Trump didn’t so much win the US election as Clinton lost it

Donald Trump didn’t win the US election because a lot of extra voters were swayed to the Republican cause. He won because Democrats failed to vote for Hillary Clinton.


Is there really a revolution under way in the US? Look at the voting numbers on the election and the argument isn't as easy to make as you might think.

You can divide electorates up into four groups: the ones who always vote for Party A; the ones who always vote for Party B; the ones who can't make up their minds (the undecided); and finally the ones who don't vote. The focus in elections is always on the undecideds the ones who make up the political middle ground and in the end decide who wins. In the US that means the "battleground states" the ones neither side is sure of winning.

Subscribe to MoneyWeek

Become a smarter, better informed investor with MoneyWeek.

Look at the US election with that in mind and you will note that there was no great surge in Republican support. In fact, it looks like the Republican vote in this election was much the same as its share in the 2012 election. The change here was not Trump swaying people to his cause. It was Clintonlosing them from hers: fewer people voted Democrat than in 2012 and it was that (loss not gain) that gave Trump Florida (29 electoral votes), for example. The other votes either stayed home (voter turnout looks to be a little below 2012) or went for various non-viable candidates (an easy cop out for those who know they should vote but couldn't cope with either Trump or Clinton).

We will see what that means for the next election when all the data is in. But it could be that despite all the hysteria there is no real need for America's Democrats to move very far left or right to win the next election. Pretty much any polite, clean-cut person standing on a moderate centre-ground ticket, who is not related to a previous president, will probably do the trick.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Unless of course, against all expectation, Donald Trump turns out to be a good president and manages to increase the Republican share of the vote next time round.

For now, I'm thinking about the huge number of people who didn't vote. Do they not bother because a) they are so disillusioned with the process and the political culture that they think it will make no difference at all, or b) because life is really just fine so it's not worth the bother?




Betting on politics: who will face Trump in the US election

Matthew Partridge turns his attention across the Atlantic and takes a look at Democratic Party's potential candidates for the US presidential election…
9 Sep 2019

Betting on politics: odds on the next president of the USA

With impeachment of the US president firmly on the table, now is a good time to take a look at the latest betting markets related to American politics…
30 Sep 2019
Income investing

Here’s how to hold on to some dividend income

Companies are cutting their dividends. But the truth is that you don’t have to give up all of your dividend income, says Merryn Somerset Webb. Here’s …
6 Apr 2020

Most Popular


House prices and Covid-19

The housing market is in deep freeze – what happens when it thaws out?
5 Apr 2020
Global Economy

Who’s going to pay for the war on coronavirus?

Central banks and governments are throwing money at coronavirus to stem the pandemic and prop up their economies. But who's actually footing the bill?…
6 Apr 2020

What does the coronavirus crisis mean for UK house prices?

With the whole country in lockdown, the UK property market is closed for business. John Stepek looks at what that means for UK house prices, housebuil…
27 Mar 2020

Three things matter for the UK housing market now – and “location” isn’t one of them

The UK housing market is frozen. And when it does eventually thaw out, the traditional factors that drive prices will no longer apply. The day of reck…
1 Apr 2020