Typically, online advertising alone is a $149 billion annual business. However, Donald Trump had a whole different idea when it came to advertising, and it won him the election.
No story has dominated the media the way Donald Trump’s has since 9/11 — not the Afghan War, the capture of Osama Bin Laden, or the death of King of Pop Michael Jackson. He colonized all media outlets; print, social media and online, and television, with only 12% of the staffers as his opponent Hilary Clinton.
So how exactly did he do it? Trump ran a media campaign that was exactly as unconventional as this past election year, by isolating the media and making them furious worked in his favor. He attacked the journalists on a personal level, called them names such as sleazy, dishonest, and not good people.
Trump blacklisted specific reporters from coming to his rallies, mocked a disabled reporter, and questioned the credibility of long-established, nationally recognized and well-known media channels such as the New York Times in a form of manipulation that worked out in his favor.
As a result of his attacking-the-press strategy, no one mainstream outlet had any influence over the voters backing the nominee of their choice. In the first time in U.S. history, these highly popular media outlets were attacked so vehemently that voters had no idea what to believe, which made it incredibly difficult for the papers to frame the issues of the presidential race efficiently.
Surprisingly enough, Trump managed this approach with only 94 payroll staffers compared to Clinton’s 795.
Trump’s media campaign also wiped the slate clean of what many would call a lack of political substance. Not anywhere in the three political debates were topics brought up concerning the Afghanistan War, the drug war and opioid epidemic, the next step for Social Security and Medicare, or even climate change. It seemed that not one media outlet wanted to bring up any of these issues as all Trump would just insult them and immediately change the subject.
However, this unconventional plan of action worked its magic on those living in rural America, particularly on farmers. While the number of farms in the U.S. — 229,237 as of 2013 — may not seem like a lot, the rural vote is what propelled Trump to declare victory.
Throughout all of the Republican states, Trump was able to succeed because he carried the vote in many blue-collar cities and rural farming communities.
“What we’re seeing across the country is that Trump is just outperforming other recent Republican candidates in a lot of these smaller, rural areas, and in small towns—in some areas that were once Democratic,” explains Alan Abramowitz, a political scientist at Emory University in Atlanta to the Wall Street Journal. “He’s getting huge margins out of these rural areas.”
But why? Trump appealed to anxious, working-class blue collar workers with promises of scaling back free trade and limiting immigration, with a combative personality that seemed to promise change in Washington. This appeal for change also attracted the older, white voter who felt as if the country was changing so rapidly that they were feeling left behind.
Tired of feeling neglected, 60% of the voters over 45 voted for Trump.
Trump’s overall numbers represent one of the largest change agents in electoral history. In the industrial Midwest, Trump held a 13-point GOP lead. He carried middle class, non-college educated white men by a whopping 39%, and the nationwide male vote by 12%.
Besides the disparaging generational and racial gaps, voters for Trump and Clinton held shockingly different opinions on the future of the American government. Clinton supporters believed the future was bright for those of all ages, while Trump voters said the country would only get worse.
Alas, such was the Trump campaign.