Zito book chronicles Trump’s winning coalition

Zito book chronicles Trump’s winning coalition
June 17 09:22 2018 Print This Article

Journalist Salena Zito’s book, The Great Revolt, chronicles the disparate coalition of disgruntled voters who carried President Donald Trump to a massive Electoral College victory in the 2016 Presidential campaign. The book was based on a survey of thousands of disenfranchised voters in the key states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa who swung the election in Trump’s favor. They were voters who were not included in the sampling model used by pollsters.

Trump’s data director and 2020 campaign manager effectively identified the types of voters the campaign would need to win in those states (as well as in Florida and North Carolina, which were not included in Zito’s surveys and interviews). Some common themes expressed by these voters were dissatisfaction with the direction in which America was moving, contempt for career politicians and political correctness, distrust of the media and corporations, and a strong feeling of patriotism. Here are some of the key issues, which cobbled together the winning Trump coalition:

Concern over jobs going overseas. During the 2016 campaign, President Barack Obama told a group of laid-off factory workers that manufacturing jobs like theirs were going away and would never come back. Trump assured the massive crowds that he would negotiate better trade deals and bring back American manufacturing. He also said he would call corporate CEOs and urge them not to shut American factories down and relocate them overseas. He would use the threat of tariffs on foreign imports as leverage. The laid off factory workers, many of them life-long Democrats, loved that message.

Bringing back the American Dream. A lot of political commentators did not know what to make of Trump’s campaign theme Make America Great Again. For millions of Americans, the American Dream seemed to be slipping away. Many of them lost their jobs late in their careers or saw their businesses go bankrupt. Many had debilitating health problems and were suffering under the terms of Obamacare. Many lived in communities that had gone into decline from the effects of global trade and relocation of factories overseas. Trump gave them hope that America would bounce back and their lives would improve under his policies. During his rallies, he would say, “If I get elected President, I will bring back the American Dream bigger and better and stronger than ever before!” He attracted a large number of people who had never voted before or hadn’t voted in decades.

Rallying evangelical Christians. While many evangelical Christians did not like Trump’s crude speech or endorse his flamboyant lifestyle, they were energized by his commitment to nominate pro-life justices to the Supreme Court. His support for the pro-life movement and advocacy for traditional American values got these key Republican voters out to the polls in bigger numbers than ever before.

Protecting gun rights. At every rally, Trump would talk about protecting the second amendment, which is under attack by Democrats, the media and various liberal non-profit groups with deep pockets. This issue registered with women in the battleground states, many of whom considered themselves feminists, who wanted the ability to protect themselves from an intruder or assailant.

Stopping illegal immigration. Trump began his official campaign in June 2015 by riding down the escalator at Trump Tower and giving his now-famous “Mexico does not send us their best …” announcement speech. The “experts” thought that speech in itself was a disqualifier. Among his target coalition voters, it was a reminder that illegal immigrants committed crimes and undercut wages. About a week later, Kate Steinle was murdered in San Francisco by an illegal alien who had committed multiple crimes.

Instilling patriotism and supporting our Veterans. A large number of Vietnam veterans showed up at Trump rallies, wearing their unit caps. Trump always talked about the inept Veterans Administration (VA) and promised to fix the VA and improve services for veterans. He also spoke about respecting the American flag. Trump scored points on this issue when NFL players started kneeling during the nation anthem. This practice angered Trump supporters and made them more determined to go to the polls.

Curtailing welfare. The Trump coalition included fiercely independent people with strong work ethics. Many of them were union members who typically voted for Democrats. Many actually voted for President Obama twice under the lure of the “change” theme. The Obama policies resulted in an explosion of people receiving welfare programs, including food stamps and Medicaid. The Trump voters resented that millions of able-bodied Americans were on the government dole. Trump has followed through on his promise to take people from welfare to work.

When Donald Trump was declared the winner in the early hours of November 9, 2016, the pollsters, media analysts and much of America were stunned. They did not understand how Trump and data analyst Brad Parscale were able to reach a disparate coalition of voters in the “Rust Belt” states to achieve an electoral victory. Trump continues to conduct rallies in battleground states to tout his agenda and support Republican Senate candidates on the 2018 ballot. Salena Zito has done a better job than any other journalist explaining how the Trump strategy worked in 2016.