Drury Professor Says Trump's Victory Reflects Public's "Desire for Change"

Nov 9, 2016

Credit Michele Skalicky / KSMU

A day after Republican Donald Trump pulled off an unexpected win against Democrat Hillary Clinton to become the United States' president-elect, KSMU talked with a political science professor at Drury University for answers to why the election turned out the way it did.

Dan Ponder says this election is reminiscent of the 2000 Presidential Election, when Al Gore received the popular vote, but Bush won the presidency. So far, Senator Hillary Clinton has the popular vote, but Donald Trump has won the presidency.

“It was a stunning victory for Donald Trump. It wasn’t completely unanticipated by polls, but in the end of course, she may end up having the support of more voters then he does, and he ends up with the presidency.

Ponder described this election as having a lot of populist rhetoric in the campaigns. He also pointed out that the models political scientists use to determine who may win, such as the Fundamentalist Model, predicted a Trump victory.

“One of the things that is a little bit puzzling is just how directly people wanted some sort of change.”

According to the early polls Ponder has seen, he believes that quite a few voters in this election voted more against someone than for a specific candidate, a concept known as negative voting.

“A lot of people were voting as much or perhaps even more against Hillary Clinton as they were for Donald Trump.”

Trump will be the first U.S. president without military or political experience. Ponder feels that reflects the American public's desire for change.

“It really taps into the idea that he’s able to dig into this outsider, this craving among some Americans, maybe a lot of Americans, for someone who doesn’t have experience, who doesn’t have all that much knowledge about government because I think at some level they may want government to be simple.”

Ponder says the race was much closer than he expected it to be.