How I predicted a Trump win

Aractus 11, November, 2016

Well firstly, I didn’t. I’ve been saying for a number of months now that I viewed the most likely outcome as a Trump victory, I never said I knew he would win mind you. I can’t see the future – I gave my assessment, not a “prediction” per se. In this post I’ll explain how I came to my conclusion independently, despite being on the opposite side of the world. My assessment was always based on the Obama-Clinton candidacy, not on Trump’s. And in fact I learned after this that there’s an election forecaster in the US who views that as the most appropriate way to forecast the election outcome, his name is Allan Lichtman, and here is his forecast given about 8 weeks in advance:

Video: Peter Stevenson/Washington Post

So the question is not “how did I know”; the question is why didn’t everyone else know that Trump was likely to win the US Presidency?

Firstly, the US media was horrendously biased and skewed. The thing that us non-yanks know is that Fox News is extremely partisan to the Republican party. But I never knew that all the news networks in the US were so biased one way or the other, and that’s something I learned from this. In Australia we would never have serious newspapers coming out and supporting Labor or the Coalition.

Secondly, the Trump scepticism was not contained to mainstream media. I mean Julian Assange kept repeating over and over that Trump had no chance of winning for example, and there are plenty of other examples of less mainstream media putting out that message as well.

Thirdly, what I never saw was a frank and open discussion examining Hillary’s suitability for the role. The media talked at length about what made Trump unsuitable, but not Hillary. And it all comes down to the fact that she’s pushing exactly the same George W/Obama policies…

Clinton’s whole plan for winning was based on her credentials trumping Trump’s, and by appealing to all the groups that Trump has in some way denigrated in his speeches. Particularly women. She didn’t offer people anything new or fresh. What she offered was a return of George W Bush era policies which were not that different to Obama’s – realistically that is.

Here is the final FiveThirtyEight prediction, before the election:

FiveThirtyEight prediction for 2016 election

And here is the current Washington Post map of the results:

US 2016 Election Map

As you can see there is a big difference. Interestingly, as of writing this Clinton leads the popular vote. I had no idea that would happen.

So finally, the way that I reasoned was based on the fact that Hillary was offering George W/Obama policies, coupled with the fact that people are not going to want more of the same. What’s funny is that I said this many months ago, and people agreed with me at the time (that is other Aussies face-to-face), but they became more sceptical of that assessment in the past couple of months. I should state categorically now that I don’t think Trump has anything to offer the American people – I tend to think Trump will be better for international policy than Clinton – but there is no doubt at all that he is going to be worse for ordinary American people. But that said, perhaps he’s the president your country needs right now – someone who isn’t going to be a photocopy of the last one. And at least you guys didn’t get Ted Cruz who would have been woefully bad, Trump is likely comparatively good compared to some of the other Republican nominees, and less likely to implement their extremist world-view. Trump might also be able to actually achieve some good initiatives in his term, and then when he’s voted out someone else can come in and build on that.

As an afterthought, I do think Bernie Sanders would probably have beaten Trump. It’s really had to say because there might have been voter backlash against the socialist, however that would have brought more of the Republican base to the polling booths, and Bernie would have brought more of the Democrat base to the booths. The puppet democracy in the US is so bad anyway, and their electoral system is woefully poor. I will leave you with this:

“When the preferences of economic elites and the stands of organized interest groups are controlled for, the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.”
-Gilens & Page. (2014). Testing theories of American politics: Elites, interest groups, and average citizens. Perspectives on politics, 12(03), 564-581. doi:10.1017/S1537592714001595

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