New York Times columnist Thomas Edsall spoke at Pitzer College’s Benson Auditorium on Monday, Nov. 14. Edsall, who has taught Public Affairs Journalism at Columbia University in addition to his position as a regular columnist for the Times, offered his insight into Trump’s victory. Edsall attributed the surprise win to a sense of disenfranchisement among young male voters. “The Trump Revolution was a revolution of men,” specifically working-class white men who identified with Trump’s message and socioeconomic promises, Edsall said. The GOP voting shift in predominantly midwestern and Great Lakes counties where Trump outperformed Romney evidenced this “revolution.”
Edsall also examined trends of political opinion by demographic: for example, there is greater nostalgia for the 1950s in America among white, Christian and working-class Americans and an increased aversion to politically correct language among white men. He noted trends among conservative Americans preferring conservative values, including policing of manners and behavior of children, support for “traditional values” and the belief that “people should not do things that are disgusting, even if no one is harmed.” Edsall closed off his presentation with a look at the bipartisan divide: in the 2016 election, Republicans viewed Democrats as more threatening to the nation than the Democrats viewed them, and the voting population was more ideologically polarized than the population at large. The event closed off with questions about how to move forward from the election and what problems could have been addressed in Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Josue Pasillas and Shivani Kavuluru contributed reporting.