I'm not sure I agree that the Trump victory was more socially based vs economic. I think you posted once that when there is a close election you can just about explain it based on any of a series of variances\causes. That I certainly agree with. But I think with time we haven't forgotten where we were in 2015 and 2016 and what the economic fear factors were. Part of the Trump hysteria IMO is the need to explain our current economy as just an extension of the "Obama recovery." But pace of GDP growth was falling precipitously in 2016.
I recall there was real concern, after a couple of quarterly growth "stalls'" over the years, that it hadn't been as strong as expected and we were losing the recovery. Growth is the only way an economy like ours is going to be able to address these off-book liabilities we continue to accumulate. And just as an aside, I understand that it is now conventional wisdom that financial recession recoveries are inately slower, but there is counter writing on that belief. The Hoover Institute was challenging that in a couple of studies at the time, one article was published in the WSJ. It's on the internet if you want to read it fully. Following is part of their writing:
"In a recent working paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research, Joseph Haubrich of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and I examined U.S. business cycles from 1880 to the present. Our study not only confirms Friedman's plucking model but also shows that deep recessions associated with financial crises recover at a faster pace than deep recessions without them.
We measured the depth of a contraction by the percentage drop in quarterly real gross domestic product from peak to trough. We measured the strength of the recovery in several ways: first as the percentage change in quarterly GDP in the first four quarters after the trough, then also looking further into the expansion. So, for example, since the 1920 recession lasted six quarters, we looked six quarters into the subsequent expansion.
We found that recessions that were tied to financial crises and were 1% deeper than average have historically led to growth that is 1.5% stronger than average. This pattern holds even when we account for various measures of financial stress, such as the quality spread between safe U.S. Treasury bonds and BAA corporate bonds and bank loans.
By contrast, the Reinhart/Rogoff analysis focuses on how long it takes the economy to return to its precrisis output level. Since contractions related to financial crises are generally deeper and longer than other recessions, they are followed by recoveries that take longer than normal to see output return: Since 1887, the growth of real GDP over both the recession and the recovery was 1.2% in recessions with financial crises and 2.2% in those without.
But that says little about how fast the economy grows once the recovery starts. As we found, since the 1880s, the average annual growth rate of real GDP during recoveries from financial-crisis recessions was 8%, while the growth rate from nonfinancial-crisis recessions was 6.9%.
Two cases underlying the averages were the financial-crisis recession of 1907-08 (which led to the founding of the Federal Reserve) and the infamous nonfinancial-crisis recession of 1937-38. In 1907-08, the recession drop in GDP was 12% and the recovery was 13%—perfectly consistent with Friedman's plucking model. In 1937-38 the drop was 13% and the recovery 7%. Thus the slow recovery that we are experiencing from the recession that ended in July 2009 is an exception to the historical pattern." I'm not going to tell you who's right; my experts vs yours I suppose but I just wouldn't except the conventional wisdom (regardless of how often it is repeated on Morning Joe) as absolute.
Employment wise, the labor participation rate was frankly scary and a large concern. Yes, I understand baby boom retirement etc,, but if I could overlay the unemployment rate over the participation rate from 4Q15 thru 2016 the trendline needed to be stopped, and largely was in the 2016 election.
Tie in falling real wages and I think there was a lot more economic concern than conventional wisdom wants to remember during the election.
The stat that sticks with me was that over 80% of the exit polls indicated that people who had made up their minds during the week before the election voted for Trump. And my read is those people held their nose thinking that "maybe a business man will be what's needed down there" moreso than "maybe he'll change the culture in the country if I vote for him."
Were there bigots that voted for Trump; sure. But they didn't vote for Obama in 2012 and 2008 and it was that latter group that switched and in sufficient numbers to elect him. And I think that was because they felt they needed a bolder voice that would fight for their economic welfare than Obama had, and feared that economic welfare was getting worse at that time.