Hail to Mr Minority President

Hail to Mr Minority President

As at the point of writing Hilary Clinton has 1.75 million votes more than President elect Donald Trump; and that big gap is bound to increase!

At the point of writing only 12 states have published certified results. By December 13 almost all states would have official results. Then on December 19 the 538 members of the Electoral College that ’technically’ elect the president will meet. But don’t hold your breath. They will vote as they have always voted, that is according the results in each state.

This means that Donald Trump will undoubtedly be sworn in as president coming January.

But, and this is a very important, ‘but’, he will be Mr Minority President, as George Lakoff wrote in a very interesting paper that can be accessed from here. Like George W. Bush before him he will be the System’s President and not the People’s President. More than that. The national difference in votes between Bush and Al Gore was less than half a million. But the difference between Trump and Clinton will be close to four times that amount.

He will be the System’s President and not the People’s President

This fact – apologies for the reference to ‘facts’ in this post-fact society – is that there has never been a presidential candidate that got so many votes more that the elected candidate. The fact is that Trump did not even get as many votes as Republican Mitt Romney who contested Obama. The fact is that the people did not vote Trump in but the system did.

This notwithstanding one cannot ignore Trump’s success. He managed to play the system to perfection. He exploited to the full people’s fears, anxieties and anger in key districts so that he could get enough votes in the Electoral College. This was not a mean achievement given that the Democratic Party, most members of the leadership of the Republican Party and almost all of the mainstream media lambasted him all along.

This is all great for Trump. Whether it will be great for the USA and the rest of the world has still to be seen. Perhaps the fact that the majority of voters rejected Trump will make him mellow on the outrageous promises he made.

Following the election many pundits rubbished the polling industry. The fact is that the polls said that Clinton was leading in the popular vote and Clinton led the popular vote. There were several states, however, where the difference was so small that the margin of error made all the difference. Just note that the difference between the candidates was just three thousand votes in New Hampshire, about 12,000 in Michigan and 27,000 in Wisconsin.

But it makes sense for the polling industry to stop building sample on demographics and start considering other criteria such as social representations.

It seems that many commentators went from one extreme to another. They totally rubbished Trump before the election. Then they were so confounded by the result that that saw voters’ tsunamis and political tectonic movements where they should have just seen large waves and substantial changes.

A complex result asks for complex interpretations.

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