On January 27, EESC in cooperation with the National Democratic Institute in Vilnius organised a discussion with a policy strategist David Mermin, who provided an extensive analysis of pooling results of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. The event was attended by representatives of the Lithuanian governmental institutions, Vilnius-based diplomatic corps, media, business and academia.
According to Mermin, one of the main factors, which implemented the voter consensus during the election was the public conviction that the U.S. have been heading in the wrong direction for a record time. Also, incomes of the American households have been shrinking since 1999 and widening the gap between the socio-economic groups, which clearly attributed to the overall public morale. According to the pools, 76 percent of Americans think that the U.S. Government is “run by interests of few”. Also, Americans think that large political contributions involve a quid pro quo leading to certain corruption on the governmental scale. As a result, the public gave a priority to the Presidential candidate – Donald J. Tump, nominated by the Republicans – who promised the change.
The results of the election revealed a crucial political shift in the States of Ohio, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Florida. These states were previously Democrat-dominant, but currently are secured by the Republicans. Furthermore, data showed that young voters were much more supportive for a Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, but they got outweighed by the generation of baby boomers (45-64 age group). Also, compared to previous election the Democrats were not able to motivate enough of youth to come to vote.
A crucial variable for Clinton losing the election was a turnout increase among rural and white voters, a group where the Democrats underperformed. Furthermore, historically the Democrats secured the lowest amount of white male voters. The lack of a unified economic message and a vision for change where what hurt the Democrats the most. Another crucial factor was an independent voters group, which comprised 31 percent of the total voters. In total 42 percent of independents voted for the Clinton and 46 percent for Trump.
The 2016 presidential election presented significant shifts in the public support. Voters without a college education preferred Trump, while those with a college or higher education were leaning towards Clinton. The classification of States in terms of education clearly indicated that more educated States were more pro-Democratic and states with lower indexes of education were more pro-Republican. In addition, retrospectively voters with negative attitudes towards both parties preferred a candidate with more experience, but the election results showed that 47 percent of these voters supported Trump, and only 30 percent – Clinton.