Public Comment

Why Trump Really Won

Harry Brill
Friday November 11, 2016 - 04:55:00 PM

Already there have been reams of article attempting to answer the question why voters found Trump more appealing than Hillary. The problem, however, is that if we ask the wrong questions we will come up with the wrong answer. Both candidates for good reasons were not popular candidates. But Hillary was less unpopular. After all, she won a majority of the popular vote. It was certainly not an overwhelming majority. But had she ran for office in many other countries, she would have won the election. 

So the important and relevant question is, then, why did she lose the election? One answer is the serious imperfections in the electoral college system. The relative number of electoral college votes states receive does not necessarily correlate with their population. That is why Gore in year 2000 lost the election even though his popular vote exceeded George Bush by a half million. To illustrate the problem, Wyoming has one electoral votes for every 177,556 individual. Texas has one electoral vote for about every 715,499 persons. In short, the electoral college system is unbalanced and therefore undemocratic. 

Had Bernie Sanders received the presidential nomination he most likely would have beaten Trump both in the popular and electoral college vote. But the illegal and unethical maneuvers of the Democratic Party made his nomination impossible. In retrospect, would we conclude that the Democratic Party National Committee made a mistake? Absolutely not. If you understand the political character of the Democratic Party, it will do what it can to avoid a genuinely left candidate, particularly one who calls himself a socialist. Of course, the Party would have preferred Hillary winning the election. But it would much prefer losing with Hillary than winning with Bernie. 

Mainly the Republicans did what they could to prevent a Hillary victory. Among the efforts to discourage casting a vote for Hillary was by limiting the voting opportunities. So polling stations were reduced by 868, which required many on the line to wait up to 5 hours to vote. Since 2012, the number of voting places in the Phoenix, Arizona area, for example, has been reduced from 200 to 60. So each voting place averages 21,000 per registered voter. With huge lines generally at many polling place, , many who want to vote couldn't wait that long, and so they left before voting. The reduction in voting places is among the casualties of the Supreme Court's decision to gut the Voting Rights Act. These states no longer require federal approval to make such changes. 

In 2016, 14 states have adopted new voting restrictions for the first time in a presidential election. This is part of a broader move to curtail voting rights for the purpose of making it harder to vote. Many other states already had already adopted stricter laws to discourage voting. To exclude African Americans, even doing so for minor issues, were employed. For example, a minor error in filling out personal information could result in a refusal to count the vote. Also, in many jurisdictions, it could be difficult to obtain a voter ID card despite a court order. Black voters have even been denied the vote because they had relocated but had not yet reported their new address. And in several states, early voting opportunities were abolished There are many tricks to encourage imaginative racists As one writer noted, these suppression laws at the very least tipped the balance in favor of the Republican Party. 

There have been several articles that have attempted to explain why the pollsters were wrong. These articles point to various oversights, which there certainly were. But they neglect to mention the most serious problem. The pollsters assumed an unblemished and completely honest election They neglected to take account of how rigged the system is. Indeed, the election was certainly rigged