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US electoral system is confused

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US electoral system is confused

American Ambassador Deborah Malac

American Ambassador Deborah Malac



When he was campaigning to get into the White House, Donald Trump, said he would “drain the swamp” of the Washington Establishment, which he considered “corrupt”. He specifically targeted his abuse against the voting system in which he constantly accused the Democrats of preparing to rig him out as he believed he would win the poll – which he did.

However, having now won, Trump, who has repeated some of the accusations he made during the campaign, has been very noticeably quiet about the “corrupt electoral system”. In particular, he railed against the election of some of the representatives for interminable terms. For instance, there is a

Congressman, from the state of Massachusetts, who has been re-elected no less than 20 times.

And in the recent appointments he has made so far, Trump has named what are referred to as the, “Washington insiders”; Rience Priebus and Stephen Bannon, as his closest aides, in effect relying on the Washington Establishment to implement his policies when he takes over power on January 20th, 2017.

t is becoming clear that, at least in this score, Trump will follow in the footsteps of the founders of the American state. This is a pity since it appears now he is going along with the corrupt establishment. In this, Hillary Clinton played her part to the hilt when, upon the first announcements of the results, she congratulated Trump on his victory.

Yet, in terms of the popular vote, Clinton polled more votes than Trump to the tune of about one million. But American elections for the office of the president do not specifically rely on the popular vote, but on the 538 national electors.

These are the delegates selected by each state according to their respective populations and by their party’s voting strength. This is supposed to ensure parity among states where some are more populous than others. For instance, California has a population of nearly 60 million as against Rhode Island, which has less than one million people.

The electors are chosen as delegates by their states on a representative basis per their state population and they congregate on Capitol Hill to elect the president by secret ballot. But in effect, even before they assemble on Capitol Hill, which happens much later than the actual polled votes have been counted, the number each presidential candidate has realized from the electors, is known before hand.

Thus, Trump had 269 electoral votes against Clintons 223. The other electors were shared by the other candidates, notably; Gary Johnson, Evan McMullin and Jill Stein.

This is essentially, where the problem in the American electoral system lies. What is the point of counting the popular vote, if at the end of the exercise, the reliance is put on the electoral vote? Would it not have been much better and more sensible if the popular vote was directly tied up with the electoral votes?

Then, the electoral vote would not be counted as to the dominant party poll in the respective state, which is currently the case. Or, simply, get rid of one type of voting all together, and fashion the other one to be more representative?

This has confused the election watchers from, especially the African countries, who are now questioning the democratic efficacy of the American electoral system. For these Africans, stealing of the votes is more directly understandable than this apparent sophistication, which amounts to the same as stealing of the votes, which is prevalent in the African elections. So, where is the electoral democracy, that the Americans are all the time pushing down the throat of African states?

All over the world now, when the voting day comes, American embassies stage overnight parties, to watch as each US state “calls” the vote. Here, Envoy Deborah Malach, staged the occasion at Sheraton Hotel, where the local political luminaries and world envoys went to watch. But we need to watch meaningful polls.

Since his “selection”, Trump has faced demonstrations from the American public in which they say he is “not our president”. Democrats Hillary Clinton, like Al Gore before her, has been, in effect, robbed of victory; that is how Africans would look at it. Unless Trump re-evaluates the electoral system, even his “eight more years” that is the cry of his voters after his election, will become hollow.

szumuz@yahoo.com

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