The Star (Kenya) - - Voices -

On Tues­day, Amer­i­cans went to the polls with high ex­pec­ta­tions that Hil­lary Clin­ton, the Demo­cratic Party nom­i­nee, would be­come the coun­try’s 45th and first fe­male Pres­i­dent. In a stun­ning de­vel­op­ment, how­ever, the per­son who won is Don­ald Trump. A man who has var­i­ously been dis­missed as a dan­ger­ous dem­a­gogue, in­ept and un­abashedly misog­y­nis­tic. To un­der­stand why this hap­pened and the im­pli­ca­tions of the out­come, es­pe­cially for Kenyans and other for­eign­ers liv­ing in the US — legally or il­le­gally — one must first un­der­stand that in Amer­ica, a Pres­i­dent is not elected by pop­u­lar vote. Who­ever be­comes Pres­i­dent is de­ter­mined by the elec­toral col­lege, which is com­prised of elec­tors from each state ap­por­tioned by each state’s rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the Congress. A can­di­date who wins the ma­jor­ity of the votes in the state gets all of the elec­toral votes avail­able for that state and one needs 270 such votes to win a pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

Gen­er­ally, there are half-dozen or so states that are deemed to be “bat­tle­ground” states, mean­ing ei­ther party’s nom­i­nee can win the state in any given elec­tion, de­pend­ing on the mood of the vot­ers in those states, in­flu­enced by a num­ber of fac­tors and con­sid­er­a­tions.

Given the elec­toral map this year, Clin­ton only needed to have won all the states Pres­i­dent Barack Obama won in 2012 and one other state from this year’s bat­tle­ground states.

Her op­po­nent, Trump, not only needed to win all the re­main­ing bat­tle­ground states but also win at least one of the big states Obama won in 2012 — some­thing every­one other than he and his cult-like fol­low­ers knew was all but im­pos­si­ble, given the var­i­ous vote blocs he has of­fended on his cam­paign trail. Well, the dem­a­gogue has done the im­pos­si­ble in that he has just pulled off one of the big­gest elec­toral up­sets in Amer­i­can his­tory: Send­ing half of the coun­try into shock, un­clear how long it would take for many to re­cover.

Sev­eral ques­tions con­se­quently emerge as a re­sult, chief among them be­ing what hap­pened and what does this mean for Amer­ica and the world at large? Tomes will be writ­ten to an­swer these and other ques­tions, but, for starters — given time and space con­sid­er­a­tions — a few things can be noted:

First, this un­like­li­est of pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates be­came the Repub­li­can Party nom­i­nee be­cause all he did was tap into a grow­ing anger among an in­creas­ingly antigov­ern­ment seg­ment of white Amer­i­cans who re­sent im­mi­grants they blame for their own mis­eries. Not sur­pris­ingly, all of these die-hard sup­port­ers are peo­ple with­out col­lege ed­u­ca­tion and Trump eas­ily ma­nip­u­lated them to get to the White House.

Sec­ond, even as half of the coun­try loathed Trump, and couldn’t even imag­ine the thought of him be­com­ing Pres­i­dent, the other half equally loathed Clin­ton and couldn’t imag­ine the thought of her get­ting to the White House.The elec­tion, there­fore, be­came a ques­tion of who of these two would vot­ers hold their noses and vote for and, as we now know, their choice was Trump with all his flaws.

Third, Clin­ton’s cam­paign sim­ply failed to pro­tect the states of Penn­syl­va­nia, Michi­gan and Wis­con­sin, which they took for granted.Trump won them.

Fourth, a large num­ber of vot­ers, es­pe­cially the so-called blue-col­lar work­ers who to a man voted for Trump, were not ready for a fe­male Pres­i­dent. Fi­nally, de­spite all the tough talk about de­port­ing every­one who is in the US il­le­gally, that will just not hap­pen. To be sure, there will be a spike in de­por­ta­tions upon the man as­sum­ing of­fice, but one can rest as­sured the ac­tions will fall to nor­mal lev­els sim­ply be­cause the man only used the issue to get elected. Once in of­fice, he will be­come your av­er­age Pres­i­dent.

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