Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Trump’s Win Clearly Not a Popularity Contest


President Barack Obama urges nation to give Donald Trump time to adjust to his new role as president-elect./TIME

The preliminary outcome of the Nov. 8 general election shows Donald Trump the president-elect, with the prospect of as many as 306 Electoral College votes likely when the conclave meets Dec. 19.
In Idaho, a Republican bastion that hasn’t chosen a Democratic presidential candidate since 1952, Trump also won handily, even though most of the closed GOP primary votes had gone for Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Trump got 407,199 votes, or 59.2 percent of the votes cast, against Democrat Hillary Clinton’s 189,677 (276 percent).
But Trump’s success didn’t necessarily mean a sweep for down-ticket candidates. Senator Mike Crapo, who had initially endorsed Trump, then renounced him after sexist remarks made in a now-famous 2005 videotape, then re-endorsed him, will return to Washington, but with a somewhat narrower margin (447,342, or 66.1 percent) of votes. His opponent, Democrat Jerry Sturgill, drew 188,104 votes.
When the state Legislature reconvenes in January, however, Democrats will have an even tighter grip, with 88 Republican House Representatives and 17 Democratic House Representatives (Rep. Paulette Jordan (D, 5A-Plummer) is the only one from northern Idaho), and 29 Republican Senators against six Democrats.
The biggest of four defeats for Democratic candidates was House Minority Leader John Rusche’s (D-6B, Lewiston), who lost to Republican challenger Michael Kingsley, by a nearly 3,000 vote margin. When the two met in 2014, Rusche won by a mere 48 votes.
Republican Thyra Stevenson will return to the House from District 6A after Democrat Dan Rudolph decided not to seek re-election, and Bob Blakey took up the challenge, failing by a 2,447 vote margin. In District 5, representing Latah and Benewah counties, Democratic Sen. Dan Schmidt, of Moscow, lost to Republican challenger Dan Foreman by 327 votes.
On the national level, the presidential race was anything but a popularity context, with what is likely to be a total voter turnout even lower than that of 2000, in which George W. Bush was eventually declared the winner, despite having failed to win the popular vote for the first time in 112 years. (There had been three other presidential elections in which the eventual winner did not secure the popular vote, in 1824, 1876, and 1888.) This time, it seems Clinton, while far short of the 370 electoral votes needed to win the election, was the popular vote winner, with more than 61 million votes to Trump’s 60.3 million (preliminary). And, while the roughly 130 million votes cast in 2016 will probably exceed the 129.2 million cast in 2012, that represents very little growth in voter participation in the past eight years, even as the population increased by 18 million. In short, nearly half of all Americans of voting age didn’t even bother to go to the polls.
Considering the mean-spirited and divisive rhetoric of the campaign, the early stages of the transition to a Trump presidency have been met with strong objection or opposition nationwide. President Barack Obama has urged Americans to give the president-elect time to adjust to the challenges of his new job – challenges he clearly has not been properly prepared to address.

Sources

ABC’s report on President Obama urging nation to give Donald Trump an opportunity to adjust to his new role is here.


Data on nationwide voting, as gathered and collated by the United states Elections Project, is here.

For comparison, related data gathered and collated by Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight project is here. The unofficial results of voting in Idaho are available here.

Procedures and timing of the Electoral College duties are described here.

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