She Was the Ideal Clinton Voter. But She Went Trump

ProPublica: Democrats wrote off white workers in Rust Belt states
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 11, 2016 9:38 AM CST
'Forgotten Class' Held Key to Trump's Victory
Supporters hold "Women for Trump" signs before a rally in Manchester, N.H., on Nov. 7.   (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

(Newser) – Those interested in understanding Donald Trump's win will want to read Alec MacGillis' deep dive at ProPublica. In interview after interview with middle-aged Trump supporters in small towns of Rust Belt states, MacGillis finds three clear themes emerging among this mostly white group: "They lived in places that were in decline, and had been for some time. They lacked strong attachment to either party ... and they had profound contempt for a dysfunctional, hyper-prosperous Washington that they saw as utterly removed from their lives." He encounters people in their 50s and older voting for the first time, which perhaps holds a clue to the pollsters' bad predictions: These were "people who were so disconnected from the political system that they were literally unaccounted for in the pollsters’ modeling, which relies on past voting behavior."

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So why did they feel so compelled to go for Trump? Take the example of 54-year-old Tracie St. Martin who lives near Dayton, Ohio. She's a heavy-construction worker who generally voted Democrat and whose union had been urging her to back Hillary Clinton. She should have been a slam-dunk Clinton voter. But when Trump canvassers showed up at her door, "St. Martin was visibly affected," writes MacGillis. She recounted, with some difficulty and much emotion, a recent job razing a local GM plant. Obama had let her down; Benghazi and email and the Clinton Foundation grated on her. "People don’t realize there’s nothing without a blue-collar worker," she said. MacGillis kept in touch with her, and she did indeed vote for Trump. "I am AMAZED at the number of people voting for him," she emailed him at one point. "The polls have to be wrong." Click for the full piece, which makes the case that Democrats gambled incorrectly in writing off this "forgotten class." (Read more Election 2016 stories.)

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