Political scientist provides post-election analysis

Political scientist James Morone spoke to students and faculty at OCCC’s Visual and Performing Arts Center about the presidential election on Wednesday.

Morone, a professor at Brown University and a former Pulitzer Prize nominee, said Donald Trump won the presidential election because of four reasons: the Electoral College, voter turnout, FBI director James Comey, and populism.

Morone said the country’s Electoral College system was a main reason why Trump won.

“A few squeaker states moved this election,” he said.

He said even though Clinton won the popular vote, many of her votes were essentially wasted.

For example, Clinton won California in a landslide, but it didn’t matter how close the margin is in the winner-take-all system of the Electoral College.

Even if you only receive one more vote than your opponent, you will still gain all of the electoral votes from that state, he said.  

Morone said another reason Trump won the election was because of voter turnout.

“Republicans turned out their base. Democrats failed to turn out their base,” he said. As to why this was the case, Morone explained that Republicans were much more excited about their candidate than Democrats were for their candidate.

The third reason behind the election outcome was the action taken by FBI director James Comey. Eleven days before the election, Comey announced the FBI would review newly discovered emails.

“Every campaign tries to paint a narrative of the other candidate, and Trump’s narrative was vindicated by James Comey,” Morone said.   

That narrative, Morone said, is best illustrated by Trump’s comments during a rally in Michigan just days before the election: “Hillary Clinton is guilty. She knows it, the FBI knows it, the people know it, and now it’s up to the American people to deliver justice at the ballot box on November 8,” Trump said.

Morone said the fourth explanation to why Donald Trump won was because Trump captured the populist spirit.

The Cambridge Dictionary defines populism as “political ideas and activities that are intended to get the support of ordinary people by giving them what they want,” he said. Trump took advantage of the fact that many Americans are angry and want a lot of things to change.

After describing how Trump won the election, Morone spoke of what the election meant for American politics. Since the president and Congress will both be controlled by the Republican Party, he explained how the Democratic Party is becoming weaker.

Even though the party is weakening, he said political parties are similar to a pendulum. When one side starts to become more powerful, the power tends to shift to the other side.

Morone concluded his speech by saying the future is in the hands of the younger generation and that everyone should care about these issues.

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