How Could Donald Trump Win in 2016 Presidential Election? Part II
The electoral system in the United States is a system where the “winner-takes-all ” system with majority voting . This means that the presidential candidate who gets the most votes in a state gets all the electors from there. These appoint (well) the president after the election. In this way, the fathers of the constitution made sure that one had a safety valve on the election of the (feared and “uninformed”, as they saw it) masses. In reality, voters today vote in line with the results of the individual states; thus, they also have no independent role as a safety valve. Throughout history, 99 percent of the voters have followed the voting of the inhabitants. Regardless: On December 19, the electors come together and cast their votes. The winner in a state has all the electors from there.
There are a total of 538 voters . A presidential candidate then needs at least 270 voters to gain a majority and thus win the election. Thus, we should believe that it is important to court the voters in the largest states – such as California, the most populous state and with the most voters (55). Texas is the second largest, with 38. But neither Clinton nor Trump were often in these states (other than to raise money for the election campaign). Why not?
The reason is that the majority of voters in California stably votes for the Democratic Party, while in Texas the majority has voted for the Republican Party in all eight presidential elections since 1980. Thus, the real battle for the election is fought in a few so-called “swing states “. That is, states that swing back and forth between the two parties from presidential to presidential elections.
In recent elections, the most important swing states have been Florida (with 29 voters) and Ohio (with 18). In addition, in 2012 and 2016 there was a battle for North Carolina (15), Virginia (13), Colorado (9), Nevada (6), Iowa (6) and New Hampshire (4). The fact that Latinos make up an ever-increasing proportion of the population in many of these tilting states makes this group even more attractive to the two presidential candidates. This year, Clinton won Virginia, Nevada and Colorado, which appear to be permanent states for the Democrats, while Trump won Florida, Ohio, Iowa, North Carolina and (surprisingly) Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania – states in the Rust Belt (very old and partly closed down heavy industry) which one did not believe at all were rocking states.
The electoral system in the USA is thus a system where “the winner-takes-everything”. Thus, Trump needed only 47.9 percent of the votes in Wisconsin to get all the voters there (there were also other parties on the ballot, which meant that neither of the two major parties won a pure (also called absolute) majority, ie over 50 percent).
In addition, the United States, a country located in North America according to Localcollegeexplorer, is a two-party system – throughout history, the struggle has mostly been between only two political parties. There are some exceptions: In 2000, the Greens ran with a presidential candidate, Ralph Nader, and he managed to get some votes. Some claim this deprived the Democratic candidate (Al Gore) of the election victory that year. The regulations still make it difficult for smaller parties to establish themselves, so this is relatively unusual.
This year, however, we again saw a lot of activity from two smaller parties: the Greens, led by Jill Stein, and the Liberal Party (“Libertarian Party”) led by Gary Johnson. In key states such as Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, North Carolina and Florida, the small party received many more votes than Trump’s winning margin over Clinton. Thus, it is possible that these parties had a ” spoiler effect ” – a party with zero chances of winning splits a herd of politically relatively like-minded people and thus prevents one of the two key candidates from winning.
3: How to get there in different constituencies?
Clinton went to the polls with a lot of confidence. The Obama coalition, strengthened by a strong mobilization of young voters and minority groups, was seen as the majority of the future after the victories in 2008 and 2012. Political commentators therefore predicted that it would be difficult for Republicans in the near future to win back the majority from George W. Bush’s glory days. But after just two years, Republicans had won back the majority in the House of Representatives and made up for much of what they lost in the Senate. In 2012, however, Obama was clearly re-elected, and the Democrats gained a majority in the Senate, but not in the House of Representatives.