Watching the results

Early coverage of the result focussed on 3 more contested states that closed their polls earlier – Florida, North Carolina and Virginia.
The ache was that Virginia was so close, given Trump had pulled his campaign out of that state some weeks ago.
Florida fascinated cos “bellweather” counties suggested Clinton was going to win, knowing that the later returns were to come from urban districts.  Eventually Florida and North Carolina were lost, but they didn’t have to be won.
The election was lost in Pennsylvania and the East North Central states.
Not Ohio, which this year had for some time been less for Hillary than the national mood.
But in Pennsylvania (which I understand was the state that tipped the election), Michigan and Wisconsin which polls did suggest were becoming less certain, but never really suggested would be lost.  (Nor did Hillary’s own campaign see it, with all its activity on the ground.)
If it was thought the polls were saying Hillary would win, they were studied avidly cos actually for the last 2 weeks, they were saying she might not.
The BBC tv news’ contention that no-one expected Trump might win was nonsense and Michael Moore’s documentary was just one example of mobilisation because it was all too possible that Clinton would lose.
Hillary, like Al Gore, lost the election whilst winning the popular vote (as of 8th Jan., by 2.87 million votes, 2.09%).
And a better across the board performance of just 0.8 points higher majority would have given Hillary the presidency, and just 1.3 points would have taken the result from 232- 306 to 308-230  (Michigan (0.23%), Wisconsin (0.75%), Pennsylvania (0.72%), Florida (1.19%); from 48.1%-46.0% to 48.8%-45.4%.)
With elections that close, maybe the FBI’s intervention over the Clinton Foundation’s e-mail server in the last week was enough to cost Hillary the election.
But that comes on top of a lot of other arguments.
So what else to pick out?
1. proper jobs for all;  2. your leader has to have traction with the public;  3. another example of rainbow coalitions not winning;  4. vision for change.  Expanding –
1. That you have to act for areas that suffer from structural changes to their economy with the advance of globalisation.
In that context, free trade is not a popular notion and “local jobs for local people” is a great slogan as well as a social and economic imperative (we can’t afford social programmes if not enough people are paying in).  We’ve known it for a while now (e.g. South Derbyshire 2010) and yet we still can’t make it the focus of what we should do.
2. Hillary won the TV debates and yet there still weren’t any memorable moments of wit. As a person, Trump was more unpopular, but his lines were more memorable and built on his celebrity status as a problem-solver. (“The best qualified” didn’t work for Gordon Brown either.)
3. victories in all the minorities did not add up to total victory.  Doesn’t mean you should dismiss the minorities; does mean you should focus on what wins majority opinion.
4. It’s harder when you’re following one of your own, but you do have to have a clear vision that says this is what you want to do with post for the next four years.  It was a bit of a surprise when Michael Moore started to explain the policy package on the economy, and it just wasn’t memorable.
Trump’s package is bizarre – a huge expansion of investment in infrastructure whilst cutting taxes for the rich; rip up trade deals and climate change deals – accelerate exploitation of coal and hydrocarbon fuels; spending on a big wall; more pro-Russia and more aggression against Da’esh.
Change in political fortunes may come very soon – and Hillary hinted at this – “sooner than we think”.
See Washington Post articles.

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One thought on “Watching the results

  1. A number of things puzzle me though.
    – why are the votes counted for so long after the vote, when there seems to be plenty of opportunity for early voting?
    – has any steps been missed in re-balancing the electoral college – electoral college votes on the sea boards may have failed to keep up with population growth and disadvantaged the Democrats as these were their strong areas
    – democracy in general seems kinda subverted by California only getting 2 senators – same as Rhode Island; but isn’t that just the way the USA seeks to unite? Has California not thought of splitting? Shouldn’t Puerto Rico be part of the union?
    – concerning that first Trump supporters on the day, and later their opponents, cast doubt on the proper behaviour of electronic voting machines. Why are these machines used and why aren’t the doubts sorted out? How can you verify the election as a party supporter – knowing you can see cast votes seems such a reassurance in the UK?
    – rather than states voting for a national winner – does anyone know how what the result would have been if all states voted using the method employed in Nebraska and Maine?
    – seems to me all this – as in the UK – is drafted by an inability to ensure the default being that every person who could qualify to vote is systematically registered.
    Don’t understand either why the losing candidate has to concede on the night.
    Not saying UK is automatically better.
    Just saying I don’t know enough about how the USA does it.

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