The Election of Donald Trump as President with Less Popular Votes
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The Election of Donald Trump as President with Less Popular Votes
The 2016 elections in the United States led to the victory of Republican Donald Trump. In the history of the United States, the former reality TV show star became the first oldest president of America with seventy years. He is also the first president to win the elections without any hands-on experience as a governor or serving in the congress. Despite losing with a remarkable margin, Trump became the forty-fifth president of America who lost in the popular votes but still managed to win the presidential elections.
The presidential elections in America follow an outlined process by the US constitution. After tedious campaign rallies, all Americans in all states cast their vote. Trump lost in the popular elections, with approximately 46% of the total cast votes. Hillary Clinton, his principal opponent, gathered about 48% of the entire cast votes. Political experts say this is the most astonishing margin of winning ever recorded in America, by a losing candidate (Nader, 2017). After popular votes are counted, the Electoral College gave Trump a good victory after gaining 306 votes out of the total votes. The constitution only requires him to get at least 270 of the votes.
Even after losing in the popular votes, Trump garnered more votes in the electoral votes making him the president of the United States. The popular votes which represent the will of the majority of Americans are not considered anymore at this stage. This is because; the constitution of the United States gives more power to the Electoral College; hence the electoral votes count is used in choosing the next president. America has proven to be deeply divided into various class lines. The 2016 election has shown that, and it is a factor which could have significantly contributed to Trump’s victory. In his campaign, Trump is seen to have used conflict-ridden and polarizing techniques. These tactics made Trump stand out. People are made to believe he was more genuine and would bring the change they wanted. Having no experience in the political field, Trump challenged Clinton, who had served in the congress by citing that she represented the status quo (Sharpe, 2017). Trump running as an ‘outsider’ in the 2016 elections gave him an advantage to win easily.
Trump is said to have run the most unconventional campaigns of all time in the history of politics. He focused on massive rallies in areas that were said to be out of reach. By doing so, Trump was able to win many black and white working-class voters in such rural and marginalized areas. In the end, his effort paid off since it is these crucial American states that contributed to most of his small victories. Trump’s two critical agendas during the campaign are entirely focused on loosening up immigration as well as ensuring free trade policies for Americans. From the time he began his campaigns, Trump promised to build a wall in the Mexican border and deport over eleven million unauthorized immigrants. He also pledged to ensure free trade agreements for businesspeople to secure manufacturing jobs for Americans (Lachmann, 2017). It is this drive that saw Trump winning the hearts of many white working-class voters during the Election Day. In the conventionally blue states of America, fight for trade policies and liberal immigration worked in favor of these populations, thus much gave their support to Donald Trump.
Trump is believed to have had no roots in the political world. However, having been in public for over thirty years in the TV show gave Trump recognition among people. His popularity is a critical factor in his victory since it is the reason why he got massive support from the media through advertising (Schmitt, 2018). Through this free advertising, he could capture the attention of many voters in a way he could not through speech during his campaign rallies. His voters are exceedingly motivated, and this is the reason they found him different from others; hence, they gladly gave him support
Another reason that is believed to have contributed to Donald Trump’s victory is the American constitution. The college system is an existing system that is mandated with choosing the US presidents since its founding fathers. The main reason for the Electoral College is to ensure that democracy is practiced (Orlova, 2018). It prevents the largest states in America from dominating in the presidential politics since they have the upper hand when it comes to voting. It is the Electoral College system that neutralizes the popular votes by ensuring that all states, including the marginalized ones, are well represented in the political system. Clinton, in her campaign, also made some mistakes that made her vulnerable to Trump. She ignored some important states that had previously contributed to the success of preceding democrats. She assumed that the voters in this state would give their support even without coaxing them to through campaigns. She did not put the same effort, and she was often absent during her campaigns. Trump took advantage of these states and went ahead to reach out to them through massive rallies (Sogrin, 2018). In the end, this turned out to be a good move for him. Additionally, during the last days of Clinton’s campaign, an FBI letter released showing her emails that linked her to misconduct. Most voters who had supported her during the campaign lost their trust in her.
Although Hillary Clinton garnered more popular votes with over two million than Trump, the outcome of the presidential elections is finally determined by the Electoral College. It is in the college stage that Trump was able to beat his main opponent Clinton. All the fifty states and the US capital, Washington DC, are well represented depending on their sizes and population. Therefore, it was easy for Trump to win in the Electoral College from a combination of states that had his back, including those that had supported democrats in the past.
Due to the powers mandated to the Electoral College by the US constitution, the difference between popular votes and the college system’s results is easy to distort. This happened in the 2016 election in the contest between Clinton and Trump (Breur, 2016)s. This is a result of each state-by-state winner claiming their electoral votes, and in the 2016 elections, this substantially worked for Trump, giving him a small but easy victory in various states. Despite losing in the popular votes, it became easy to win in the final stage of the elections. Trump manifesto to focus on trade policies, and anti-immigration has given him a competitive advantage in various key front line states in America. He, hence, got greater support from white-collar voters from the states of North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Wisconsin, among other states. Any previous leader who is seen to focus on trade policies in the past gained popularity in these states, such leaders have support from these minor states. The small wins in these key states played a great role in the victory of Trump.
It is quite unexpected for Trump to have won for the US presidency. Many survey polls in America could not predict his victory. Trump is believed to have had a completely different manifesto compared to his previous candidates. Americans claim they had been promised the same things by previous candidates. In this case, many American citizens are believed to have been ready for a change (Norpoth, 2016). Trump put more effort during his campaign on issues to do with immigration and international trade. His main goal in all his campaign is to make America greater. After losing in the popular votes, Trump still got to win for the presidency with the help of the Electoral College. The constitutional process is made of electors from all American states. The electoral system managed to garner 306 votes for Trump, making him the winner in the election. The system seems traditional and needs to be modernized (Dempsey, 2016). It is seen as a dividing factor among Americans, and it is deemed bad for many Americans. This is because the will of the majority of Americans is not considered. For example, if it were up to the will of American citizens, Hillary Clinton would have been declared the final winner in the 2016 elections.
In the constitution of America, other electoral candidates, except for the president and his vice president, are elected by the citizens through the popular votes. The political system dictates that the president and the vice president are elected by chosen electors from each state of America. By using this system, democracy is not exercised. The constitutional process through the Electoral College contradicts the will of many American citizens since it compromises between popular votes cast by citizens and votes in Congress cast by the electors.
Changing the Electoral College process would require constitutional amendments. It requires the support of the majority in the House of Congress as well as the help of individual states. Amending that part of the constitution would require support from the House of Congress by two-third of the house as well as three-quarters from individual state assemblies (Virgin, 2017). Such amendments will ensure that the will of the citizens of America is well represented. In case the constitution is amended, the popular votes are counted as the final determinant of the presidential elections. Hence, ensuring the people’s will is significantly put into consideration.
Although a move to amend the constitution would help America have the leaders the Americans choose for themselves, it is easier to say than to do. Getting a majority of states supporting the amendment is quite impossible since the Electoral College has been a culture. It has been in the history of America since it has been the very same guide to the founding fathers of America. Contrary to the belief that it is difficult to amend the law, a significant percentage of Republicans are likely to support the debate to ensure that democracy is well exercised.