My Thoughts On The 2016 US Presidential Election

The hottest topic at the moment. Regardless where you’re geographically located, I’m pretty sure you’ve heard that Trump won the 2016 US Presidential Election.

 To begin, I’m not a fan of either candidate because…. both are equally bad. Here are my views on the election and results.

*caution: long and wordy post ahead which may bore many because of an unpopular opinion.

Let’s start with media portrayal of both candidates. If you don’t already know, the media LOVES Clinton and takes every chance to pick on Trump. No surprise right here because Clinton is the media’s favourite and the media has already been rooting for her since the beginning of this race. Whether she paid for it or not doesn’t matter in this case because the majority of the media outlet seem to positively portray her compared to Trump. Even when her e-mail scandal arise, the media didn’t blow it out of proportion. Think about it, if that scandal happened to Trump instead, how would CNN / BBC / The Guardian / New York Times report it?

fbi-clinton-email

This was what The Guardian actually reported. Original article can be found, here.

So with the media loving Clinton and hating Trump, it is no surprise that Clinton became the favourite candidate among the two. Since the polls and survey also showed how Clinton is the nation’s favourite, it is no surprise that people started jumping on her bandwagon with, #Imwithher. Consequently creating a domino effect with the public. It only seemed right to be on that bandwagon with Clinton and be hating on Trump.

BUT, does using that hashtag really mean that you are supporting her because of her stance and not because of what is popular?! I’m looking at all of you who did that ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and those who supported Kony 2012. Are people doing this to look like they are supporting the right thing or do they actually mean it?

People are easily influenced by what they see on social media. And that’s how a career as a social media influencer is actually possible in this digital age. Seeing how celebrities like Rihanna, Alica Keys, The Kardashians, Miley Crus, etc using that hashtag on Instagram and Twitter to show their support for Clinton, it only made sense if we showed the same support and be on the Clinton boat because they are possibly someone we look up to.

imwithher

The polls showed Clinton a lot of love and Trump a lot of hate. But why didn’t she win?!

Here’s what I have concluded:

Trump is that underdog who already had future plans on how to win the election while we and the media were busy focusing on his flaws. Remember that person you made fun of in high school but is now at the top of the corporate ladder? That’s Trump for you and you can bet he is having the last laugh.

States which were supposedly primarily Democrats and naturally Clinton supporters fell into the hands of Trump. Could this have been a careless course of action by the voters in these states? Results show that Trump won states which were supposedly pro-Democrats in Michigan, Pensylvania and Wisconsin. It could be that Clinton was overconfident in these states that she didn’t put too much effort in campaigning here. More so than voters were careless to give their states away to Republicans.

Trump won a good number of swing states and also key states to secure his road to the white house. Florida and Ohio is one of the few swing states which be bagged, making his gap between Clinton a wider one.

Now, Florida happens to be a special case as I see it. Florida has always been a major swing state and it means that voters are 50/50 about voting for the Democrats or Republican, it’s never a safe state for both parties. Florida also happens to be one of the four major states which candidates go after because of the number of electoral votes. Tying with New York at 29 electoral votes behind California (55) and Texas (38), Florida has the 3rd largest share of the pie when it comes to the elections. Meaning, winning this state can either make or break their odds of winning the election.

presidential-election

While Clinton managed to win California which alone provides her with 55 electoral votes, she lost a good number of states which has less electoral votes to Trump by a landslide. Think Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, North & South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, etc. While these states only contribute between 3  to 10 electoral votes each, collectively he would have surpassed Clinton’s win in California.

Securing California might have created a wider gap between her and Trump and using her celebrity friends might have led to her winning both California and New York, but Clinton was lacking behind when it came to rural votes – Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan. These 3 states alone gave Trump 32 electoral votes, enough for him to create an even wider gap.

In my point of view, Clinton was careless when it came to securing least popular states and was just unfortunate when it came to swing states.

Relying on Obama to pass her the torch also seemed to fail when she lost states where he won by a landslide in the last elections. Especially when states which he won by a landslide in the previous election has turned around and voted for Trump, proving to be a major wake up call for Clinton. Also, where she held her last rally with her family and Obama in Pensylvania failed big time when she lost that important state with 20 electoral votes to Trump.

