On the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election

(“From Beyond the South:” I, 4)

Donald Trump has beaten Hillary Clinton and is going to be the next president of the United States of America.

I. Deep America’s Victory
It was Hillary’s election to lose, and yet she lost. That alone speaks volumes on the quality of her candidacy. On the other hand, Trump won despite all his flaws. Although one of them would necessarily win, Trump has not just beat Clinton, but the establishment of both major political parties. He did something right.

There are voices in America that feel themselves unheard. It was Trump, of all people, who has listened to them. He told them he would speak for them, and they believed him. Although he does not fit the profile, he became their representative, and they carried him all the way to the White House.

Yesterday, Deep America won. The countryside made itself politically relevant once more. It is their America that they want to “make great again.” They have shown that the United States are their country, too, that they also have the right to be heard; to be taken seriously.

This Deep America was silenced by the Supreme Court after ‘Baker v. Carr’ (1962) and its unconstitutional “one person, one vote” doctrine. Since then, American politics have concentrated its focus on the more populated urban areas. After decades being relegated as second class citizens, the counties have had enough. Thus, Trump is president.

The point is one cannot solve social and political inequalities by creating other inequalities; one cannot give some people voice by completely silencing others. Americans are all in this together: cities and counties; rich and poor; blacks and whites; natives and immigrants; churchgoers and atheists; gays and straights; liberals and conservatives; one and one’s neighbors. The challenge is to balance you all.

What happened yesterday, it is simply part of the game. Just keep on playing it. Enjoy the ride!

II. On Electoral College and National Popular Vote
According to the news, Donald Trump has won in 30 states, while Hillary has won in 20 states, plus DC. Trump’s 30 states give him 306 votes, against Hillary’s 232 votes, making him the clear winner in the Electoral College. The news, however, also say that Hillary has gotten 65,435,318 popular votes, which are more than the 62,788,630 that Trump has received.* Hence, Hillary has won the “Popular Vote.”*

[- What? She got more votes and lost!? This is so undemocratic! How can this be even possible?! Are the Americans really that stupid?!

- I am glad you have asked those question. Thank you for your interest on the subject. Please, let me explain.]

In the United States of America, there are actually 51 independent and unrelated presidential elections. The American people vote for president within the states boundaries; each American state electing its own president. Since there is only one presidential office, and not 51, another election takes place in the Electoral College.

The Electoral College is the institution created so the states could meet together and elect a common presidente for them all. Hence, the American president is elected democratically, but by “the people of each American state in Union.” A principle that is preserved in the case that the Electoral College cannot appoint a president. In such a case, the House of Representatives, the house of the people, becomes responsible to elect the president by a majority of states. Representatives vote by state delegations, each state having the same weight . It is “the people of each American state in Union” that elects the president.

In America, the states still matter.

Now, in an electoral system like the American, one cannot simply add all the votes cast in each state and call the result “national popular votes.” For instance, it does not make sense adding the votes from the 435 independent and unrelated elections for the House of Representative. Also, it does not make sense adding the votes from the 100 independent and unrelated elections for the Senate. In the same way, it does not make sense doing it for the presidential election.

The result is meaningless.

In other words, the votes cast by the people in Texas are valid in Texas only, while every vote cast by the people in Vermont is relevant only in Vermont. Thus, Hillary cannot possibly have won the “Popular Vote,” because there is no such a thing as a national “Popular Vote.”

Paulo Sanchotene

*Numbers from http://edition.cnn.com/election/results on December 7th, 2016.

[edited] Originally published at: