Industrial Structure and Party Competition in an Age of Hunger Games: Donald Trump and the 2016 Presidential Election

100 Pages Posted: 16 Feb 2018  

Thomas Ferguson

University of Massachusetts Boston - Department of Political Science

Paul Jorgensen

University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) (Formerly University of Texas-Pan American)

Jie Chen

University of Massachusetts Boston

Date Written: February 1, 2018

Abstract

The U.S. presidential election of 2016 featured frontal challenges to the political establishments of both parties and perhaps the most shocking election upset in American history. This paper analyzes patterns of industrial structure and party competition in both the major party primaries and the general election. It attempts to identify the genuinely new, historically specific factors that led to the upheavals, especially the steady growth of a “dual economy” that locks more and more Americans out of the middle class and into a life of unsteady, low wage employment and, all too often, steep debts. The paper draws extensively on a newly assembled, more comprehensive database of political contributions to identify the specific political forces that coalesced around each candidate. It considers in detail how different investor blocs related to the Republican Party and the Trump campaign as the campaign progressed and the role small contributors played in the various campaigns, especially that of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. It also critically evaluates claims about the final weeks of the election in the light of important overlooked evidence.

Keywords: banking and financial regulation, political economy, presidential elections, Donald Trump, America First, political parties, political money, international economic policy

JEL Classification: D71, D72, G38, P16, N22, L51

Suggested Citation

Ferguson, Thomas and Jorgensen, Paul and Chen, Jie, Industrial Structure and Party Competition in an Age of Hunger Games: Donald Trump and the 2016 Presidential Election (February 1, 2018). Institute for New Economic Thinking Working Paper Series No. 66. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3125217 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3125217

Thomas Ferguson (Contact Author)

University of Massachusetts Boston - Department of Political Science ( email )

Boston, MA 02125
United States
617-265-7173 (Fax)

Paul Jorgensen

University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) (Formerly University of Texas-Pan American) ( email )

201 West University Drive
Edinburg, TX 78539
United States

Jie Chen

University of Massachusetts Boston ( email )

100 William T Morrissey Blvd
Boston, MA 02125
United States

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