The American nation finally made its choice. Donald Trump, after a year of the battle and controversies, eventually became the 45th president of the United States of America. This paper will discuss the impact of the Electoral College on the election process and explain how Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but lost the electoral college. It will also clarify and interpret the voter turnout during the election. In particular, the paper will analyze why many qualified and registered voters did not cast their votes. It will also reveal details about ethnicity, the educational level, and gender of people who chose Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton as their candidate.
The Electoral College has its supporters and critics. Its role is certainly crucial since with its help it is possible to win the presidency without having the majority of the popular vote. Defenders of the Electoral College argue that rural areas would be disregarded if it did not exist, and the president would only be elected by people living in large urban areas. Meanwhile, critics hold a view that only the popular vote should be counted as it shows a real picture of the country’s choice of the president (Prokop). Five hundred thirty-eight state representatives are the people who are actually responsible for choosing the leader of the country, while votes of millions of Americans may be discarded as irrelevant. (Prokop). Instead of having only one victory, the Republican or Democratic candidate has to gather a collection of victories in each US state.
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Another important aspect is that the Electoral College winner is determined by the swing states which are not purely Democratic or Republican. They may switch from one candidate to another depending on various factors. While New York is forever viewed as a Democratic state and Texas as a Republican one, Florida and Ohio always become crucial battlegrounds (Regan). During this election, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Georgia were considered to be the main battlefields, and each of them eventually chose Donald Trump (Regan). Critics of the Electoral College hold a view that there is a certain swing state privilege, and millions of votes cast in the so-called “safe states” are completely wasted (Regan). There is also a small state bias since every state gets at least 3 votes from the Electoral College no matter what its size and population are. Due to this rule, 4 percent of the USA population living in the smallest states is given 8 percent of Electoral College votes (Regan).
There are approximately 231 million of Americans who are eligible to choose the president of the USA (Regan). Nevertheless, while 200 million of people registered to vote , only 131.7 million of them actually voted (Regan). These statistics point to the fact that approximately 56.9 percent of American citizens made a decision to cast their votes for either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump (Quealy). This is a slightly lower turnout than in 2012. It can be explained by the fact that many potential voters were disappointed in politicians and did not take the populist and scandalous campaign and rivalry of the current candidates seriously. Many people felt apathy towards the outcome of the election because they did not believe polling could change anything (Quealy). As it has been mentioned before, even though the Republican candidate lost the popular vote, he still won with the help of the Electoral College. This makes it the fifth election since 1820 when the candidate lost the popular vote but won the election (Prokop).
It is extremely important to specify ethnicity, the educational level, and gender of people who were predominantly pro-Republican and pro-Democratic. It has been estimated that 88 percent of overall Black votes belong to Hillary Clinton, while only 8 percent – to Donald Trump (Regan). The Democratic candidate received a significantly bigger number of female Black votes – 94 percent of them, while the Republican candidate got 4 percent of them. The Black men’s support for Hillary Clinton was slightly weaker – 80 percent compared to 13 percent in favor of Donald Trump (Quealy). If to estimate the difference in male and female support for the Democratic Party, it may be concluded that 54 percent of women’s votes and 41 percent of men’s votes were cast in favor of its candidate (Quealy).
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As for the Hispanic population, 62 percent of men and 68 percent of women chose Hillary Clinton. It has already been estimated that White and wealthy Americans mostly voted for Donald Trump. To be exact, 58 percent of White Americans cast their votes in favor of the Republican candidate, and only 37 percent chose the Democratic candidate (Regan). On the other hand, 52 percent of Americans who earn less than 50 thousand dollars per year chose Hillary Clinton, while only 41 percent of them voted for Donald Trump. If to take into account gender, 65 percent of White men and 53 percent of White women voted for Trump (Quealy).
If to consider the educational level of the electorate, interesting discoveries can be made as well. For instance, 52 percent of college graduates and 58 percent of postgraduates chose the Democratic candidate. Hillary Clinton also got votes of 95 percent of Black women without a degree and 91 percent of Black women with a degree (Regan). The situation was similar with Black men – 78 percent of degree-holders chose Hillary, while 16 percent voted for Trump (Prokop). Sixty-seven percent of not college-educated Whites voted for the Republican candidate, while 45 percent of college-educated individuals chose the Democratic candidate. It has also been estimated that Americans in the age group between 18 and 29 were more likely to support Donald Trump than Clinton – 48 percent of them gave their votes for him. Conversely, only 9 percent of Black and 24 percent of Hispanic youth in that age group voted in favor of the Republican candidate (Quealy).
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To conclude, Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election because of many factors. Even though he lost the popular vote, especially among Black individuals, Hispanics, women, and young voters with and without a college education, he got the support of wealthy as well as middle-income Whites and not college-educated citizens. Moreover, he received the support of the swing states. The situation that many people registered but did not vote was related to the fact that many of them did not like the populist manner of debating and rivalry between the two candidates and felt apathy towards the possibility of country’s improvement by the next president.