argument top image

Why did Americans vote for Donald Trump in the 2016 election? Show more Show less
Back to question

In 2016, Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton to the American Presidency, winning the election with 48% of the national vote. His victory defied expert opinion and polling forecasts, leaving many to wonder what crucial elements they had missed when predicting its outcome. So, why did Americans vote for Donald Trump in the US election?

Americans voted for Donald Trump in 2016 because he spoke to their anxieties Show more Show less

Donald Trump mobilised the support of key demographics in the 2016 election by appealing to the values of the American Dream.
< (3 of 3)

Donald Trump appealed to the American working class

Donald Trump promised employment and opportunities to the poor and disenfranchised, in exchange for hard work.
< (1 of 3) Next argument >

Context

Around 31% of Americans are working class[1]. This group includes those in waged labour, especially in manual labour, manufacturing and industrial sectors. Deindustrialisation in the second half of last century created structural unemployment in sectors including these, and led to the formation of the Rust Belt area in the US. This region faced industrial decline due to international competition in manufacturing.

The Argument

Trump promised to renegotiate trade deals and bring back manufacturing jobs in the declining industrial and post-industrial areas[2] to appeal to the American working class. Working class Americans who were left behind by innovation and technological change felt listened to.

Counter arguments

Most of Trump's voters in 2016 were not actually working class. Approximately a third of the Trump electorate had household incomes below the US median income, roughly a third earned between $50,000 and $100,000 (around 43,825 - 87,650 euro), and one third earned more than $100,000.[3] Hillary Clinton actually received more votes from working-class Americans in 2016 than Donald Trump, a result indicating that working-class voting patterns that tend to favor Democrats over Republicans.

Premises

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://news.gallup.com/opinion/polling-matters/239195/looking-americans-mean-working-class.aspx
  2. https://www.politifact.com/article/2016/jul/15/donald-trumps-top-10-campaign-promises/
  3. https://www.dw.com/en/no-most-working-class-americans-did-not-vote-for-donald-trump/a-39471004
This page was last edited on Sunday, 4 Oct 2020 at 09:37 UTC

Explore related arguments