Washington, Dec 3 (IANS) Hillary Clinton polled over 2.5 million more votes than Donald Trump, yet come January 20, the Manhattan mogul would become POTUS – President of the United States. That’s not cricket!
Turns out, it’s very much cricket under America’s crazy voting system. People don’t choose their president, but 538 electors pledged to a candidate. And it’s they who would ‘select’ the new tenant of White House on December 19.
Each state gets from three to 55 electors based on its population. But in a winner-take-all system in all but two states (Maine and Nebraska), these guys collectively forming the Electoral College must vote for the candidate who wins their state.
Finally, whoever reaches the magic figure of 270 electoral votes gets the crown. Thus Trump cruised home with 306 electoral votes with victories in 30 states to Clinton’s 232 garnered from 20 states including the most populous California.
Talking cricket, it’s like India amassing huge totals in a couple of matches, but losing the series.
If you take out liberal California where Clinton got all the 55 electoral votes after defeating Trump by over 4.1 million votes, the billionaire handily wins the popular vote too with a margin of nearly 1.7 million votes.
And that’s precisely what some Californians want since Trump’s stunning “Brexit plus plus” victory – a Calexit. “Yes California,” a fringe political group, has launched an independence campaign bankrolled by an angel investor.
“As the sixth-largest economy in the world, California is more economically powerful than France and has a population larger than Poland,” it claimed trying to sell its pipedream of secession through a referendum in 2018.
With Clinton becoming the fifth person in history to win the popular vote but lose the presidency, many have started questioning the Electoral College as an anachronism.
Among them fellow Democrat Al Gore, who lost to George W. Bush in 2000 despite polling half a million more votes.
Trump, who had himself called the system a “disaster” before the election now sings a different tune. “I was never a fan of the Electoral College until now,” he told the New York Times reporters amid laughter.
“The popular vote” is “a whole different game” but it “would have been easier” for him to win by campaigning only in a few large states, the billionaire insisted.
And as the Clinton campaign joined an effort by Green Party candidate Jill Stein, who polled a measly one percent vote, for a recount in up to three battleground states, Trump launched a twitter war dismissing it as a “scam” and a “sad” effort by “cry babies.”
With “sore losers” Democrats turning Clinton’s win in the popular vote as a rallying cry, “sore winner” Trump upset over losing the icing on his victory cake, fired a salvo: “I won the popular vote, if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.”
Then as some “Never Trump” protesters burnt the American flag including one in front of his Manhattan Trump Tower, he shot off another demanding “consequences” including jail or loss of citizenship though the apex court has declared such acts as “free speech.”
As the media once again fell for The Donald’s classic tweet bait and switch, he picked up tough-talking “Mad Dog” General James Mattis as his defence secretary and three “killer” billionaires to head his treasury, commerce and education departments.
And as “the dishonest media” piled on the populist Trump for fishing in the very swamp of cosy corruption in Washington he had vowed to drain, he asked the Desi “Sheriff of Wall Street” Preet Bharara “to stay on.”
Then with a carrot and stick approach, he struck a deal with Carrier air conditioning company to keep 1,000 jobs in Indiana, shelving their plans to move them to Mexico even as he warned others contemplating an exit of “consequences.”
Amid media cries of “conflict of interest”, Trump also announced plans to stage his “exit” from his new hotel in the iconic old post office building in Washington to other businesses spread over 20 nations by mid December.
Getting ready to write a “new chapter” in US history, the billionaire found an unlikely phone friend in Barack Obama. The first black occupant of the White House is offering him tips on Washington’s ins and outs as he mulls his own exit at noon on January 20.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])