These stories that Donald Trump won on the back of an angry white vote are just not true, in my opinion, and this will be proven in the analysis I believe.
The first sign I had that there was unexpected broad support for Trump was a black working-class Uber driver who told me during the ride how vehemently anti-Clinton he was. He spoke of deep mistrust and even said things like “ever notice how people who oppose the Clinton’s end up dead?” expressing not only a very surprising suspicion of Clinton but also actually a fear of Clinton which I found shocking. This driver wore a black “stocking-type” hair covering and very much looked like a regular black man-in-the-street and so since I believe first my own eyes and ears this told me that Trump had unexpected supporters that were non-white and that there was trouble brewing in Detroit for Hillary Clinton.
The next thing was that Hillary Clinton had no clear message at all that I could ever hear. The Clinton campaign went all-in on painting Donald Trump as unfit, but never had a message about what Hillary would do. Voters needed more than bashing they needed message and they never got anything more from Hillary than the sister who points her finger at her brother and says “Mommy, Jimmy’s being bad again!”.
Finally, Clinton almost never gave any realistic opinion or policy statement on anything. She regularly said that a problem is “complicated and requires discussion.” or something like that. Unfortunately this kind of answer is not decisive enough for a president in the opinion of substantial numbers of voters of all races, creeds and genders.
In the same vein her rather outlandish supposition that Donald Trump could not be trusted with “the football” nuclear launch codes was a dangerous gambit because it risked boomeranging on her and implying that she conversely would hesitate and not man-up to commit American military might in a crisis; that she would “freeze up” looking for consensus and approval in a crisis. Voter fear in a dangerous world I’m sorry to say worked counter to a woman who looked far too much like a consensus-builder and approval-seeker and not enough like an executive decision-maker.
The Huffington Post early in the election cycle sounded alarms that Clinton’s stunning defeat by Sanders in the Michigan democratic primary was being swept under the rug by the Democratic machine, while in fact it was a clarion call that the Democratic party machine should have recalibrated the messaging and at a minimum restructured the Clinton campaign and moreover should have halted the actually corrupt plan to derail the Sanders campaign and rush to market with an already previously side-swiped-by-Obama candidate. Democratic voices were sounding the alarm but it was ignored.
Also, Trump continued and built upon campaign strategies Obama had successfully used of being a change candidate, while Clinton suddenly improbably was painted as an establishment candidate by both the Trump campaign message and also by Bernie Sanders interaction and marginalization (and marginalizing Bernie resonated with voters themselves afraid of being marginalized – again – by a Democratic machine that took a lot smugly for granted).
In the end a preponderance of voters, were willing to overlook deep character flaws to elect a candidate with a strong stern message of change, while on the other hand were unwilling to elect a candidate with character flaws and a message that relied far too heavily on pointing the finger and saying “Mommy, Jimmy’s being bad again!” and little else.