“I’ve been wrong on everything about Trump; I’ve been wrong about everything on the Republican side of the ledger. But allow me – with that caveat – to made the prediction that Donald Trump will not be the president of the United States. It just will not happen.” – Cory Booker
We were wrong to predict a Hillary Clinton victory in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election.
Inside the media center at the Hyatt New York in midtown Manhattan two days before the election, all the discussions and analysis by top U.S. officials we attended focused on “how” and “why” the wife of former President Bill Clinton would be the next president of the most powerful country in the world.
All the polls showed the former female U.S. state secretary was way ahead and only a few foreign press representatives there entertained the idea Republican Party candidate Donald Trump defeating Mrs. Clinton, a vastly popular and darling of the Democratic Party.
It was the 58th quadrennial American presidential election held on November 8, 2016.
To the big horror of many American and foreign media representatives, the Republican ticket of businessman Trump and Indiana Governor Mike Pence demolished the Democratic ticket of Mrs. Clinton and Virginia Senator Tim Kaine.
Mrs. Clinton received about 2.9 million more votes nationwide, a margin of 2.1 percent of the total cast, while Mr. Trump pocketed a victory in the Electoral College, winning 30 states with 306 pledged electors out of 538, and overturned the perennial swing states of Florida, Iowa and Ohio, as well as the “blue wall” of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, which had been Democratic strongholds in presidential elections since the 1990s.
Leading up to the election, a Trump victory was projected unlikely by most media forecasts for straight one week prior to the election day.
Issues during the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election were: Health care costs, economic inequality, terrorism, foreign policy (Russia, Iran, Syria, Brexit), gun control, treatment of minorities, immigration policy, shifting media landscape; one of only five elections (1824, 1876, 1888, 2000, 2016) where the popular vote winner was defeated; and Hillary Clinton first female presidential nominee of a major political party.
Mrs. Clinton won Maine but Mr. Trump earned an electoral vote by winning the popular vote in the 2nd Congressional District. This marked the first time that Maine has split its electoral vote since it moved away from the winner-take-all method in 1972.
Independent Evan McMullin received 21.5 percent of the vote in Utah; best ‘3rd party’ performance in any single state since Ross Perot in 1992; Libertarian Gary Johnson received over 3 percent of the nationwide vote; best 3rd party performance nationwide since Ross Perot in 1996.
There were seven faithless presidential electors. Aside from 1872– death of Horace Greeley—it is the greatest number since electors began casting one vote each for president and vice president (12th Amendment, 1804). Three additional faithless votes, one each in Colorado, Maine and Minnesota, were disallowed.
Mrs. Clinton won Washington; however three electors cast votes for Colin Powell, one for Faith Spotted Eagle; Mr. Trump won Texas; however one elector cast a vote for Ron Paul, another for John Kasich
Mr. Clinton won Hawaii; however one elector cast a vote for Senator Bernie Sanders.
There are early signs that a repeat of the 2016 election might happen on November 3, 2020, but former Vice President Joseph Biden’s lead in almost all the major polls conducted weeks before November 3 showed that it will be an uphill climb for reelectionist President Trump—“unless a miracle will happen.”
Mr. Biden is currently leading Donald Trump in the national polls. Currently, the 10-poll average indicates that just over half of Americans intend to back Mr. Biden while Mr. Trump’s support trails this by around five or six points.
We hope we are correct this time.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two dailies in Iloilo)/WDJ