University of Belgrade – Faculty of Political Sciences
US Presidential Election 2016: How Trump Beat Demographics
The United States presidential election, the most important political election in the world, resulted in Donald Trump’s victory. This year’s election was, for many reasons, historical. For the first time ever, one of the major parties’ candidates was a woman, and the winner was the person that collected half the funds the other candidate did, and that has almost no political experience whatsoever. It seems that Donald Trump faced more problems and resistance than any other presidential candidate before him, and was basically written off at the very beginning of the election. He took on other candidates, the Republican Party, the media, political analysts, but also his own nature and character. Later on, he faced the Democratic machinery led by Hillary Clinton. It is hard to even list all the challenges he experienced. However, the biggest one seems to be American demographics – the unfavorable demographic trends Republicans have been dealing with for decades. Trump was narrowing his potential electorate by making harsh and offensive statements about women and minorities, and it seemed it was demographics that would stand in the way of his victory. However, come November 9th, these expectations turned out to be unjustified. In this paper, we will try to answer how Donald Trump, despite almost all predictions, managed to overcome the “demographic problem” and win the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and we aim to do this by analyzing social and party line divisions, demographic trends and election strategies.