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New study: Clinton Crushed by Trump in Rust Belt

Updated on January 25, 2017
An empty Rust Belt factory.
An empty Rust Belt factory. | Source

While mainstream media continues to beat their political tom-toms over Russia costing Hillary Rodham Clinton the presidency, a new analysis published today in the Tampa Bay Times has uncovered a credible reason for Clinton’s stunning loss.

Clinton failed to address vanishing Rust Belt jobs

The analysis conducted by the labor market advisory firm Emsi focusing on Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana and Pennsylvania found that 437 counties in those six states picked Donald J. Trump over Clinton. The study suggests Trump's economy (more jobs) message pierced the blue shield since those Rust Belt states most often vote for Democrats. All six states have a higher-than-average participation rates in blue-collar manufacturing, mining and agricultural industries. These states are home to significantly more Democrats than Republicans and some had not went for a Republican in 16 years. Nevertheless, Trump carried their counties by an indisputable landslide, winning 437 out of 489 counties.

The president elect’s pro-job message turned Rust Belt Democrats into Republican voters in regions where blue-collar industries are concentrated. Manufacturing in 93 of the counties Trump won is about three times higher than the national average, this according to Josh Wright, one of the researchers in charge of the study. Trump won all 93. Hindsight suggests Hillary Clinton should have inherently understood that in the Rust Belt, “it’s the economy stupid”. Many pundits say Clinton was distracted by her email scandals, others say she was simply out of touch, but month after month she failed to deliver that message. At the same time, Trump hammered his job creation message home at every turn, in nearly every campaign speech - and voters were listening.

"His message struck a chord with a lot of people in that region," Wright said. "There's a nostalgic sense of wanting to hold onto jobs that are hard to keep in the long term."

For his part Trump campaigned on bringing back American jobs in six Rust Belt states that have watched jobs go to right-to-work states and foreign countries. Meanwhile, Clinton chided Trump’s supporters and seemed to include many blue-collar Democrats in her “deplorables” speech, many who were already leaning Republican. While Clinton was calling Americans names, Trump did three things right, promising more jobs, more jobs, and more jobs. According to Wright, post-election exit polls and interviews suggest his strategy was right on the money.

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