ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Donald Trump won the election in the electoral college, however Hillary Clinton received two million more popular votes than he did. So it’s fitting that the University of Michigan would examine those results.
“We basically got it right,” declared Ken Coleman, director and research professor of the U-M Center for Political Studies. He referred to the university’s roundtable discussion called “The Trump Phenomenon” that was held on May 19.
The panel discussion featured remarks from Yanna Krupnikov of Stony Brook University, along with Mara Ostfeld, James Morrow and Andrew Martin from the University of Michigan.
Yanna Krupnikov is an assistant professor of political science at Stony Brook University. Her speech was titled Polarization We See and Polarization We Hide: Over-Time Evidence from the 2016 Campaign, (based on data collected with Timothy Ryan, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill).
She conducted a survey of 323 respondents and collected data during the campaign in three different periods: Sept. 19-26, Oct. 10-16 and Oct. 31-Nov. 7. One of the questions asked: “How much do you like or dislike Trump/Clinton?” Two big events happened during the last two periods of the survey. First, the Donald Trump comments with Billy Bush got released. Then, the FBI opened re-investigation of Hillary Clinton.
“This is hiding some important patterns,” Krupnikov explained. “The first is a gender effect. There is no difference between female and male Democrats. But there is a very large gender different between Republicans. They feel more positively about Trump and less than Clinton. It’s also hiding another factor. By the last wave, Republicans felt much better about Trump and had more negative associations about Clinton. Independents. What did these people do? These are the most unusual group in our sample. Independents generally have more positive feelings about Hillary Clinton. What could have happened?”
Following the Trump Bus Comments: “We see almost no move among the Democrats about gender discrimination. The emergence of the tape makes Republicans feel more positively about Clinton. Republicans feel better about Trump after the tape than they did before. Among independents, the tape has no effect. Republicans didn’t feel better or worse about Hillary Clinton. In both cases, independents feel worse about Hillary Clinton after the investigation. Neither party was all that enthused about the candidates. We saw the biggest shift among the independents.”
Mara Ostfeld is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Michigan. Her speech was named Latinas/os and the Realignment of American Partisan Politics.
She conducted two surveys prior to the November election. The first survey was a sample of 341 Non-Latino White Democrats in Oct. 2016. They were asked about level of support after evaluating two Hillary Clinton websites. The second survey was a sample of 269 Non-Latino White Democrats in Oct. 2016. That group was asked about likelihood of supporting Clinton or Trump.
“Latinos are changing the landscape of American party politics,” Ostfeld explained. “Three out of four Latinos identify as Democrat. We know that the Democratic party has been doing much more outreach. the frequency and amount has increased. The partisanship of Latino elected officials lean Democrat about 90 percent. Racial profiling and the dream act tend to be more central to the Democratic party. Whites are more thought of within the Republican party. I began looking at this in 2012. White Democrats were less likely to support Obama in a Spanish ad. Many White Democrats didn’t understand the content of the ad.”
What that being said…Why did Trump win the election? The U-M professor offered two possible reasons to explain his narrow victory.
“‘One possible theory are the social groups. Did Republicans represent them more? Another possibility is education. Perhaps White Democrats that don’t have a college degree felt threatened. Those without a college degree were less likely to vote for her. There were significantly more likely to vote for Trump if they saw the Hillary websites. I argue that it is contributing to a new racial realignment of American party system. A large and growing share of the U.S. electorate are Latino. Trying to appeal to everyone isn’t going to appeal to anyone.”
James Morrow is a professor of world politics at the University of Michigan. His speech was titled Consequences on U.S. Foreign Policy.
He argued that candidates don’t always do what they say they will do during campaign speeches. The U-M professor cited a recent example. President Obama repeated during his campaign that he would close Guantanamo Bay. However, eight years later, it remains open. Morrow expects that some of Trump’s campaign promises might also go unfulfilled as well.
“The turnover of the president is essentially like the big reset button of the American policy,” Morrow explained. “What is the legacy of the Obama policy? This record is mixed. The deal on Iranian nuclear enrichment is the least bad in my view. The major bad side is the mess in the Middle East. The administration isn’t entirely responsible for. China is the most important relationship. The problem is the disconnect between words and deeds. It corrodes away reputation.”
“What will Trump do? I have a very simple answer…I have no idea. Trump in a new position has the ability to restore the position of the United States. Can he actually do that? There are some concerns about the people who have been announced already. Most notably, Gen. Michael Flynn about the national security adviser. Obama heavily relied on executive orders so he didn’t have to go through Congress to get things passed. Trump has power to tear them up relatively quickly. The TPP [Trans-Pacific Partnership] and the TTIP [Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership] are most certainly dead. To shift away from multinational deal towards more bi-national deals. Is he going to cozy up to Putin? We’ll see.”
Andrew Martin is the dean of the college of literature, science, and the arts and professor of political science at the University of Michigan. His speech was named Future of the U.S. Supreme Court.
He said that the Supreme Court has been turning more left-wing or liberal over the last few decades. However, there was one big event that changed everything. Justice Scalia passed away on Feb. 13. The court is deadlocked with eight justices–four are considered to be liberal with the other four being conservative.
“Like Jim, I don’t have any idea what Trump is going to do with the Supreme Court,” Martin explained. If we can’t get five votes, the lower court precedent stands. Who are the likely people that Clinton or Trump would put on the Supreme Court? Clinton would have shifted the median far to the left. Replacing Scalia would reinforce Kennedy’s position as the median position. What is he going to do after the election and the answer is unclear. The Senate will not confirm Merrick Garland in the next month.”
“What really matters is what happens next? We have three justices who are, to be polite, not young. Ginsberg is 80 and Breyer is 78. The likelihood of president Trump having a vacancy is pretty high. If any of them leave, it’s going to be consequential. The strategy in the Senate was to temporize–or not act. They rolled the dice and Trump won. Were the incumbent Republican senators punished? The answer is no. Twenty Republican Senators were re-elected and two lost. There’s a huge opportunity to reshape the federal judiciary.”
Donald Trump will take the oath of office on Jan. 20th at Noon. However, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein has requested recounts in the states of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan.