The 2016 American presidential election is one of the most remarkable in history. For the first time in the history of the United States, a person with no political or military experience was elected the president thus defeating one of the most remarkable figures in the recent American political scene. Furthermore, it was only the fourth time in the history of the country when the person who won the popular vote, lost the collegiate vote. This essay is an analysis of the 2016 presidential election.
The 2016 presidential election was full of surprises from the major parties. Against all the odds, billionaire businessman Donald Trump won the Republican ticket on an anti-establishment rhetoric. As for Democrats, Clinton was the ticket bearer. The Libertarian Party nominated the Gary Johnson while the Greens nominated Jill Stein. Hillary Clinton was expected to win as she got a wide endorsement, including that from senior Republican leaders who termed Trump’s rhetoric divisive (Luhby). However, Donald Trump won by projected Electoral College vote of 306 compared to Clinton’s 232 (Luhby). Many pundits have attributed Trump’s victory to his populist ideology as for most of the issues. He advocated for a restriction on immigration, including building a border wall between US and Mexico, called for trade restrictions, and lastly, rallied against the establishment (Luhby). With many Americans being tired of the politics in Washington who seemed to care little for an ordinary person, Americans chose a candidate who had little or no relation to politics (Luhby). This was possibly the most important factor in the elections.
The Electoral College is one of the distinctive elements in the American electoral system. In most of the cases, the person who has won the popular vote has also led in the collegiate vote (Tyson and Maniam). However, in this case, the Collegiate Vote went overwhelmingly to Donald Trump, while Clinton seemed to have won the popular vote in numbers exceeding two million, something which is unprecedented (Leip). Consequently, unlike in most other previous elections, the Electoral College looks set to give the person defeated with the largest margin ever in the popular vote the presidency.
The breakdown of voters in this election was also interesting. A significant number of the electorate who were qualified to vote did not cast their ballots. More than one hundred and thirty million voters took part in the elections while more than ninety-five million did not vote (Tyson and Maniam). Consequently, the percentage of the electorate who cast their ballots continued to drop from more than sixty-one percent in 2008 and more than fifty-eight percent in 2012 to fifty-seven percent in 2016 (Tyson and Maniam). The voter apathy in this year’s elections is attributable to several things. In the first place, most states in the US are controlled by one of the parties; thus, there is a feeling among electorate that their votes will not count (Luhby). Secondly, the gerrymandering had the same effect, with the party in power at the state level ensuring that most seats are safe. Moreover, Clinton seemed unable to inspire the people who voted for Obama to vote for her; some people just stayed at home rather than voted for her (Luhby). The strict voter ID laws in some of the states might also have discouraged some of the voters from coming to the voting places (Luhby). These factors played a significant part in the success of Donald Trump.
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As for most demographic groups, there was a lower voter turnout. Blacks formed twelve percent of the electorate ion the US presidential elections (Shearn). This was a drop from more than thirteen percent of those who voted in 2012 (Shearn). Eighty-eight percent of those who turned out to vote supported Clinton, and only eight percent voted for Trump (Shearn). Moreover, Hispanics made eleven percent of the electorate in this election (Shearn). They were possibly the only group to show an increase in voting rates from ten percent in 2012. The Asian voters were four percent of all the voters in the country. Among the young voters (aged eighteen to twenty-nine years), Clinton won 55% of the votes compared to Trump’s 37%. Among women, Clinton was to win fifty-four percent of the female electorate, with Trump having forty-two percent. The white voters, who declined from seventy-two percent of the electorate to seventy percent in 2016, thirty-seven percent voted for Clinton and fifty percent for Trump. In all these cases, there was an apparent drop in the numbers of voters in 2012 as compared to those that voted in 2016. In the key battleground state of Florida, Trump won largely due to voters who seemed to have a deep distrust towards Washington (Tyson and Maniam). In another battleground states, Ohio and Carolina, the President-elect won too (Tyson and Maniam). Fifty-two percent of college graduates backed Clinton as compared to Trump’s fourth-three percent; among those who do not have a college degree, Trump got fifty-two percent opposed to Clinton’s fifty-four percent (Tyson and Maniam). All these factors led to an overall Trump winning.
In conclusion, the 2016 US presidential elections were some of the most remarkable in the recent history. One candidate won the collegiate vote in a very convincing manner while the other seems to be winning the popular vote by preceded margins for a candidate who has lost the presidency. Hillary Clinton lost the vote as Trump concentrated on his anti-establishment and populist messages, which won him votes among the white majority and Americans without college education. Although Clinton won among the minorities, they all voted in lower numbers than they did for Obama, thus leading her to the defeat.
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