Opinion: Trump flourishing by voters’ anger, Clinton by nostalgia

Trump is appealing because of his ability to “harness the rage of older, less-educated Americans who feel they’re falling hopelessly behind,” while Hillary Clinton arouses memories of her husband’s presidency, when taxes were raised on the wealthy and there was a budget surplus.

By Billy Huntsman

Managing Editor

New Mexico has the angriest voters in the country, according to research done by an author and analyst for Yahoo Finance.

Rick Newman calculated New Mexico’s ‘anger’ by using the state’s statistics for: current unemployment rate (6.6 percent), change in employment between 2005 and 2015 (1.4 percent), change in manufacturing employment between 2005 and 2015 (-25.2 percent), and change in weekly income between 2007 and 2015 (6.4 percent).

To compare, the national rate of unemployment is 4.9 percent, the national change in employment between 2005 and 2015 5.9 percent, the national change in manufacturing employment at -13.2 percent, and the national change in weekly income between 2007 and 2015 at 19.6 percent.

The implications of these numbers and the labeling of the ‘angriest’ states in the country—which, after New Mexico, the next nine are Alabama, Rhode Island, Nevada, West Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey, Mississippi, Florida, and Illinois—are that voters in these states are less likely to vote for traditional politicians and instead vote for those whose ideas and policies seem the most antiestablishment, says Newman.

The candidates most likely to appeal to ‘angry’ voters, Newman says, are Donald Trump on the Republican side and Bernie Sanders on the Democrat side. Trump is appealing because of his ability to “harness the rage of older, less-educated Americans who feel they’re falling hopelessly behind,” while Sanders “rouses multitudes with his rants against crony capitalism.” Both candidates, Newman says, appeal to voters who “find prosperity further and further out of reach.”

Newman’s hypothesis—that unorthodox candidates are favored by ‘angry’ states—has interesting correlations: of the 10 states listed above, Alabama, Nevada, Mississippi, Florida, and Illinois have held both Republican and Democrat primaries.

Trump ran away with all five nominations, seeming to strengthen at least part of Newman’s argument, but the fact that Hillary Clinton won the Democrat nominations in these states from Sanders simultaneously seems to weaken Newman’s assertion.

To be fair, Sanders lost by small margins to Clinton in each of these five states, the closest being Clinton’s 68 to Sanders’ 67 delegates in Illinois.

So what does this mean for Sanders? Is Newman wrong?

Sanders, having won the Democrat primaries in New Hampshire, Colorado, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Vermont, Kansas, Nebraska, Maine, and Michigan, is certainly no lightweight and not a small-timer.

But with the exception of Michigan, which ranks at 11 in ‘angry’ voters, all of Sanders’ victories have been in states that are significantly less ‘angry.’

So in fact contrary to Newman’s assertion, it seems Clinton appeals to angry Democrats.

The five states mentioned above, which Clinton won, have unemployment rates that are higher than the national average and have seen a huge portion of their jobs be turned overseas.

Of course they’re angry but they’re also desperate. If Alabama, Nevada, Mississippi, Florida, and Illinois are anything like New Mexico, they’re still struggling through statewide recessions. And when you’re desperate, you don’t take any chances, you play it safe.

Democrat voters in angry states are voting for Clinton because she’s familiar, at least to some degree. As Newman says Trump appeals to “older” voters, Clinton does too, people saw her face back in the ‘90s when her husband was president and taxes were raised on the wealthiest 1.2 percent and America’s budget deficit was, for a time, erased and there was a surplus of more than $86.4 billion in 2000.

Angry Democrats remember how well the country faired under the first Clinton and hope it will happen again under the second Clinton.

Sanders, while he is certainly charismatic and appealing, particularly to younger voters, is too much of a risk for the older majority of voters. He will continue to win some primaries and will give Hillary Clinton a run for her money.

But come June 7, New Mexico’s Democratic primary will be Clinton’s, while the Republican will go to Trump. And it will be their names on the ballot in November. When that happens, anger must give way to what is safe and familiar, or else this country will descend into anarchy.

Author: nmsuroundup

The student voice of New Mexico State University since 1907.

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