The ways that the 2016 election was perfectly normal

In actuality, the state of the nation’s economy — growing slowly — was predicting a very close election in 2016: a contest that either party could win.

For all of the exceptionalism of 2016, the outcome was remarkably typical. The final vote share was very close, as the low growth rate and lack of an incumbent suggested it would be.

But just because the outcome was as close as the fundamental conditions predicted it would be doesn’t mean that many of the articles about how Mr. Trump won are wrong. Could it be true that misogyny played a role, as Hillary Clinton suggested a few weeks ago? Yes. What about the ascent of white voters without college degrees in the Rust Belt? Or the increasing rates of drug-related deaths and the increasing polarization around race, religion and ethnocentrism? With an election that turns on roughly 75,000 votes in three states, a lot of things can be pivotal.

Good work is being done trying to figure out who was in the 9 percent of the electorate that moved from Barack Obama in 2012 to Mr. Trump in 2016 (and the smaller share that moved from Mitt Romney to Mrs. Clinton).

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