Political Column by David Hatami
The unthinkable has finally happened. After stunningly becoming the republican nominee at the GOP national convention back in July, Donald Trump has been elected president of the United States of America. Hillary Clinton, possibly the most qualified and experienced candidate to ever run for office, has lost. This election may have been one of the most controversial elections in United States history. Days before the election, nationally renowned newspapers such as the New York Times and the Washington Post had Clinton heading to election day with a 90% chance of winning. The results of this election were extremely unexpected. Almost all polls, hours before the decision was called, predicted Clinton to win the election as well. Many paramount swing states, such as Florida, Ohio, North Carolina and Pennsylvania were all expected to be handed to Hillary. This was astonishingly not the case, for all the states just named were won by Trump. The depraved and vulgar political style of Donald Trump has won him the heart of millions of Americans, but at what cost? The election has handed Donald Trump the burden of our nation at a time of economic struggle and national disunity along with a Republican Congress. After a year and a half of grueling campaigning, the American people have made their decision. Or have they?
While Donald Trump won the presidency with an electoral victory (Clinton’s 228 electoral votes against Trump’s 290), the electoral victory was the only victory he achieved. Evidently, it was not the majority of voters who chose him, but the flaws of the Electoral College. According to the system of the Electoral College, one candidate must earn at least 270 of the electoral votes to win. While Trump completed this objective, he ultimately failed to win the popular vote. 61,324,576 (47.85 percent) citizens voted for Hillary Clinton, where 60,526,852(47.23 percent) voted for Donald Trump. With this in mind, one could confidently say that it was Clinton who was chosen by the people; she deserved to be the popular vote President.
Interestingly, this is not the first occasion where this phenomenon has occurred. Back in 2000, Al Gore won the popular vote against George Bush. Despite this, Bush won the Electoral College, awarding him the presidency.
This is a tremendous problem. Again, over the course of 16 years, the Electoral College has chosen the president, over the will of the majority of American voters. Looking back, our Electoral College has a rather aristocratic history and design. Created by the founding fathers of America more than 200 years ago, the college was initially designed as a way to makes states important in elections. Without the college, some say, many states would get no attention during campaigns, and candidates would focus only on large cities, where the majority resided. The Electoral College lets candidates focus on a more national level. However, the college has become more and more arbitrary and unfair. With this flawed system, people living in either strong Republican or Democratic states (almost everyone) have literally no individual say in the election. This is because those states will always vote either Republican or Democrat, giving those voting for the opposite party absolutely no influence. Because of this, swing states are the only states that genuinely matter in the election. If we did have a system based on merely the popular vote, everyone’s vote, regardless of state, would matter. With a new system, elections would be more fair, and wouldn’t be decided by a flawed 200-year-old system. Despite this fact, Congress has taken no interest in replacing the Electoral College. Let the election of 2016 be a wakeup call to our representatives in Washington.
Donald Trump has won the system through inciting false fears in the hearts of countless Americans, and by making false promises that will never become fulfilled. His depraved and vulgar personality has spoken to the basest fears of the Americans who voted for him. Racism, misogynism, climate denial, xenophobia and extreme nationalism: these are the things that have elected Trump. What will this unforeseen election cost our nation? The coming years will be rather unique, for this election has handed Donald Trump an all Republican Congress. A conservative Supreme Court is without a doubt likely as well. With these Republican majorities, Donald Trump’s agenda will unfortunately be pushed forward quite smoothly in the future.
As promised, Donald Trump will be looking to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. While Obamacare has had its critics, the act has arguably been more beneficial than damaging. Since its ratification, Obamacare has brought the total percent of medically uninsured adults in the US from 18% to 13.4%. If Trump were to repeal Obamacare, more than 15 million American citizens will lose health care, which would cause great hardship. Aside from this, Trump is an avid climate change denier, and will without a doubt increase coal production in the U.S. He has already begun work on pulling the United States out of the historic Paris climate deal. The deal, which was signed by more than 180 countries last year and hopes to keep the world below 2° C of warming, has just been put into effect on November 4. If the U.S, being one of the drafters of the deal, were to pull out, it would lead to detrimental effects on the agreement and the earth’s climate all together.
Besides health care and climate change, Trump’s presidency will inevitably lead to unwise decisions being made in the capital. Muslims may be barred from leaving and entering the country. Women around the country may lose abortion rights, and gun control may take a lapse for the worst.
Donald Trump’s victory has disunited this nation. For the past week, massive demonstrations have been conducted in major metropolitan areas, and are growing in size and intensity every day.
This, however, is not an appropriate response to last week’s election. Despite who Trump is, and what he stands for, he is our soon to be president. We should not try to make his job harder, but to support him in his efforts to help America. Unity is key to solving the societal problems facing America today, and cannot be achieved through protesting and venting. His policies and ideas may be radical and disagreeable, but Donald Trump should be given a chance to lead, as all presidents were given previously. A house divided against itself cannot stand, and neither can a nation.