The Student Blog Post series invites students from my PLS 321: Electoral Process course to author their own blogs about recent election events.
On November 8, 2016, Donald John Trump was officially elected the 45th president of the United States. Winning 279 electoral votes, this election has personified the importance the electoral process in many ways. This nomination was secured through the support of former Democratic states, now voting Republican. By securing electoral votes in states like Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania he was able to gain more electoral votes than Hilary Clinton. However, in regards to the popular vote, Hilary Clinton currently has 47.7% of the vote whereas her opponent only holds slightly less at 47.5% of the vote. When comparing the electoral votes, it appears that Trump was able to acquire this victory at a larger margin than Hilary Clinton. He received 279 electoral votes, whereas Clinton only received 228.
The Electoral College plays a huge role in the election. Each state is awarded a proportional number or electors; these electors are awarded in a winner take all in all states except for Nebraska and Maine. When citizens cast their vote, they are not voting directly for their president, but are voting for which candidate will receive their state electoral votes. The Electoral College then votes for the president. The Electoral College is composed of 538 electors who cast votes, with the candidate receiving the majority of the votes (270) is elected president.
Had there been no Electoral College, this election would have yielded the first female elected president. Prior to this election, there have been other instances where the winner of the popular vote did not win the election, the most recent being the presidential election of 2000. Al Gore won the popular vote by .51% but lost the Electoral College vote, making George Bush the president.
The Electoral College ensures several things in the elections. The first is this exaggeration in the victory of the president. In this nomination, it appears that Trump won the election by a large margin of electoral votes, but in reality, he is losing popular vote. It also focuses on statewide results rather than the local ones, and therefore arguably makes recounts more difficult and less common. The Electoral College also gives smaller states representation, which keeps candidates from ignoring these states. This system is very important in elections, because it sets up the rules for elections and establishes where a candidate should focus their campaigning.
The electoral process is perhaps the largest and most important component of our election system. There are several criticisms of it, but as of this election, the electoral system has led to the nomination of our newly elected president, Donald Trump.
Stephany Cabral is a political science major who enjoys traveling. She plans to purse a career in law following graduation from Cal Poly Pomona.