Clinton really is.

    Today he has the gall to tell the world (on facebook):

    Morning After To-Do List:

    1. Take over the Democratic Party and return it to the people. They have failed us miserably.

    2. Fire all pundits, predictors, pollsters and anyone else in the media who had a narrative they wouldn’t let go of and refused to listen to or acknowledge what was really going on. Those same bloviators will now tell us we must “heal the divide” and “come together.” They will pull more hooey like that out of their ass in the days to come. Turn them off.

    3. Any Democratic member of Congress who didn’t wake up this morning ready to fight, resist and obstruct in the way Republicans did against President Obama every day for eight full years must step out of the way and let those of us who know the score lead the way in stopping the meanness and the madness that’s about to begin.

    4. Everyone must stop saying they are “stunned” and “shocked”. What you mean to say is that you were in a bubble and weren’t paying attention to your fellow Americans and their despair. YEARS of being neglected by both parties, the anger and the need for revenge against the system only grew. Along came a TV star they liked whose plan was to destroy both parties and tell them all “You’re fired!” Trump’s victory is no surprise. He was never a joke. Treating him as one only strengthened him. He is both a creature and a creation of the media and the media will never own that.

    5. You must say this sentence to everyone you meet today: “HILLARY CLINTON WON THE POPULAR VOTE!” The MAJORITY of our fellow Americans preferred Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. Period. Fact. If you woke up this morning thinking you live in an effed-up country, you don’t. The majority of your fellow Americans wanted Hillary, not Trump. The only reason he’s president is because of an arcane, insane 18th-century idea called the Electoral College. Until we change that, we’ll continue to have presidents we didn’t elect and didn’t want. You live in a country where a majority of its citizens have said they believe there’s climate change, they believe women should be paid the same as men, they want a debt-free college education, they don’t want us invading countries, they want a raise in the minimum wage and they want a single-payer true universal health care system. None of that has changed. We live in a country where the majority agree with the “liberal” position. We just lack the liberal leadership to make that happen (see: #1 above).

    Let’s try to get this all done by noon today.
    — Michael Moore

    The idea seems to be keeping the pitch-forks pointing in the right direction by telling ‘stupid’ people that they are too stupid to work out where their anger should be directed.

  85. J-D
    November 11th, 2016 at 05:23 | #85

    ‘Sinking class’? I don’t know what that’s supposed to mean.

    What I do know is that a majority of voters with annual incomes below $50,000 voted Democrat; that if voters with annual incomes below $50,000 had decided the election, they would have given it to Clinton; that Trump owes his victory to voters with annual incomes above $50,000.

  86. J-D
    November 11th, 2016 at 05:23 | #86

    Fire all pundits, predictors, pollsters and anyone else in the media who had a narrative they wouldn’t let go of

    Some might suggest Michael Moore falls into this category.

  87. Julie Thomas
    November 11th, 2016 at 06:49 | #87

    @paul walter

    I do like Margaret Attwood – the best one was Cats Eye, I think that is the title, in which she describes how cruel and bullying girls can be to one who is different – resonated strongly with me but I couldn’t take the Handmaids Tale seriously.

    And I’m really sure that the people I live among are not dumb – they have been dumbed down and psychologically twisted to admire all the things that are bad for them and for a decent society.

    But they are working it out. I can see the changes happening before my eyes. They are listening to their children who have the internet and they are working things out about the rich and the idea that these people deserve their wealth and we poor people should be ashamed of ourselves for being leaners and for being envious.

    Listen to “The Money” on RN this morning and hear evidence that people are changing their opinion of the rich being deserving of their wealth. This is also going to create less stupidity in my neighbours who are not stupid at all, but they are ignorant and have been forced to believe in things like meritocracy, that have made them stupid.

    Perhaps it is living in a food growing area where I know and like my rwnj neighbours that is the reason I can see that we can and will change our society for the better. The reaction when I say not to worry because this is just end stage capitalism and Marx predicted that true socialism will follow, is speechlessness and not anger at the very idea of Marx. Maybe they think I mean Groucho?

  88. Ivor
    November 11th, 2016 at 07:20 | #88

    I’ve deleted this. Everyone please be more civil. I haven’t got time to check the entire thread, so I don’t care who started it, and will ban anyone who complains about my ruling or continues with insulting langauge – JQ

  89. NickR
    November 11th, 2016 at 22:37 | #89

    My view is that there is sometimes a sanctimonious and hypocritical element to the modern left, which has made enemies of people who should have been friends. For example, I know people who (i) happily use the phrase ‘white trash’, and (ii) throw accusations of racism around like confetti.

    I am not saying that we should do less to combat racism, sexism, homophobia etc. But I do think that our efforts have often had a very unpleasant and counterproductive tone. So much so that it is easy to think that for some, being holier-than-thou is the real goal and advocacy is merely a façade (to be clear I am not talking about this blog or anybody on it).

    Of course most lefties are not like this at all, in the same way that most Trumpkins are not hateful bigots. But like racist Trumpkins, there are enough of these people, and their voices are often the loudest, such that we are easily misunderstood.

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