How the hell did that happen? Well… don’t ask me because I know just about as much as you do and that’s nothing. The answers are sparse on this one. Astounded is an understatement and just one of many words synonymous to it that could be used to describe this election outcome.
On the 7th of November, the day before the election, Fox, CBS, The Washington Post/ABC and the Economist/YouGov all had Clinton with a 4 point advantage over Trump. Just to give you some perspective, a net shift by 2 percentage points (meaning she would have won the popular vote by 3 to 4 percentage points) would have given Hilary the states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Florida, giving her 307 votes to Trump’s 231.
But, that’s all hypothetical and simply not what happened. Trump gained 306 Electoral College votes to Clinton’s 232. A debacle on the Clinton side considering the fortitude of the Democratic ‘Blue Wall’ (the 18 states and the District of Columbia that have voted for a Democratic President since 1992) was supposed to have her already at 242 votes, only 28 way from securing the presidential nomination.
So many people are chastising the polls for being so terribly inaccurate with their predictions. But, according to Nate Silver the average polls a week before the election will be out by approximately 2 points, which going by the average from 1968-2016 is in line with the poll predictions being 2 points out. In 2000, it was predicted that George Bush would beat Al Gore by votes but potentially lose on seats, but Bush actually got less votes than Al Gore and ended up with more seats. As well, in the 2012 election the average of polls a week before election had Obama beating Romney by 1.2 points and he ended winning by 3.9 points creating a 2 point difference. So this is not an unusual occurrence.
As perverse as it may seem to many reading this, Trump has to be given credit for this titanic victory. He is the first person EVER to become the President without having previously held political office. He did break the Blue Wall. The last time a Republican candidate won Wisconsin was 1984, the last a Republican candidate won in Michigan and Pennsylvania was 1988.
He was ridiculed by so many when he announced his candidacy. He was told he would not win primaries. He was told he would not win the Republican nomination. He was told he would never become president. He defied all those things and even if you abhor the outcome of the election, you have to give credit where credit is due.
Trump has painted America red and meanwhile Hilary is just left with her blues. She did not visit Wisconsin at all after the Democratic National Convention and overlooked Michigan throughout the campaign only to make a last ditch attempt in the final week with Obama, just to name a couple area of weakness in her campaign. She garnered 37% of white people’s vote, less than Obama’s 39% in the 2012 election.
She even failed to gain the support of white women, a CNN exit poll suggests that 53% of white women voted for trump. The lack of support from white women is particularly striking, given Hilary becoming the first female President was a glorified notion that was supposed to have enabled her to gain a majority backing from women of all ethnicities. Even though she did gain 54% from women overall, which is still only a small 4% swing, this lack of majority support from white women was one of many let downs for Clinton.
Some are even suggesting that Bernie Sanders would have beaten Trump had he been elected the Democrat nominee.
In Indiana (won by 5 points), Michigan (won by 2 points), West Virginia (won by 15 points) and Wisconsin (won by 14 points) Bernie beat Hilary. Which is something the blog All That Is Interesting, amongst many others, is saying could be part of the reason that Hilary lost in those states in the election. States of which potential democrat voters would feel aggrieved by the fact that the candidate they wanted was not running for the presidency.
Before I move on to say all of what is wrong with Trump’s impending presidency, I would just like to say a massive thank you to all of those who showed up to the US election all nighter. There were over 200 people present and the event would have been nothing without you. Despite a result many of us were stunned in too much disbelief to believe was true, hopefully a decent event soothed some of the pain temporarily.
A big thank you also to all of the committee members who helped to organise the event, ensure it ran smooth and cleared up all the mess left at the end. Here’s to more good events in the future
Regardless of the in-and-outs, what-ifs and what-maybes, whatever, Clinton lost and Trump is the President, so let’s focus on what the president-elect is like.
Contrary to his well-meaning, well-spirited, unity-promoting victory speech, Trump has been nothing but abhorrent on the campaign trail and that is set to continue into his presidency. Trump confirmed he would sign the First Amendment Defence Act which makes it illegal for the government to take “action against a person, wholly or partially on the basis that such person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognised as the union of one man and one woman, or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage”. This basically legitimises the discrimination against LGBT people in many sectors of life: marriage, employment, healthcare and the list goes on, as long as it is done in the name of religion. This will mean that Trump will repeal the executive orders of Obama which offered LGBT peoples protection from discrimination.
His running partner, and to-be Vice President, Mike Pence, said “Washington DC has no business imposing its bill and its values on communities around the nation” and that “common sense” should be used at the state level to resolve LGBT-related issues.
