- Hillary Clinton lost the election because of voting results in the outstate Midwest—counties beyond the region’s million-plus metro areas.
- The 50 electoral votes Donald Trump captured in Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin were responsible for his victory.
- In the future, the 2016 election results might draw more politicians’ attention to voters in the previously disregarded outstate Midwest.
These are all places with many non-college whites and few blacks, Hispanics or Asians. Trump's stands on trade and immigration — distinctly different from those of other Republicans — were surely partly responsible for his outstate margins, and it seems unlikely another Republican nominee could have matched them.
Two other factors were in play, factors which led to sharp Democratic gains in these same areas in the 1970s. One was honesty: The outstate Midwest recoiled against Richard Nixon's Republicans in the Watergate years and against Clinton email lawbreaking and lies. That helped Trump, and probably would have helped any other Republican nominee.
The other factor is dovishness. The upper Midwest has long been the most isolationist part of the country. In the 1970s, voters there reacted against Republicans' support of the Vietnam War. This year, they seem to have moved toward Trump, who opposed military interventions supported by other Republicans. It seems unlikely another Republican nominee could have duplicated this appeal.