Public Policy


The election results were a disaster for the polling industry and about half of the electorate. The latter has explained their humiliating defeat by analyzing the other half. Its dominance has been attributed to overlapping misogyny, racism, homophobia, atavism, isolationism, fanaticism, economic desperation, destructive nihilism, ignorance, stupidity, and rural isolation. A newer, trendier explanation is the insulting and unfair nature of the analysis above from a complacent clique no longer the party of FDR. Scholars describe a self-serving Democratic professional elite much like the Republican business elite with similar fiscal and regulatory policies supported by the same investor elite. The parties are said to differ only in their contrasting social views, which is how they woo their differing voters. This should be reflected in their campaign promises.

Our new president made too many to be fully listed here, but here are some of the most memorable and oft-repeated ones: a Mexican-financed wall; deportation of illegal immigrants; prohibition of Muslim immigration; a data base of Muslims already here; bombing ISIS; confiscation of ISIS oil; tariffs on goods made in China and Mexico; the return of manufacturing jobs; replacement of Obamacare by a market-based alternative; renegotiation of the Iran deal; tax cuts; reduction or elimination of the EPA; rebuilding of infrastructure for one-third current costs; salvation of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security and their current benefits; defunding of Planned Parenthood; allowing Russia to deal with ISIS in Syria; guaranteeing Iowa’s first primary status; etc.

Additional clues to the nature of the president’s surprisingly large constituency may be found in the exit polls by those who have not entirely lost confidence in them. Here are some condensed highlights. Voter turnout was at a twenty-year low, with the loss coming from the Democratic camp. More whites, and a larger percentage of whites, turned out for Obama than for Clinton. The only white cohort predominantly for Clinton was college-educated women. Hispanic and black women went for Clinton, but less than they had for Obama. The mean income of Trump voters was higher than that of Clinton voters. Third party nominees tipped the election in key states.

Untangle and analyze the above if you can
Barbara Brittain Greer, Public Policy Chair