Poignant Lessons from US General Elections 2016
Democracy is a slippery political concept. Many definitions abound, but none particularly helpful in furthering understanding. Many advocates of democracy attempt to define democracy in real life; dressing it up with civil liberties, popular elections, free press, free speech, right to bear arms … etc. In post-2016 general elections, it seems natural that Americans have difficulty grasping the nature of its model of democracy. Democracy empowers Governments to promote the welfare and well-being of its people, and not the development of its own political concepts. Functional democratic processes can facilitate positive and progressive national development. Otherwise, democracy would face irrelevance, or change and even oblivion.
Myth of The Popular Vote in US Democracy
During the US General Elections, the States holds concurrent democratic elections on the 8 November every 4 years to choose their preferred Presidential Candidates by assigning “Electors” to represent the State in accordance with its population size at the Electoral College who convenes on the following 19 December to “elect” the winning Presidential candidate officially.
In 2016, the Electoral College, represented by all the 50 States, elected Donald Trump by a margin of 306-242 to be the 45th US President for 2017-2020. President-Elect Donald trump is also the most popular Republican President to ever receive 62.4 million votes.
The overall popular vote does not matter in the election of the US President. The overall popular vote is immaterial and irrelevant in the US, unlike countries like Mexico, Austria, Australia, Germany, France, East Timor and several others.
The US electoral landscape consists of 50 States and 3,112 Counties (or Constituencies). On 8 November 2016, Donald Trump won 2,622 Counties (84%) to Hillary’s 490, and won 30 States (60%) compared to her 20, garnering an average of 56% votes in those 30 States to 53.5% by Hillary in her 20 States.
The State of California voted massively for Hillary by over 4.3 million votes is effectively responsible for all of Hillary’s 2.8 million popular votes over Trump. Without the moderation by the Electoral College, that one State alone, California, would have over-whelmed the entire national vote and disenfranchised all other non-Californian American voters. When Californian votes are excluded, Trump’s 58,474,401 popular votes exceed Hillary’s by 1.4 million.
Clearly, in the context of American politics in 2016, the Electoral College provides the US Presidential Elections with a more democratic outcome in determining the more “popular” President, where using the national popular vote would have failed to properly articulate the democratic aspirations of 128 million US electorate for a President Donald Trump....