How Trump Won- A Technical Perspective

Source: The Associated Press

The 2016 presidential election has come and gone. After one of, if not the, longest elections cycles in American history, it seemed that many were ready for its passing. All of the controversy and lackluster media coverage didn’t ease this impatience. Regardless, it has come to a close. However, what many didn’t expect was the outcome. The shocking nature of these results was made evident in the New York Times’ 2016 Election Forecast, in which they said Hillary Clinton had an 85% chance of winning.

Regardless, it is clear that Donald Trump managed to secure the President-elect title. The race, with regards to popular vote, was very close. However, this was not what allowed Trump his victory. Without the Electoral College system, Clinton would have succeeded at becoming the first female president.

The Electoral College consists of 538 people known as electors. Each elector is assigned a certain amount of points (some more than others, and vice-versa). Electors will typically vote based on the popular vote within their particular state. For example, because Trump gained the popular vote specifically within the state of Florida, the Floridian m
embers of the Electoral College voted Trump. Whichever candidate gains 270 electoral votes secures the position of President-elect.

While extremely rare, this system has the potential to allow for a candidate, without receiving the overall popular vote of the nation, to possibly still become president. This race was one of those rare instances. Over the years, this dilemma has led many to question whether the Electoral College should remain as an institution. Some argue that the national popular vote should determine who becomes president. This argument has become increasingly more prevalent in the days since Trump’s electoral victory.

Trump was clearly able te this system to his advantage during the election. He gained the electoral vote in many essential states. These include Florida (29 electoral votes), Texas (38 electoral votes), and Pennsylvania (20 electoral votes). Clinton did gain some strong states herself (exemplified by California, with 55 electoral votes). However, Trump was able to continue on to secure his 270 with the support he gained from these key states.

The Electoral College system is only one component in the overall conglomerate of factors that led to Trump’s victory. CNN’s Exit Poll data reveals some unexpected information that can provide some reasoning behind Trump’s victory.

One of Clinton’s largest efforts was to secure the female vote. While she did get the majority, 54%, this was a very close majority. Trump still secured 42% of women. Another big push for Clinton was the minority vote, which she lost 21% of to Trump. While many expected the moderate vote to go mainly to Clinton, she only received 52%.

Evidently, many were shocked by the outcome of this election. However, there were factors in place, as made evident by both the Electoral College system, as well as additional exit poll data, that help explain Trump’s upset victory.