The “Student Blog Post” series invites students from my PLS 321: Electoral Process course to author their own blogs about recent election events.
After three weeks, Donald Trump has won the presidential election, exceeding all our expectations, but the electorate has still not conformed. Trump did the impossible, being the first Republican presidential nominee to win states like Michigan since 1988. Across the country, citizens have rallied, claiming Trump is “not our president”, and Jill Stein (with support from the Clinton campaign) declared they would start recount efforts in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.
The recounts will be occurring in the states in which President-elect Donald Trump won or is leading by narrow margins. Recounts can change vote counts on the margins, but Trump’s edge of more than 22,000 votes in Wisconsin is all but impossible to eliminate, bearing a massive, unprecedented and unexpected failure of the state’s voting machines. Jill Stein stated that “she knows she won’t win — but she’s concerned enough about hacking of election machines that it’s worth the inquiry.” Each state has their own rules on how they are going to go about the recounts but Trump an advantage in Wisconsin, but also in Michigan where he is leading with 10,704 votes, and Pennsylvania, where he is leading by 70,638 votes.
As we have seen with the 2016 presidential elections voting choices and electoral outcomes can be extremely important in the United States. The formal opportunity to participate in elections serves to convince citizens that the government is responsive to their needs and wishes. As we discussed in class, elections are important because they give citizens an outlet to exercise the power, and elections give the government legitimacy and authority. Elections are also the main form of institutionalized political activity. Meaning that elections are the best way to convey our voices. With the recount, Americans are questioning the government’s legitimacy. With allegations made such as the system is rigged and the possibility that there could be voter hacking it makes us doubt the real outcome of our votes. This state of affairs draws concern: Has this election has been fairly conducted?
It also leads us to wonder if our needs and wishes are being met. The recount does question the legitimacy of the government, but in a way, the recount could put the people’s minds at ease, ultimately finding that the election was fairly conducted. Therefore, the citizenry will stop with the statements that Trump is not our president and accept the election. Elections give us the opportunity to elect who we want and this is what the people have decided. Even though many might not agree, hopefully, this election encourages people to take elections seriously and subsequently, hopefully, voter turnout will increase. Therefore, events like these will not occur again, where individuals feel the need to protest a president-elect.
Mayra Lopez is a fourth year political science major at Cal Poly Pomona. She plans on pursuing a law degree following graduation. She enjoys taking long hikes and playing soccer. Hopes to travel to Rome and Greece someday.