The Trump Election: Intersecting Explanations
"White racism, pure and simple."
The weeks since the Nov. 8 election have been rife with competing theories about how the unthinkable, in fact, happened. Pundits and analysts, not to mention ordinary people on social media, have been quick to reduce the election results to a single factor that they insist is to blame for handing the presidency to Trump.
But as David Leonhardt noted in a New York Times op-ed, "One of the sillier aspects of postelection analysis is the notion that any one factor determined the result." Instead, there are many factors that acted intersectionally to produce the outcome. In analyzing which were more important, how they interacted, and what implications there are for strategy, that complex intersectionality must be taken into account.
This database of articles, monographs, and books was prompted by my frustration with arguments that seem to reduce the reasons for Trump's win to one factor while downplaying all others. Since beginning it in the week after the November election, initially to keep better track of my own reading, I have added more than 200 articles I have read, as well as more than 20 books relevant to this analysis, related to 21 distinct but interrelated "explanations."
Given the extremely small margin of votes responsible for Trump's electoral college victory, in my opinion, there is enough evidence to conclude that at least 20 of these explanations were at least "sufficient to tip the balance of the election." How "important" each was beyond that threshold level of signicance remains highly disputed, not least because that has implications for the legitimacy of the outcome, for assignment of blame, and for strategy for both opponents and supporters of this seismic shift in political power.
I am sharing the database, as well as occasional short comments, not with the impossible ambition of producing a "comprehensive" or "conclusive" analysis, but to have a way of making this selection of sources available for others for their consideration. You can follow the Facebook page Intersections, where I will occasionally highlight new articles of particular interest. I do not plan to cover all the ongoing debate in the news, but to add only sources that have particularly relevant insights or analyses. Readers are welcome to send any comments or suggestions for additional sources to me at wminter (at) gmail.com.
Observations (fourth installment, Feb 28, 2017)
Several articles on Saturday's results with more nuanced analysis:
As of February 11, 2017, the database includes
A few entries have comments, which can be seen by clicking on the double-pointed arrow at the left. Most do not, but you can assume a default comment that I think the article or book "worth reading" and not nonsense.
You can see the full database below by scrolling down, or go directly to this link: https://www.obvibase.com/p/UTN6nGNWIphh/#table/UTN6nGNWIphh/*
For articles on a particular factor/explanation:
For books and working papers click here.
This is a guide to sources, not an analysis. The explanations/factors included are not mutually exclusive nor are they all clearly defined. And they are of varying relevance in either analysis or strategy for the future. However, all are in my opinion "significant," in the sense of being important enough to have possibly changed the outcome of the election, and to be relevant for thinking about strategy for the future.
The columns in the table include "nested sub-tables" with lists of relevant sources. The sources are put under the explanation most applicable, although of course many could fit under more than one. The ones under "Overview analyses" are the ones which in my opinion most adequately try to relate multiple explanations.
The database used (http://www.obvibase.com) is an effort to combine the advantages of a simple spreadsheet with those of a more complex database, particularly in terms of maximizing the ease of data entry. I find it very user-friendly for input, and a new edition promised by the developer will offer additional capacity with an application program interface (API) for using the data and displaying it in a form more friendly for access for viewing.
Note: Largely limited to current articles and books, this is a much more modest project than the in-depth and highly recommended Trump Syllabus 2.0, which dives deeply into the historical roots of the Trump phenomenon rather than focusing specifically on the election results. For another listing, organized in the form of a syllabus, but without comments on the readings suggested, see http://www.publicbooks.org/trump-syllabus-3-0/
Observations (third installment, Feb 7, 2017)
Since the inauguration of President Donald Trump on January 20, the news cycle has been driven by the rapid pace of executive orders, tweets, and, most surprisingly, by an unprecedented range of resistance to the assault on democratic values and rationality by the new administration. But although the debate about explanations for the Trump election have faded into the background, they remain highly relevant for the present and future, for evaluation of his questionable legitimacy, analysis of both medium-term and long-term strategies for resistance, and, at a deeper level, as x-rays or CAT scans to help piece together a deeper analysis of the history and driving forces underpinning the U.S. and global socioeconomic and political order. continued
Observations (second installment, Jan 23, 2017)
In the period between the election and the inauguration, the highest profile debate about reasons for the Trump electoral win was about Putin's intervention. But that debate produced more heat than light, while key issues such as the common interests of Putin and Trump in promoting the fossil-fuel industry received only marginal attention.
Observations (first installment, Jan 15, 2017)
Of all the explanations cited to explain Donald Trump's unexpected victory in the presidential election in 2016, despite his loss of the popular vote by almost 3 million, one of the best documented and least discussed in the public debate is voter suppression. This is also arguably the one with the most immediate and substantial implications for progressive strategy in the next two years before the 2018 mid-term elections.
This page is part of the No Easy Victories website.