The 2016 U.S. presidential election had one of the most surprising outcomes in modern history. Most professional pundits, commentators, and lawmakers were shocked when Donald Trump was named the winner over Hillary Clinton of this close contest. Unlike almost all other presidential elections within the last century, the 2016 race had a set of unique circumstances that made the outcome what it was. Here are eight situations that helped create this perfect storm of surprise and confusion.
There’s no doubt anymore that Russia definitely played a role in the 2016 presidential election. Throughout the months leading up to election day, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump had some interesting things to say about each other. While there’s still some debate about how much interference Russia took part in to help influence the voters’ decision, things may have turned out differently if Russia’s officials and Putin stayed mum about how they felt about Trump and Clinton. Now, there is a large investigation into the exact amount of influence this regime had on the Trump campaign and some Republican lawmakers.
2. Reality Television
Reality television is another potential force that could have been a deciding factor on the election. The Republican nominee, Donald Trump, has a long history of being a reality television star. His appearances on NBC’s The Apprentice gave his name much more power throughout the United States. Nearly everyone already knew about Trump because of his reality television history. Additionally, Trump and his campaign had many different things happen throughout the process that kept viewers glued to their television news each night.
3. Clinton Fatigue
Another big issue that impacted the surprising results of the election was Hillary Clinton. Some voters, both Democrats and Republicans, weren’t happy about having to elect another Clinton for the office of president. Even though former president Bill Clinton had a successful eight years in office, many voters still were disgusted with his past legal troubles and rumors about his womanizing. Bill Clinton’s extramarital affairs made people around the nation have a strong sense of Clinton fatigue and choose a different presidential candidate.
4. The Sanders’ Effect
Before the final showdown between Trump and Clinton, Bernie Sanders tried in vain to win the Democratic nomination. Long after Clinton secured the nomination, Sanders’ fans were still going strong. When it was time to cast their votes for president, many of them couldn’t let go of the fact that Clinton won over their favorite candidate and chose to vote for Trump instead.
5. Facebook and Twitter
Next, the influence of social media was felt on a presidential election for the first time in history. No one could have predicted how important Twitter and Facebook would be in the 2016 campaign. Twitter became a sounding board for Donald Trump throughout the campaign. Facebook allowed people who were fans of Trump or haters of Clinton to band together and share various types of news stories, some actually inaccurate or fake.
6. Fox News
Fox News was also a big deciding factor in the most recent presidential election. The conservative-leaning news network continued to support candidate Trump throughout the campaign. Commentators and news presenters often offered much criticism to the Democrats, especially Hillary Clinton.
7. James Comey
The former head of the FBI, James Comey, also played a role in the results of the election. Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server was a top story. When the FBI got involved, James Comey was not quiet about some of the aspects of the investigation. Some believe that a release of his letter to Congress about launching a new search for additional emails was ill-timed for the election. Today, if you want to see how things could have been without this influence, you can try this elections game by Redwerk that simulates the electoral process.
8. The Hacks
The last event that most likely affected the election outcome was the hacks of 2016. Over the summer in 2016, sensitive material from the Democratic National Committee was released to the public. This hacked information made the public trust the Democratic side less than they already had. Some of the hacked material showed some division between Clinton supporters and Sanders supporters.
The 2016 presidential election will go down in history as one of the most memorable. These influences on the election helped secure the surprising outcome.