A (slightly biased) look at why Donald Trump won the 2016 election:
1. Trump was very well known, being a popular TV ‘reality’ show host for the previous 14 years on national television.
2. He began his campaign amid controversy and outrageous statements designed to inflame public fears about terrorism and encourage racial mistrust, when he publicly stated that he intended to build a wall between the US and Mexico, and make the Mexican government pay for it.
3. Early on, he also promised to personally pay for all of his campaign expenses since he was a multi-billionaire and “very, very rich”. Although he continued to claim he was doing so as the election progressed, he soon began to accept outside donations, and by the time he was accepted as the sole Republican nominee most of his funding came from the RNC.
4. His campaign mainly consisted of large rallies across the country, but he also utilized social media and numerous daily ‘tweets’ to stay in the public eye, torment his opponents, and raise free publicity from the media. Throughout the campaign, Trump’s bombastic ego-centric remarks, constant contradictory statements, and outright lies kept the media and his opposition bamboozled and befuddled. [Similar tactics continue to this day.]
5. 2016 saw the largest presidential primary field in American history. The Republican Party allowed a total of 17 candidates to run for President during their nomination process. All but one or two candidates were right-wing conservatives, and untenable candidates remained in the race for far too long. The process was marked by vicious name-calling, acrimony and continual lying. Trump identified himself as being a Republican, even though he had previously run for the Presidency as a Democrat & did not agree with much of the stated Republican platform.
6. The Republican Party base was essentially splintered into two camps during this election. Trump’s main supporters came from disillusioned evangelicals, Tea Party Conservatives, and the ‘Alt-Right’ movement. Older white males, the less educated & military veterans were his primary constituency. More moderate Republicans were split among the rest of the primary pack, and were never able to coalesce around a single unified candidate until after Trump had been nominated to represent the whole Party.
7. During the general election campaign, Trump sowed deliberate confusion by telling outright lies, switching back & forth on the issues, and making threats about punishing women for having an abortion/jailing his Democratic opponent after the race was over/the process being rigged. [The threat against Clinton has yet to be repudiated & is still open and in effect.]
8. Russian interference in the US election has been certified by US Intelligence services, via a series of leaked DNC correspondence through WikiLeaks. Although strongly denied by the Trump campaign, shortly after the US election ended, Russian diplomats claimed they had been in communication with members of the Trump campaign throughout the election process.
9. The normal election process was disrupted when, 11 days before the election was to take place, FBI Director James Comey re-opened the Clinton email investigation by announcing that an additional 650,000 emails had been discovered through another ongoing criminal investigation. The matter was then left hanging before the public until 2 days before the Presidential election actually began, when Director Comey indicated that all emails had been reviewed and nothing new had been found to affect the FBI’s original ruling in the matter. The clearly apparent effect of this episode was that Clinton’s Democratic support began dropping off, and Republican support for Trump was emboldened.
10. In the final tally, 90% of all Republicans, 48% of Independents, and 9% of Democrats cast their ballots for Trump, and although he lost the popular vote by a substantial margin, he won the Electoral Vote with 290 votes vs. Clinton’s 232 (Michigan has yet to finish voting, and its 16 electoral votes have not yet been awarded as of November 21, 2016.)