First of all, Mike Pence’s claim that it can be dealt with common sensically at state level is dumbfounding when states like North Carolina still have anti-transsexual laws. Even more sickeningly contemptible is the outright homophobia and transphobia being shown by this detestable man. To remove these protections is a fundamentally backwards step and claiming so on grounds of reduced government involvement is ideological nonsense and morally repulsive.
Furthermore, his whole Make America Great Again, build-a-wall, deport-the-immigrants rhetoric is equally disgustingly messed up. American is a supposed to be the beacon of democracy, the ruler of the free world and this is what it is coming to. A nation of immigrations too supercilious to recognise the very foundations they were built on.
Well, it’s not too bad, at least Trump has shifted it from an all-out Muslim ban to a temporary suspension a softer extreme vetting process which certainly will not add to the already ridiculously irrational level of stigma that the Muslim community is receiving in America. This is all coming from the deluded mind of man of claimed Arab-American’s were rallying in celebration after the 9/11 attacks.
On a more positive note, Seattle’s mayor Ed Murray said “We can’t allow ourselves to be divided and sorted out. That’s not America” and went on to say it will remain the Sanctuary city for immigrants despite Trump being President-elect. A flicker of hope in a sombre affair.
The thing not to get confused her is that not all Trump supporters are racist, xenophobic, sexist, homophobic people. Whilst Trump may be repugnantly objectifying women, recording basically admitting sexual assault, denigrating the Black Live Matter movement, his supports are not him. Much of this can be attributed to disaffection with the current political system, the want for a ‘real’ change as many seem to be putting it. Clinton, particularly to the white sector of society simply didn’t offer this.
As Jonathan Pie put it pre-recording one morning “Hilary represented… very little. Because she protects corporate interests. Because she doesn’t call the police when questions from the debate are leaked to her in advance”. Whilst it appears over-exaggerated, it is relevant and provides some insight into why people might have gone the other way. In an age of rising populism and disillusionment with the status quo or established systems, people wanted change, they wanted something different, even if that something different is a horribly discriminatory and dangerously ignorant man.
You may be reeling from the fact that after the first black President the US might have had the first women President too, taking the US down the line of historical progression and forward movement in a liberal democracy better situated to improve women’s rights. But, history has been made, Trump is the President-elect. What he represents is as equally abhorrent as the tactics he used to get there. Many will say Clinton was the lesser of two evils, but in a climate where you have to choose between the “evil of two lessers” (Dead Prez) rational decisions are not always so easy.
This does not change the fact that Trump has ran one of the most anger-fuelled, scandal-littered, everything-ist campaigns ever. This does not change the fact that for the next four years (assuming Trump does not get impeached) minorities will be subjected to discriminatory treatment no human deserves, that women will be mistreated, dehumanised and objectified with ridiculous ideas like fines for abortions and Trump’s blithe disregard on the issue of sexual assault (Obama has recently just passed laws to give greater protection to planned parenthood, but how long that will last with Trump and an all-Republic congress is beyond me), that the country will be even more deeply divided under his leadership.
But, those opposed to Trump should not react to this with mindless aggression and hostility. They need to channel that energy positively, they need to work towards ensuring that a repeat of such an event does not happen. They need to refrain from hurling abuse to Trump supports with generalisations, but instead be willing to change people’s mind. Yet again, to reference Jonathan Pie: “If you are unwilling to discuss then you are creating the conditions in which Donald trump and people like him can thrive”. Plus, America hasn’t just changed like that, according to the Pew Research Centre, gay marriage is supported by 55% to 37%, legal abortion 56% to 41% and that immigration helps the country by 59% to 33%. This all gives reason for hope that the American people are not as bad as their voting behaviour shows.
I actually wrote that last paragraph before I found out about multiple incidents of violence against people from the Muslim community. There have been reports of Muslim women having their Hijabs pulled from their head and being told to hang themselves with it, others being told they are no longer allowed in the country and to get out. This is soullessly heart-crushing to see, even if some of this was to be expected after Trump’s Islamophobia campaign. This type of behaviour may be seen to spread to affect many more minorities, as Bernie put it “what upsets me so much is we have struggle for so many years to overcome discrimination and Trump [has run] his campaign on bigotry”.
Times are politically terrifying, and I genuinely feel sorry for those who did not want Trump and even for those who do want Trump. I feel especially sorry for the greater plurality of 47.7% who voted for Clinton (0.2% greater than Trump). Almost as outrageous as Trump’s campaign is the fact the “beacon of democracy” can elect someone to be President who has less votes. How wonderfully democratic. The only hope rest with that of the potential decency of a misguided American people and that pain being short-lived. But, with an all-Republic Congress and an unstable man as President who knows what cards Trump could pull…