Hillary Clinton still leads Donald Trump in the popular vote by over 750,000, but with protests raging from the East Coast to the West Coast, president-elect Trump has still won the presidency by way of the electoral college.
Mark Peterson, chair of Washburn’s political science department, spoke in regards to how America has reacted to the 2016 presidential election.
Peterson opened stating it was the fourth time in American history where a candidate won the popular vote but lost the election, the most recent besides Clinton being the close race in 2000 when George Walker Bush defeated Al Gore, which was decided by a few counties in Florida.
The two times prior to the 21st century were in 1876 when Samuel Tilden lost to Rutherford B. Hayes despite winning the election by around 200,000 votes and 12 years later in 1888 when Grover Cleveland lost to Benjamin Harrison despite winning the popular vote by 90,000 votes.
Peterson then addressed the electoral college and its usefulness. The electoral college, established by Article Two of the United States Constitution, has been under fire ever since Gore lost in 2000 and has long since been called a broken system.
It was created to balance more populated states and states with small populations, so the power among the states was proportional to the population, but still fair to small states, which is seen in the Great Compromise, where the House of Representatives and Senate were created.
Peterson then broke down how the electoral college works, representing people based on population. He used Wyoming and California as examples.
Wyoming has roughly 600,000 people, with two senators and one representative in the house, giving them three electoral college votes, each one representing around 200,000 people.
California on the other hand has roughly 39.14 million people, the most populated state in the nation. It has 53 representatives in the House, and two senators, totalling at 55 electoral votes. Every representative in California represents roughly 712,000 people, almost quadruple that of Wyoming’s representatives.
Peterson then moved to the election itself, where Clinton won the popular vote by roughly 750,000 votes, but lost the electoral college by a landslide. He quoted a prominent journalist from Baltimore, H. L. Mencken.
“As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people,” Peterson said. “On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”
Peterson also addressed how Clinton lost a race that pollsters and political scientists alike said she would win, considering she was up by three points the day of the election. He said Democrats didn’t show up on election day, drawing out five million less voters for Clinton than appeared for President Obama in 2012.
Lastly, Peterson faced the idea of a Trump presidency, saying people must now be more aware and involved in the world and our country specifically.
“People should care about politics and vote,” Peterson said. “Not enough of them did, this is a terrible turnout, whether or not you like Clinton or Trump. Forty-six percent of the voter eligible population of this country participated. That’s pretty dreadful. You at least need to pay attention. Be aware.”
He also stated a Trump presidency has the potential to ruin President Barack Obama’s legacy, since he may repeal many of Obama’s policies.
The people of the United States are also reeling from the long, grueling race that took place over the past year. Many are upset at the outcome while many embrace the change with open arms, saying an outsider will cause a change in Washington.
Scott Frost, sophomore vocal performance major, was scared of a Hillary Clinton presidency, but now is more scared of a Donald Trump presidency.
“With Hillary, I think she is a lovely person, to be honest, but I think she tried too hard to be something she’s not, a perfect person,” Frost said. “She had done so much in her history to make it not seem possible. There’s evidence she let people die in Benghazi. I don’t like the fact that she lied to me as I watched her speak.”
Frost says Donald Trump is outspoken about his hate for minorities and as a minority, doesn’t want someone such as Trump to be in power.
Courtney Blohm, freshman nursing student, was excited about Trump’s victory.
“I’m very happy with Donald Trump being president.” Blohm said. “He’s gonna help our economy and address more issues than Democratic presidents have in the past.”
Alex Lasher, sophomore biochemistry major, recognizes Trump’s flaws, but sees him as a political outsider and sees that as an opportunity for change. He believes Trump ran for the right reasons.
“I feel that while Trump doesn’t have much government experience, Hillary has done an atrocious job in her 30 years and the numerous scandals that have marred her campaign turned me off from voting for her,” Lasher said. “I voted for Trump because he represents a deviation from the Washington establishment that has been ramming this country into the ground. Trump could have lived in the lap of luxury for the rest of his life as a billionaire, but instead he chose to run his name through the mud and serve his country as president.”
Sophomore Sienna Haynes, music education major, was feeling better than she did election night after Trump’s victory.
“I feel okay about it, just because he’s been backtracking on what he’s been saying,” said Haynes. “However, when the results came in, it was very disappointing that people seem to be inconsiderate about the things he has said and are more afraid of what Hillary has done in the past. So I think our fears are different. They fear the past and what was in those emails while I fear for my life, being black and a woman and Mexican.”