Decisions are made by those who show up

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Not only is that above statement true, but as an informed constituent, I think that it’s important to understand WHO showed up.

The Pew Research Center (a non-partisan, self-described “fact-tank,” based in Washington DC, providing information about social issues, opinions and demographic trends in the United States and around the world) published a study outlining exactly who showed up at the polls this week.

Behind Trump’s victory: Divisions by race, gender, education

Behind Trump’s victory: Divisions by race, gender, education https://t.co/7mFXE2oVH0 pic.twitter.com/4YqEkWOIFv

— PewResearch FactTank (@FactTank) November 10, 2016

There’s a lot of data there, and I encourage you to also read through it.  You think I’m kidding?  No, seriously…. read it!  Ok, if you don’t want to, that’s fine too ….. just let me point out a few key points that stood out to me.

Race

  • Republicans are gaining traction with White voters (they gained 1 point from ’12 to ’16)
  • Democrats are losing minorities.  From ’12 to ’16, the Black Democratic vote dropped 7 points, and the Hispanic Democratic vote dropped 8 points

Gender

  • Women preferred Hillary Clinton by a margin of 54% to 42%
  • Men preferred Donald Trump by a margin of 53% to 41%
  • The gender gap is widening.  The point spread from ’12 to ’16 shows a further bias

Educational Background (This one is IMPORTANT, if you ask me)

  • Among all voters, college graduates preferred Hillary Clinton 9 point margin
  • Among only white voters, non-college graduates preferred Donald Trump by a 39 point margin

Why is that last statistic so important?  What is it about college graduates that leads them to overwhelmingly support Hillary Clinton?  There’s a lot of debate about that.  Does a liberal arts education introduce a political bias that carries through to the voting booth?  That’s not my opinion, but it’s one that I’ve heard.

I think that this election cycle introduced a new component into the mind of voters, especially those with college degrees.  Follow me here… a college degree, among other things, equips the recipient with enhanced critical thinking skills, an appreciation for details, and a comfort level with formal language and discourse.  In most of the public appearances during this recently completed election cycle, then candidate Trump seemed to lack these qualities (even though he is a graduate of the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce, one of the most prestigious business schools in the country).  He yelled, he insulted, he interrupted.

It is my opinion that the divide does not have anything to do with education level, but rather it has everything to do with poise and composure.  I believe that college graduates are more comfortable with the way Hillary Clinton carried herself as a public figure, and more taken-aback by the way Donald Trump conducted himself.

Taking that one step further, I will say that I have been, albeit mildly, impressed with how President-elect Trump has conducted himself thus far.  His tone of voice seems slightly more humble, and for some reason, at least today, I really did get the impression that he wants to work to accomplish something.  Have I any idea what that is?  No.  Will I agree with whatever it is?  We are going to have to wait and see.

Age

  • Voters over age 65 preferred Donald Trump by an 8 point margin
  • Voters 18-29 (a key demographic) preferred Hillary Clinton by an 18 point margin – a 6 point drop, when compared to the ’12 election

Read into this what you will… I believe that Donald Trump’s message of change had a great appeal to older voters, who, more than likely, have seen the same political cycles play over and over in Washington DC.  The idea of finally changing, what many believe to be, a broken system seems to have had great traction.  Why did Hillary Clinton lost younger voters?  Hmmmm…. good question.  Was it the Bern-effect?  Was it simply apathy?  If you have a better idea…. share it!

Understanding the “who” is important, at least for me.  The trends in demographics, changes in this election versus the last cycle, to me, tell a story.  Young voters are feeling disenfranchised by a system that older voters are telling them is broken.  Regardless of these trends, remember…. while it appears Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, the total vote count difference between the two candidates was less than 350,000 votes, out of a total of more than 120 million votes.  So…. we’re equally divided, folks.

I’m going to leave you with this…. Do you have a friend who’s saying, “He’s not my President?”  I’m assuming that after you identify that person in your life (we all have at least one), you know them to be an Obama supporter.  Now, have them think back to the 2008 election… How did their Republican friends accept the prospect of an Obama presidency?  I remember seeing more than a few “Not my President” posts then, too.

We’re a country divided, that much is obvious.  We need to learn to let the divide show us different perspectives and encourage productive discussion, and not use it as an opportunity to place an unwavering grip on an ideology.

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