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The 2016 Election, Why we may NOT be Screwed

Updated on October 5, 2016

The Electoral College

Many Americans may have heard of the Electoral College before, in their U.S. History class or otherwise, but the process is seldom understood. The Electoral College is an event, not a place, in which electorates from every state converge to vote on the next Commander-in-Chief, a.k.a. President of the United States.

Electoral Votes per state


The Process

The Electoral process is performed by state-appointed electorates, a number decided upon by the federal government, who vote in favor of a particular candidate based on their state's own election results. Many states, in fact all besides Maine and Nebraska, employ a winner-take-all system which requires all electorates for that state to vote for their popular candidate.

This system is not without flaws. The famous Bush v. Gore election of 2000 depicted one such case where the popular vote held Al Gore as the successful candidate, but the electoral college had decided George Bush to be the victor.

The Electoral College consists of 538 total votes, requiring a candidate to receive a majority of 270 votes to prevail. States like California, New York, and Texas are regarded as the most influential in the election based on their high number of electorates.

Trump V. Clinton Poll Results

The long-term poll results of the two leading presidential candidates.
The long-term poll results of the two leading presidential candidates. | Source

Currently, the polls place Hillary Clinton ahead of Donald Trump, but the closeness of the race mirrors that of the Bush/Gore election. The decision could once again come down to the sheer number of electorate votes, having the potential to deviate from the popular vote (which currently places Clinton ahead).

It almost seems impossible for this to happen, but considering the winner-take-all systems, the ability of the electorate votes to mirror that of the populous, is considerably hindered. However, this could also be a good thing. The 2016 election is one of breathtaking proportions. For the first time, a celebrity and pop-culture figure is the front-runner of one of our major political parties, and has a serious shot at the presidency. Opposing him is a political veteran, tarnished by scandals and a name with a spotty past. Nevertheless, it WILL come down to the electorate votes, so a more accurate assessment would be to look at current state polls.

As of February 3rd, 2016, Gallup poles found American states to favor the Republican Party
As of February 3rd, 2016, Gallup poles found American states to favor the Republican Party | Source

Gallup Poll Results

For the first time in years, Gallup polls are finding Americans to more commonly associate with the Republican candidate, making Winner-take-all-systems favor the celebrity figure Donald Trump over political figurehead Hillary Clinton. Aside from the potential for an alternative outcome, this would place Trump ahead of Clinton, despite recent polling putting Clinton ahead (as above).

HubPages Poll

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Ultimately, the decision will come down to the votes, which makes our responsibility as participants in the electoral system, that much more valuable and influential. Make one thing certain this election, America. Make the decision our own. Go out and vote. Don't miss it, you just might regret it.


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