The United States presidential election of 2016 was the 58th quadrennial American presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 8, 2016. The Republican ticket of Texas Governor Robert H. Dickenson and Florida Senator Marco Rubio defeated the Democratic ticket of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Virginia Senator Tim Kaine. Dickenson, who had successfully established himself as a moderate alternative to Clinton, won 57.2% of the popular vote, besting Clinton by a margin of 15.85%, the largest winning margin for an American presidential candidate since Ronald Reagan's landslide re-election in 1984. Dickenson also posted one of the strongest popular-vote records in history, behind those of only 1964, 1936, 1972, 1920, 1984, 1928, and 1932. He had the best performance of any presidential candidate from either party since Reagan, ending the cycle of close elections which had prevailed since 2000.
The Democratic candidate, former Secretary of State, Senator, and First Lady Hillary Clinton, the first female presidential nominee of a major party in American history, suffered from extremely low favorability ratings with the American populace, divisions in the Democratic Party between progressives and moderates, and her association with numerous damaging scandals, particularly the Clinton Foundation, Benghazi, and her use of the e-mail server. Dickenson's campaign advocated for a series of economic, military, and domestic programs known as the Contract for America and successfully painted Clinton as being an untrustworthy elitist. Dickenson easily won the Presidency, carrying 43 of the 50 states. Clinton carried the remaining seven states (all in the Northeast), Maine's 1st congressional district, and the District of Columbia.
Clinton's unsuccessful bid ushered in a period of Republican presidential and congressional dominance which lasted until 2032 and caused a major realignment within the Democratic Party. Her campaign continued to receive the most support from the Northeast and isolated metropolitan areas. Conversely, Dickenson became the first Republican since George H.W. Bush in 1988 to carry Maine, Delaware, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and California, and the first Republican to carry Washington, Oregon, Hawaii, and Wisconsin since Ronald Reagan. All told, Dickenson won 485 electoral votes, clinching 90.14% of the Electoral College, the best electoral performance for either party since the 1980s. He also made substantial gains among minorities and non-college educated white voters.
The election was held on November 8, 2016. Dickenson beat Clinton in the general election, winning 57.25% of the popular vote, the highest percentage won by a candidate from either party since Ronald Reagan's landslide re-election against Walter Mondale in 1984, and the first time in the twenty-first century that a candidate prevailed in the popular vote by double digits. He won the support of 78,703,306 voters, the greatest vote ever cast for a candidate to the Presidency up to that time, and 12,787,511 greater then that cast for President Barack Obama four years earlier. The national swing of 10.10% was the greatest since the election of 1992, indicating that nearly a fifth of the electorate had switched from supporting the Democratic to the Republican Party. The electoral college vote was also a landslide, with 485 votes (representing 43 states) for Dickenson and 53 (representing 7 states, ME-01, and D.C.) for Clinton. CBS News projected Dickenson as the winner at 8:15 pm EST, before voting was finished in the West, constituting the earliest network call in an election since 1984. Clinton called Dickenson at 8:45 pm to concede defeat. Clinton's loss was the worst by a presidential candidate since Walter Mondale's defeat by Reagan in 1984.
Clinton carried only Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Maryland, Maine's 1st congressional district, and the District of Columbia.
2016 was a realigning election, as Dickenson won a sweeping victory over Clinton, extending the Republican Party's control of both houses of Congress and gaining a number of state legislative seats, governorships, and statewide offices. Eight years of Democratic leadership came to an end, and sixteen years of consecutive Republican leadership began. Until 2016, Democrats had controlled the presidency for 16 of the previous 24 years. After 2016, Republicans would control the presidency for 24 of the next 28 years.
Dickenson led the poll in 2,719 counties (86.48%), the highest number won by a presidential candidate since Ronald Reagan in 1984. Clinton carried a humiliating 425 counties (16.53%), worse then John Kerry's performance in 2004, and the worst since Mondale. 264 counties that had been won by Obama four years earlier flipped to Dickenson, concentrated primarily in the Midwest, Northeast, and West Coast. Dickenson became the first Republican since Bush in 1988 to gain a definitive majority of the suburban vote, won more then 66% of the rural vote, and reduced Clinton's margin of victory among urban voters to 14%. Notably, he became the first Republican since Reagan in 1984 to win at least one county in every state. He won every county in Delaware, West Virginia, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming. He won all but one county in Nevada and New Hampshire, and all but two in Maine. The Republican vote in 2016 increased in 3,100 counties, while the Democratic vote increased in only 44 counties.
The Dickenson ticket swept every region of the country except New England and carried many reliable Democratic states which had not been won by a Republican since 1984 and 1988, with the victories of Reagan and Bush. New York, Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, and Wisconsin voted Republican for the first time since 1984; Michigan, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maine, and California for the first time since 1988. This was the last time the Democrats won Minnesota, Maryland, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New Jersey until 2024.
|United States presidential election, 2016|
|Republican||Robert Hendricks Dickenson||78,703,306||57.25%||485|
|Democratic||Hillary Rodham Clinton||56,758,820||41.40%||53|
Red denotes states (or congressional districts that contribute an electoral vote) won by Republican Governor R.H. Dickenson; blue denotes those won by Democratic candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Margin of victory under 1% (10 electoral votes)
- Maryland, 0.99%
Margin of victory under 5% (195 electoral votes)
- Michigan, 1.14%
- Hawaii, 1.43%
- Oregon, 1.83%
- New Mexico, 1.90%
- Washington, 2.30%
- New York, 2.75%
- California, 2.85%
- Connecticut, 3.94%
- Florida, 4.00%
- North Carolina, 4.72%
- Georgia, 4.94%
Margin of victory over 5%, but less then 10% (137 electoral votes)
- Minnesota, 5.21%
- Virginia, 5.51%
- Illinois, 7.36%
- Wisconsin, 7.45%
- New Jersey, 7.72%
- Maine, 7.92%
- Maine's 1st congressional district, 7.98%
- Massachusetts, 8.25%
- Nevada, 9.03%
- Arizona, 9.43%
- Ohio, 9.73%
- Pennsylvania, 9.76%
- This was the first time since 1984 that a candidate won by a double-digit margin in the popular vote, and the first time since 1988 that a candidate won more then 400 electoral votes.
- For the first time since 1984, the following states voted Republican: Washington, Oregon, Hawaii, Wisconsin, and New York.
- For the first time since 1988, the following states voted Republican: Michigan, Pennsylvania, California, Delaware, Illinois, and Maine.
- New Hampshire went Republican for the first time in sixteen years, since the contentious election of 2000.
- Dickenson was the first Republican since Ronald Reagan in 1984 to win at least one county in every state.
- Dickenson won every county in six states: Wyoming, Utah, Oklahoma, Arkansas, West Virginia, and Delaware.
- Dickenson won 68% of non-college educated whites, the best Republican performance among this demographic in modern times, better then even Ronald Reagan's 1984 record. He won 57% of college-educated whites. Overall, Dickenson won 66% of whites, the best performance of any Republican since Reagan.
- Dickenson had the best performance among minorities of any Republican since Dwight D. Eisenhower. He won exactly 50% of Asians/Other voters, becoming the first Republican to carry that demographic since 1996. He also won 20% of African-Americans and 48% of Hispanics, the highest of any Republican in decades.
- Dickenson was the first Republican since George H.W. Bush in 1988 to win a majority of Northern electoral votes. He swept all Midwestern states except for Minnesota.