At the same time he repelled her push into the Sunbelt. As I wrote on Election Day:
The worst-case scenario for her is that Trump’s blue-collar blitz narrowly pushes him past her in some of the Rustbelt states she needs, while she cannot advance quite enough among minority and college-educated white voters to overcome his non-college-educated, non-urban, religiously devout coalition in Sunbelt states like North Carolina, Florida, Nevada, and Colorado, much less Arizona and Georgia. Transitioning between her party’s past and future, Hillary Clinton’s nightmare is that she might be caught awkwardly in between.
For Trump the key to that pincer move was his remarkable success among white working class voters
As polls had predicted for months, the Trump coalition was centered on white voters without a college education. Exit polls posted on CNN.com showed him crushing Clinton among those voters by enormous margins almost everywhere, particularly in the South. Trump beat Clinton among non-college whites by 18 percentage points in New Hampshire, 21 in Colorado, 22 in Arizona, 24 points in Wisconsin, 31 points in Michigan, and 35 points in Missouri. The margin swelled to enormous margins in Southern states: 34 points in Florida, 40 points in North Carolina, fully 64 points in Georgia. Even in states where Clinton ran well overall, like New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Washington, Trump’s margins among blue-collar whites were enormous.
In several cases, those showings represented significant declines for Clinton relative to Obama in 2012. According to the exit polls as of around 10 p.m., her share of the vote among non-college whites, relative to Obama’s showing in 2012, fell 14 points in Maine, 13 points in Michigan, 12 points in New Hampshire, 11 points in Colorado, 10 points in Wisconsin, nine points in Pennsylvania, and six points in Florida. It didn’t change much in key Southern states such as Virginia and North Carolina only because Obama’s number was so low in the first place. The national exit poll, as of 3 a.m., showed Trump beating Clinton among non-college whites by a stunning 39 percentage points—even larger than Ronald Reagan's margin against Walter Mondale during his landslide victory in 1984.
In some traditionally Democratic states, Clinton was able to overcome this surge with strong performances among minority voters and college-educated whites. The exit polls gave her 55 percent of college whites in New Jersey and Wisconsin, 54 percent in New Hampshire, and 51 percent in Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Washington. Compared to Obama, she improved the Democratic showing among college-educated whites in Arizona, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. But in other key battlegrounds like Michigan, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Ohio she only essentially matched his performance; in Florida she slipped slightly among the white-collar whites. Overall, the national exit poll showed her improving among college-educated whites over Obama in 2012, but only by three percentage points, and losing them narrowly to Trump. (As a result, the record of no Democrat ever winning most college-educated whites remained intact.) Despite strong performances among minority voters, that left her with too narrow a coalition to withstand the Trump blue-collar surge.