In a shocking upset that surprised the nation, business tycoon Donald J. Trump has become the president-elect of the United States.
According to the New York Times, Trump officially has 278 electoral college votes of the needed 270, and is expected to have 306 by the time the votes are finished being counted.
Most predictions leading up to the election favored former first lady, senator and secretary of state Hillary Clinton. The New York Times predicted that Clinton had an 85% chance of winning. Famous statistician, Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com, forecasted a 71.4% chance of a Democratic presidential victory based on hour-by-hour poll results synthesized from across the country.
Dr. Mark Smith, director of the Center for Political Studies at Cedarville University, said that the polls were largely inaccurate for a number of reasons: the oversampling of Democratic voters, a heavy margin of error and a bias based on Obama’s past results.
“People like to say [the polls] are rigged, that they’re biased, you know…well, maybe — but they’re biased based on evidence,” he said.
Smith says that one main reason for Trump’s victory was Clinton’s inability to bring the same turnout as Obama did in 2008 and 2012, especially among minority voters. As a result, many typically Democratic states, such as Pennsylvania and Michigan, voted Republican, according to the Washington Post.
“Clearly, she was not able to generate the kind of enthusiasm that President Obama did,” he said. “Mrs. Clinton, like Trump, was a flawed candidate, and even Democrats viewed her typically unfavorably — that wasn’t ever true with Mr. Obama. Also, whether you like Hillary or dislike her she’s not new, and so she doesn’t excite people in the same way that a new candidate excites people.”
One interesting trend in the election is that, according to the current vote count, Clinton won the popular vote. The electoral college system, which functions through a set of representatives and votes delegated to each state, was what elected Trump. This has only happened four other times in the entire course of American history.
Smith says that this does not mean that Clinton was really America’s preferred candidate.
“I would be more concerned if I believed her popular vote edge was really meaningful,” Smith said. “In this case, it’s not that meaningful to me, because it stems almost entirely from the state of California.”
Smith believes that because Democratic margins in California are very large, and the state itself is very large, much of the influx of the popular vote win is from California, not spread across the country.
“This wasn’t a close election or a razor-thin election, and it certainly wasn’t in the electoral college,” he added.
The transition from current president to president-elect is already under way. The Trumps’ first visit to the White House happened Nov. 10.
President Obama put aside the negative things he had said about Trump on the campaign trail and stated that he will help ease a difficult transition.
“We now are going to want to do everything we can to help you succeed because if you succeed, then the country succeeds,” the President said.
Alexandria Hentschel is a freshman international studies major and an off-campus news writer for Cedars. She enjoys old books, strong coffee, and
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