How did Donald Trump defy all the pollsters, the pundits, and the Twitterverse “experts” and take the White House? According to the Democrats, it was all a Russian plot – Kremlin-directed Twitter “bots” spread “misinformation” and “fake news,” Russian hackers stole the DNC’s emails, and this deprived Hillary Clinton of her rightful place as President of these United States. If we listen to the Bernie Sanders wing of the party, it was all because their man Bernie failed to win the nomination due to corporate influence and the flawed election strategy of the Clinton campaign. And the Republicans tell us it was because – well, they don’t have any coherent theory, but, hey, they’ll take it regardless of why or how it happened.
What hasn’t emerged from the shock and horror of the elites, however, is a reasonably convincing explanation for the Trump victory: the storied “deplorables,” as Mrs. Clinton described them, rose up in rebellion against the coastal elites and delivered them a blow from which they are still reeling. Disdained, forgotten, and left behind, these rural not-college-educated near-the-poverty-line voters, who had traditionally voted Democratic, deserted the party – but why?
No real explanation has been forthcoming. Hillary tells us it was due, in part, to “sexism,” and the rest was a dark conspiracy by Vladimir Putin and James Comey. More objective observers attribute the switch to the relentless emphasis by the Democrats on identity politics, which seems convincing until one examines the actual statistics down to the county level in those key states – Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania – that gave the party of Trump the keys to the White House.
Francis Shen, a professor of law professor at the University of Minnesota, and Douglas Kriner, who teaches political science at Boston University, have done just that, and their conclusion is stunning – and vitally important to those of us who want to understand what the current relation of political forces means for the anti-interventionist movement. They write:
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