Clinton heavily relied on urban votes while forgetting about rural ones. It is almost contradicting her belief about supporting the minorities like Hispanics, Latinos and African-American while forgetting that a lot of them are still residing in rural areas. I don’t understand how this logic works but she seems to have forgotten not everyone is tuned in with which celebrity friend of hers is rooting for her.

Diverting the attention back to Trump. The media absolutely dislike him and almost always diss him when there’s a chance. Could it be a coincidence that Clinton dined with 25 journalists and ‘bought’ them to closely monitor her campaign? Maybe, maybe not.

The way I see it, Trump touched on issues which really mattered to Americans who are less well-off, Americans who are genuinely concerned about their jobs being stolen. His opinions don’t appeal to celebrities and young urban people who are armed with degrees and have a healthy bank balance because they’re much more privileged and are already leading a comfortable life.

LGBT, gay marriage, legalising marijuana, climate change, women’s right –  I wholeheartedly believe these are truly important issues which we should definitely fight for. But if you were to put yourself in the shoes of rural folks who are dependent on manual and labour intensive jobs, would you have voted for Clinton who didn’t show signs of protecting your job from outsiders? How important is gay marriage or women’s right when you are already having difficulties putting food on the table for your kids? She failed to engage with less well-off Americans, she focused too much on urban voters who cared about second-tier issues.

As Trump went around Middle America rallying the poor and jobless with increasingly powerful speeches offering a glimpse of hope and change for the better, Clinton was busy rubbing shoulders with her celebrity friends like Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. It is no wonder Trump won these states by a landslide and Clinton securing California and New York as expected.

It is no wonder voters in urban areas have rooted for Clinton and are left in tears when she lost because her message spoke to them more on a personal level now that they are one level above the rest on the hierarchy of needs level.

Trump will never be the media’s favourite, Trump will have no filters when he speaks, Trump with poor mannerism does not know how to carry himself on the world stage, Trump is downright harsh with his words and has a bad reputation in the past as a womaniser and nobody will ever forget.

clinton-trump

So why would people vote for Trump?

There are people out there who are sick of the political games played by politicians within the political system, with Clinton it would have been business as usual but with Trump it’s a bet people are taking on a change for America. There are people out there who do not want another Clinton in the White House after all the scandal that surrounds the couple. After all, how does one trust Clinton who advocates for women’s rights when she stays with her husband who admitted to cheating on her? – I can’t wrap my head around this idea.

Some will see him as a businessman who might be able to turn things around and make America prosperous again when it comes to making deals with other nation states. Others are not supportive of Clinton imposing a no-fly zone over Syria for fear that it would escalate into a full-scale war. A potential war with Russia also scares the public, Putin seems to get along better with Trump than Clinton.

Remember that 2007 war in Afghanistan and US Military intervention in Libya in 2011? Maybe you won’t remember all of it but Clinton advocated and approved of these actions when she was Secretary of State. When someone has failed you not once or twice, is it worth putting you and your nation’s safety into her hands again?  It’s true that she does not have absolute control of these course of actions but as Secretary of State, she has a bigger say than the most of us.

Trump touches on issues which really matters to the American people – bringing jobs back to America, making the economy stronger and a better immigration control. People are generally sick and fed up of politicians like Clinton who brings nothing new to the table and are more excited for a fresh perspective. While Trump might not be anyone’s ideal candidate, he seems like the lesser of two evil when it comes down to voting between the two. He becomes a gamble worth taking and in desperate times, people make desperate measures even if it means voting for a candidate you do not favour but you’re hoping it will be a high-risk high-return bet.

Trump means business even if it means being up-front and laying all his cards on the table. With Clinton, you will be sure that political games will continue to be played as long as she is in control of the game.

This my friend is democracy at its finest, anyone can be a president.

“Be careful for what you wish for”

On a side note: from where I come from, Malaysia, the general election trends is almost the same as America’s. The opposition only has a strong foothold in urban areas and that alone is not powerful enough to see a change we’ve been wanting. 

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