Election Night Debrief

In a shocking victory predicted by almost no one, Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election and is the current president-elect of the United States. In the weeks leading up to the election, nearly all polls and major news sources predicted Hillary Clinton to be the winner. Even most Donald Trump supporters did not expect him to win, so what a shock it was to everyone tuned in on November 8th, 2016, when Donald Trump actually won.

The main factor in this unusually wrong prediction of the election could be caused by faulty polling. With the comments Donald Trump has made in the past regarding a number of unique types of people, supporters feared that they may come off as homophobic or misogynistic. Therefore, many of his supporters kept silent throughout the election season and voiced their opinion where it actually counted: the polls.

In week two of this semester, we discussed historical perspectives in political communication. Last week, I wrote a news post about Dr. Lichtman, a professor who has predicted every presidential election correctly since 1984. He uses a set of keys that look at the current US political climate and makes his prediction based off if those statements are true or not. The keys he uses went in Donald Trump’s favor, and he predicted him to win before ballots were cast.

Another thing we can look at is the turnout that Donald Trump had at all of his campaign rallies. He averaged thousands of people at every location he went to in every state. He broke records for audience turnouts. People stood in line for hours to get in, and whenever the location filled up, they would stand outside in hopes of hearing a snippet of the speech. Most of his speeches were unscripted, and for a lot of people, that was important. It was different than what most politicians did in the past.

The media played a huge role in influencing what people thought the election was going to be like. For weeks, they said that Hillary Clinton would win by a landslide. When we look past the media, however, we see that there were large clues leading to Donald Trump’s victory. In coming elections, it is important to remember that the media does not speak for the majority of the American people, as was seen in this election.


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