AMERICASElection 2020In WashingtonPOLITICS

Can Donald Trump defy the popular vote twice?

Donald Trump may not be the most popular American President but political experts believe the college electoral system could serve him again as he seeks a second term in office this November.

Whether Trump ever had the favor of the American population over the course of his first term in office is up for debate, likely wholly dependent on which side of the political corridor one traverses. According to polls, though, Trump perpetually comes up in disfavor.

The most recent poll showed that the presumptive Democrat nominee Joe Biden – who, incidentally, is sitting under a disquieting dark cloud of sexual allegations made against him by Tara Reade – edges Trump in several key battleground states such as Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Florida, all of which were states Trump won in the last elections.

On the strength of those polls one could argue, therefore, if the elections happened today, there’s a case to be had for the public’s likelihood to back Biden rather than Trump in the 2020 US Elections.

This notion gains further national momentum because there’s a feeling that Americans have lost faith in Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. The White House Coronavirus Task Force briefings often turn into an all-out spat between Trump and the media, and public confrontations between the state and federal governments aren’t doing much towards lifting the current administration’s profile in the eyes of voters.

Nevertheless, Trump isn’t bothered nor is he putting any stock into polls. Moreover, the ‘America first’ president rejects the idea that the 2020 US Elections will amount to a referendum on his handling of the coronavirus crisis.

“I don’t believe the polls,” Trump said to Reuters last month in an Oval Office interview. “I believe the people of this country are smart. And I don’t think that they will put a man in who’s incompetent.”

 

In typical ‘Trumpean’ blunt fashion he added, “And I don’t mean incompetent because of a condition that he’s got now. I mean he’s incompetent for 30 years. Everything he ever did was bad. His foreign policy was a disaster,” Trump said.

That Trump isn’t a fan of his presumed Democrat opponent Joe Biden is no secret. All too often he refers to the former vice president as “Sleepy Joe” or “Creepy Joe.” That he would dismiss the relevance of the polls and, in turn, Biden’s supposed lead is par for the course.

The unsettling news for those that put stock in polling results is that the very country’s very quirky democratic system could play in Trump’s favor again. To put it simply, the US elections aren’t always a popularity contest but rather a race to win the electoral college vote And there’s meat on that bone if one looks back to the last general elections.

In 2016, Hilary Clinton had a much healthier lead over Donald Trump in the polls at this very same point in time, only to be crushed in the general elections.

Clinton did win the popular vote – the total number of votes cast nationwide – by almost 3 million more votes than Trump had then, which was a result that fell in line with the polls. But the electoral college vote went considerably in favor of Trump, he won 306 electoral college votes to Clinton’s 232 electoral college votes. Thereby, the keys to the White House were handed to the ‘America first’ president and the widely popular Hilary Clinton could do nothing but concede defeat.

The glaring rift between the popular vote and electoral college vote that emerged four years ago prompted many to call for an overhaul of the country’s voting system, particularly Democrats who are averse to the idea of a second term of the Trump administration.  Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren were amongst some of the most vocal proponents of change.

However, replacing the convoluted college system with a straightforward national popular voting system to decide the presidency is out of the question. It requires amending the US constitution and that’s not quite so simple because it will need the House and Senate in Congress to ratify the change with a two-thirds majority, along with a three-quarter majority of state assembly approval.

In the history of the United States, since tracking approval ratings first began in 1938, a presidential candidate has never won two full terms in office while losing the popular vote twice. This could change.

Donald Trump took the measure of America’s pulse in the last elections, winning rural America over urban America. He could do so again, in spite of the polls.

There’s always a ‘first’ time for everything. And Trump may well become the first president in the history of American politics to accomplish the dubious feat of losing the popular vote but winning the electoral vote.

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Foreign Policy News

Foreign Policy News is a self-financed initiative providing a venue and forum for political analysts and experts to disseminate analysis of major political and business-related events in the world, shed light on particulars of U.S. foreign policy from the perspective of foreign media and present alternative overview on current events affecting the international relations.

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