Jeremy must be "absolutely shocked" right now

skip to 15:00

He is not the only one. :-/

Most definitely not. In fact I wouldn’t have been the one to contradict him at the time. It’s just so absurd to look back at how we got to where we are.

I’m not. Seemed like one of the most likely outcomes. Shrug.

Speaking personally, I was genuinely shocked. While Trump no doubt tapped into a very real (and quite legit) discord with politics and politicians, in such an emotive and nasty election season I was surprised not just that he won, but that he won by that much.

It really seemed like the most likely outcome, to me. The DNC worked (for years) to make sure no other candidates could win the primary on the Democratic side, all with the purpose of running the most hated candidate in history. Someone with so much baggage, and so little good stuff to show, that she could never win a normal election.

But they’d broken so many laws, and illegally moved around so much money, that they needed to try to stay in power… or risk jail time (etc.). They tried – even pushing and encouraging the one candidate they thought they might have a chance at beating.

But they couldn’t. They were just too corrupt.

I didn’t see it until after the election. The right has blamed Hillary Clinton for assassinating political rivals, for voluntarily defending pedophiles in court and laughing about it, and for serious neglect of responsibility in the Benghazi embassy attack. Those allegations are false.

But we on the American left - and I include myself - only discredited ourselves in the eyes of undecided voters by insisting the rest of her record was clean. It wasn’t. She and Bill Clinton paid Paula Jones a million to silence her rape allegations against Bill Clinton. The Clintons received millions of dollars from Wall Street executives for speeching engagements and the Clinton Foundation charity receives millions from foreign government, and the allegations of corruption and payment for favors were never countered by a public disclosure of the finances of the Foundation. CIA directory Petraeus shared classified email and he is not prosecuted but his political career was immediately ended. Conversely she shares even more classified email and her career is not hindered. Last but not least, Wikileaks email drops proved that two successive heads of the Democratic National Committee helped fix the primary in Hillary’s favor.

I voted for her anyway, but she was undeniably corrupt. Six to ten million of the people that voted for Barack Obama just stayed home this month.

It’s a sad state. I’m not sure if I consider myself “left” or “right” (I’m definitely not “centrist”… so who knows what the hell I am) but I often vote Democrat. And, as of this moment, am a member of the Democratic party.

This election? I didn’t vote for a single Democrat. Not one. The corruption is beyond unacceptable and I made a point of not voting for anyone involved… in any way.

The Democrats have me in a corner, and they know it. Even with all of Hillary’s corruption, and even knowing she is in the pocket of the big banks, on a number of key issues her positions were much more acceptable to me than those of Donald Trump. So I voted for her anyway under the assumption that her win was the least unpleasant possible thing that could happen on November 8.

But too few people agreed with that cynical reasoning, and now here we are.

Doubly shocking that she actually got more votes when it was all said and done and he still carried as many electoral votes as he did. That’s five times this has happened in our nation’s history and to the detriment of the same party each time to boot :stuck_out_tongue:

1 Like

jkm: it will always be somewhat to the detriment of the party whose support is concentrated vs. the party whose support is distributed. AIUI, the electoral college is designed to make sure that having distributed support is not a significant disadvantage in winning elections. (Compare the UK: UKIP got 4 million votes and 1 MP.) You may say that a better system could be found, but I don’t think it’s reasonable to say it’s designed specifically to disadvantage the left, or the Democrats. If support patterns were the other way around, and the cities were Republican, it would disadvantage them.

Absolutely correct, it was never designed to disadvantage any party. Both parties have alternated more or less randomly having an “advantage” in the electoral college for at least the past century as the winning candidate’s coalition of voters has changed from election to election. Barack Obama was able to win Indiana in 2008, for example (which is remarkable given that state hardly ever votes Democratic).

The problem, I think, is not the Electoral College per se but rather the winner-take-all aspect of it. It’s the same problem as the UKIP example you mentioned where a large number of votes doesn’t necessarily translate to sitting MPs. If more states would follow the lead of Nebraska or Maine and allow their electoral votes to be split by congressional district, that would lessen the changes of a popular vote/electoral vote mismatch. Such a system would still be winner-take-all, just with the votes awarded by smaller geographic areas instead of by whole states.

Of course states could also go full on PR but I don’t know how realistic that one would be.

Apologies if I am asking a stupid question here but while I understand why it is possible in the UK the winning party to not have the majority of the votes I don’t understand why the next US president can’t be decided on a simple measure of total votes cast.

In the UK the Prime-minister is decided as being the leader of the party that gets the most seats. If a party has more than half the seats available we have a majority government as we do now in the UK but if not we have a minority government which may choose to make deals with other parties to have majority power or may choose to go it alone in which case it has to fight over every political decision. Each seat represents a particular area so it is not inconceivable that one party might win more seats than any other with very small margins while another party might have very strong support in other parts of the country and get 100% (or close to - of the votes )leading to a situation where the party with the most seats not having the most votes.

In the US however I thought you were voting for 1 person in one job so why isn’t this just a case of adding up all the votes and giving the job to the person who has the majority, even if this is only one vote.

My understanding id that Clinton won the popular vote but that it was very close, less than 1% between her and Trump.

I apologise if I’m missing something here and if I am I look forward to being corrected on this.

Your question is, basically: why does the US electoral college exist at all? And the answer is, roughly: counting the popular vote is easy now but it would have been really, really difficult in the late 1700s. There’s also concern about big states dominating (the BBC says “The framers of the constitution in 1787 rejected both the election of the president by Congress and election by direct popular vote, on the grounds that people would vote for their local candidate and the big states would dominate”), but that’s only dubiously correct because bigger states still get more votes in the college. I suspect that if you created the USA today you wouldn’t create the electoral college, but fiddling about with the very method by which the government is chosen is deservedly extremely difficult to do legislatively and nobody’s annoyed enough with the electoral college to burn all their political capital on getting it fixed.

Yes Stuart, this is basically my question.

I know we both interested in politics though I suspect I am more active in this respect than you are.

it is a pity if the US system is the way it is for purely historical reasons, That it was more difficult to count exact votes in the past but you may have known who had the majority without knowing the exact numbers.

But we are both from the UK and looking at this from the outside. Our shared analysis of this may be correct but I would like to hear if we are misinterpreting the situation.

1 Like


The electoral college is there because the election is, in effect, happening in 50(ish) different states (aka “countries”). The USA is a federation of states. Each state votes to determine who they will put their electoral votes behind when choosing the executive branch of the federation.

There are definitely problems with the system – and the reasoning has deteriorated over the years as the federation grew in strength while (often) the individual states gave up power to that federation. How it should be going forward… that’s a good debate. I have multiple opinions on it. I also have strong opinions on the issue of the number of “votes” each state gets in determining the executive branch of the federation.

Please respect our code of conduct which is simple: don't be a dick.