Wednesday, November 9, 2016

What does the 2016 Election mean?

I am from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Pennsylvania was a "swing" state.  That means that if the majority, however, narrow, voted for a candidate, all of the Electoral College votes (20) go to the majority winner.

Trump won the election when he won Wisconsin with 10 Electoral College votes for that state.  He reached 276.  270 Electoral votes is enough to “clinch” the election. After that Hillary could not get the required number of electoral votes to win.  She conceded.

The situation in Pennsylvania reflects the voting throughout much of the US.  Inner city and metropolitan voters chose Hillary.  "Upstate", rural and suburban, voters chose Trump. 

The vote was very close. Trump won PA by 1.3%.  Yet he gets all 20 Electoral College votes.

Nationwide at 0520 EST Trump was ahead only 0.2% in the popular vote (50.1% Trump to 49.9% Clinton), but he had won the election.  These are the rules of engagement.

My view of the results: People are angry and scared.  They are angry about moral failings of Mrs. Clinton.  Many want no more Democratic presidency.

The narrow majority are tired of more taxes.  The narrow majority doesn't want to fund things like nearly free education and Planned Parenthood.

The narrow majority are scared of Muslim immigrants and fears them as terrorists (despite no clear proof for this). The narrow majority is sick of illegal immigration and doesn't want to pay for social services for them.  These people fear losing their jobs to illegal and other immigrants.

This narrow majority feels that America is seen as weak and the foreign policy of the US is a joke.  They want to make America great again. Mr. Trump’s comments seem to portend more of the same: more bombing.

The much of the other half of voters are sick of being kept in poverty. They want a fair chance at education or they want to support minorities and the poor to get education.

The nearly other half want fair pay for fair wages, not to be kept on a black market, which keeps owners free of legal taxation for workers. 

The election was called due to (determined by) the number of Electoral College votes, but the populace is bitterly divided. There is no consensus, and democracy runs on consensus.

President Trump will have to come up with better policies than vague statements, such as calling for ”extreme vetting” of immigrants. The procedure to become a refugee is extremely difficult and lasts more than a year, at least.  Check out the UNHCR site.  After, after you clear UNHCR hurdles as an immigrant, then you have to clear US Immigration.  All of this is done OUTSIDE the US.

Trump will have to do better than call Mexicans rapists and criminals, and think a wall will solve the problem (which he alleges Mexico will pay for). Simply driving out migrant laborers won’t harvest fields or resolve the problems.  Migrants do jobs others won’t.

It's easy to speak vaguely about these things, but to change existing policies and procedures will take acts of Congress and will not be easy.  Simply saying that he will expel all Muslims from the US is not a policy.  No one can take the rights of a citizen away without some overweening reason and evidence.  We don't wish to repeat the injustice we did to Japanese citizens in WWII.

American must be about all Americans, not only those in rural and suburban areas.  It must include everyone, even the inner city dwellers.

Whether Clinton or Trump had won, the country was bitterly divided.  People kept quoting polls showing Clinton ahead (or lately losing ground).  But if you know anything about polls, you must look at the “MoE” category (Margin of Error).  Polls only question a certain number of people in a certain place.  Depending on the number of people questioned, the poll is more or less accurate.  There is always a Margin of Error. 

In the case of this Presidential election the MoE was always something like 4% or 5%.  So, if Clinton was “ahead” by 45% to 42% for Trump, it meant that if the pollsters were wrong, it could be 40% for Clinton and 47% for Trump.

The election returns (votes) show that it is 50.1% (at the moment) for Trump and 49.9% for Clinton.  It is hardly a resounding victory.  It is the narrowest of margins.  The Electoral College procedure exists for this sort of instance, so the vote is clear.  However, almost half of the voters will feel cheated.

In 2000 President George W. Bush won the election on the Electoral College vote, though he lost the popular vote (47.9%) to former Vice President Al Gore (48.4%).  in 2004 President George W. Bush won by 50.7%.  Current Secretary of State John Kerry lost by 48.3%. Bush did slightly better than Trump.  In either case it was a “close shave”.  President George W. Bush was wise to work for consensus and to “reach across the aisle”, i.e. work with the Democrats in Congress.

America needs to pull together.  Even with a Republican Congress, it is no guarantee that President Elect Trump can get anything done in Congress.

Many Republicans refused to endorse him or even spoke against him.  Congress tends to be centrist, which also is explained by the voting.  Even if a district voted for a Republican Congressman or woman, it could be by the narrowest of margins again.

Many nasty and bitter things have been said.  As with all elections there was a lot of posturing, handwaving and mud slinging.

Capitol Hill is going to have to go back to work.   Mr. Trump has promised a lot, for instance to produce jobs for the Rust Belt.  As with most presidents, he won’t be able to keep a lot of his promises.

Let’s hope and pray that he understands how narrow his “mandate” is.  Let’s hope that he learns to take advice from his advisors and that he learns how to work with everyone.  I will certainly pray to that end.

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