What is 'whitelash', and why are experts saying it led to Donald Trump's election?

Caucasian voters have turned out in their masses to elect Republican, according to polls

Harriet Agerholm
Wednesday 09 November 2016 17:15 GMT
Trump's presidency could put off millions of potential visitors to the US
Trump's presidency could put off millions of potential visitors to the US (Getty Images)

While pre-election commentary was dominated by speculation about whether Donald Trump’s controversial remarks about black and Hispanic people would spark an angry backlash from minority voters, one major demographic group went largely ignored.

According to the exit polls, white voters turned out in their masses to elect Mr Trump as president – and this perceived act of angry rebellion has been dubbed "whitelash". But what is this concept?

Where did the term come from?

Visibly reeling from the shock US election result, CNN commentator and attorney Van Jones said: “This was a whitelash.

"This was a whitelash against a changing country, it was a whitelash against a black president in part. And that’s the part where the pain comes.”

Van Jones perfectly sums up the 'nightmare' of Trump's surprise victory

What is the evidence for it?

The US Census Bureau will eventually release an official and comprehensive round-up of which population group voted for whom, but exit polling has given some early insights into the demographics of the electorate.

According to Edison Research's national election poll, which collected results from 24,537 respondents in 350 polling stations, nearly 60 per cent of all white voters chose Mr Trump.

And they made up the bulk of the voters: 69 per cent of Americans who turned up to the polling stations were white.

Mr Trump did not just perform well with white blue-collar voters. The Republican performed well with voters of both genders and almost all ages and education levels.

The only exception was white, college educated women, 51 per cent of whom opted for Hillary Clinton.

Among non-white voters, who make up 31 per cent of the electorate, only voted 21 per cent opted for the Republican.

The demographic break-down comes amid growing concern over racial tensions in the US after a series of deaths of black men at the hands of police.

As news of Mr Trump winning the White House broke, former Klu Klux Klan leader David Duke said it was "one of the most exciting nights of my life".

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