Published: November 21st, 2016
Written By : Ronak Pol
Last week has been one of the most historic weeks in human history. It can be looked at as an inflexion point both in terms of its political implications and economic implications. But before we address that lets briefly talk about demonetization. The basics of demonization scheme were covered last week.(read here) And those are still in place, but the implications of it are still to see. The next round of quarterly data will help us understand the scheme better and maybe have a more informed comment on the short-term and the medium run impact. With this out of our way, we can now move on to the next big thing.
As we all know Orange is the new Black. Something that we all knew might happen but never really gave a serious thought. For those who are confused on why did Americans vote for Donald TRUMP, I did an article a few months back where we explored this exact question (read more). But now that the reality has sunk in there are few facts that we need to understand and few questions that need to be answered. Some of these questions are easy, but some will answer themselves only in the due course of time.
What is this popular vote?
Most of you must have read this quote saying, “Trump won the election but Clinton won the popular vote”. Although it is true that Clinton won more votes in absolute terms, but the way American electoral college operates TRUMP’s win is by no means an unfair victory.
The US Electoral college tries to give equal representation to the entire population. Meaning citizens in each state do not vote for the Presidential candidate, but vote for ‘electors’ who pledge to vote for a particular candidate. Now each state has a set number of electoral votes allocated based on its population density. Meaning New York gets 29 electoral votes while Alaska gets 3 while Alaska is much larger in terms of landmass population.
The catch lies in the fact that in any state whoever wins the most votes at the polls wins all the electoral votes of the state. Theoretically meaning that if in California(CA) a candidate gets 1 more vote than the other than he/she gets the entirety of 55 electoral votes of the state. So in the states where states like CA , where Clinton won the electoral votes by a large margin (7,230,699 to 3,841,134) won’t matter because she would still get only 55 votes that the state is allowed to cast.
This removes the influence of party strongholds and brings swing states into play.
Now we can go back and forth arguing if this is the right way to approach an election or not but as long as Americans don’t change it we will have to stick with it. (Also note that whenever any president wins an election he has won it through this system of voting. And you never change something that works for you.)
Also, note the following few things.Independent presidential candidates won 3 times as many votes as they did in the previous 3 elections and America observed one of its lowest voter turnout hovering at around 55%. But the reasons for such low turnout are not necessarily all political, but more practical limitations.
Is it the end of American Democracy as we know it?
Not really! From what I understand from listening to Hillary’s concession speech the Democrats will be a strong opposition to shield the country against Trump’s ecstatic ideals.
Her speech addressed the concern of racism and seclusion of minorities, she said
“… breaking down all the barriers that hold any American back from achieving their dreams. We spent a year and a half bringing together millions of people from every corner of our country to say with one voice that we believe that the American dream is big enough for everyone.
For people of all races, and religions, for men and women, for immigrants, for LGBT people, and people with disabilities. For everyone.”
A strong opposition can help streamline the American ideals and not let Trump loose and as for the fear of Racist bigotry and white supremacy. Well, time will tell how that goes!.
Trump’s call for Change
Now for how Trump will make “America Great Again” is still ambiguous for me. For starters, he will have to transform his speech to make it more politically correct. For those wondering the implications for Indians in the States, we know for certain that Trump understood the importance of the strong Indian community. “Aab ki baar TRUMP sarkar” which was officially Trump’s campaign slogan to appease the Indian Americans indicating we can expect a relatively mild racial discrimination against Indians compared to other minorities like Mexicans.
America is a country that was built by immigrants, abandoning immigration will only mean more problems for the country. We explored the concept of immigration and how it’s not necessarily a bad thing in another article(read more). Although Trump has begun his fight against the illegal immigrants, only time will tell how badly the American economy that is dependent on cheap labour will be affected.
Most of the swing states voted for Trump because of his firm stance on trade policies and the promise to bring back America’s industrial might. Although I bite into the idea of bringing back jobs that have been exported to other nations, we need to understand that it is equal parts policy problem and more importantly an incentive problem. Building the right infrastructure and incentive structure is not something that can be done overnight. But if we have learned anything from new age politics, it is that people who vote for you want results on the fly. This makes it almost impossible for any political party to deliver on complex promises that need a more long-term policy action. This is something that might prove harmful for Trump and the Republicans in the next election.
Also note that considering how long the entire election cycle lasts in America, it will take less than 3 years before we probably have Trump running for president again. Meaning he has 3 short years to cement his promises.
There is a lot to be said about this election and I would like your suggestion on the specifics of what you would like me to cover. But for now, let’s establish a few things.
- Trump won the election fair and square.
- Will all probability it is not the end of American democracy.
- Trump has very little time to prove himself and most of the popular media is rooting against him.
All in all buckle in and get ready for the ride, because no matter how long the road is. It’s certainly going to be bumpy.