The Armchair Expert
As an Arts and IR student from Melbourne, my column offers a broad perspective on current International affairs. I’m in my first year, draw political cartoons and major in history. Living on campus and keen on politics, my column Armchair Expert hopes to keep you informed for when politics come up in conversation.
Everyone, it seems, has their own insider information about the U.S. election. We love regurgitating, with a smug look on our faces, that “Trump has tapped into something” or that “you might be surprised come November.” It’s as if the FBI has had a sit down with every Politics major and said, “This is just between you and me, OK?”
But there actually is a fairly accurate way to predict why Hillary will win. Just look at a map.
For starters, the Democrats have a huge advantage: California. California is the Texas of the Democrats. The Democrats’ ‘A New Hope’ to the Republicans’ ‘The Empire` Strikes Back’. It’s the biggest state in the union and has 55 Electoral College votes. Remember, you only need 270 to become President.
Next up on the pro-Clinton list are New York (29 votes), Illinois (20 votes) and New Jersey (14 votes). All solid blue. Compare Clinton’s top four states to Trump’s. Even Texas isn’t considered safe this year, but we’ll give it to him anyway. Texas has 38 electoral votes (17 less than California). The next biggest red states are Tennessee (11 votes), Indiana (11 votes) and Mississippi (10 votes). So, Trump’s biggest four states give him a grand total of 70 electoral votes. Only 200 to go. Clinton’s big four, on the other hand, give her 118. Almost double.
The good news for the Democrats is that this trend continues down the page. The Founding Fathers had the bright idea that you could lose more states, and still win. Worse yet for Trump, you could win the total popular vote, and still lose. But, if there’s hope for Trump, it lies in the battleground states. It’s all very dramatic.
Trump, however, shouldn’t be too hopeful. Florida is the need-to-win state for Trump with its precious 29 electoral votes, though it’d be nice for Clinton too. Clinton, however, has consistently polls higher than Trump in the state that Obama won in ’08 and ’12 – and everyone knows Clinton is secretly just Obama.
All in all, we may as well start acting like Clinton has already won. Something unheard of would have to happen for her not to – like a leaked document showing a $1 billion loss or a leaked 2005 clip of her objectifying women. But that’d never happen…
Winning the White House, however, is only the first half of Clinton’s worries. Currently, the Republicans control the senate 54 seats to 44, and the house 247 to 188 due to some generous gerrymandering. Yet, in part due to the right honourable Republican presidential nominee, the Democrats have a real chance of overtaking this trend. If the Senate and House turn blue, genuine change may sweep America. Clinton may even be able to fulfil the promises she’s made to voters and politicians alike throughout her campaign. Infrastructure, tax reform and gun control may actually become a reality.
But folks, this is the U.S. of A. and it’s unfortunately likely we’ll see a repeat of the wartime tactics the Republicans deployed against Obama in 2008 if (when) Clinton is elected, with the right wing simply not negotiating. Obama was the first President to have been denied a budget hearing in the senate. When asked why they were delaying the passing of a budget bill in 2013, a Tea Party Senator replied, “We want to get something out of him, we just don’t know what.” He was also the first President to be denied a Supreme Court hearing. Sadly, this treatment was likely because he was the first African-American President, which indicates that Clinton – the first woman President – may find herself at the receiving end of similar prejudice.
If politics is sport for nerds, counting electoral votes is keeping score. All in all, the author predicts that Hillary Clinton will win roughly 330 electoral votes and topple Trump in a landslide. The state of the Union, however, remains to be seen.