By S. Sivathasan –
When Hillary lost the Primary in 2008, a fortune awaited her. The office of Secretary of State which came her way added to her political stature. Resulting therefrom was a four-year experience at top echelons. A further four years of preparation followed for the highest office. When the primaries for 2016 concluded by end July, her victory at the Presidential was for sure.
Hillary Wins Before Voting Starts
She had won even as the contest had commenced was a sharp comment. How? From 1992 to 2012, Democrats had won 18 states consecutively at 6 elections, securing in a row 242 electoral votes. To that may be added in November, 29 votes from Florida which voted Democrat thrice in 6 recent elections. Two of the latest were consecutive and this win takes the total to 271 electoral votes. To become President, 270 would suffice.
Unerring Knack of Florida and Ohio to Pick the Winner
Not to be discounted in 2016, is Ohio voting Democrat in 4 out of 6 elections since 1992. With this addition of 18 votes, the total reaches 289. There is a further spectacle. Florida and Ohio have a remarkable knack in voting for the winning candidate. Since 1976, Florida selected the winning side unerringly on 9 out of 10 occasions. Ohio’s record was 10 out of 10. Accurate discernment explains the consistent success of the past. In these two states the party gap is ever widening in favour of Hillary after nominations, with no sign of abatement. It is said as a truism that the winner of Florida becomes President. Same is said of Ohio. Hillary’s victory is therefore doubly sure.
As constant as the North Star is Winning Trajectory of Democrats
In the US Presidential election 2016, the degree of certainty in Hillary’s victory has stood constant as the North Star. Conversely, predictability of her opponent’s defeat has been equally unwavering. Both phenomena have gone apace from July 28, the day Democratic Convention concluded. A shattering effect on the Republican candidate is now countrywide. The process never took 20 months to reach this stage by mid-August 2016.
Victory Was Writ Large in the Stars
It commenced in January 2015, well ahead of the primary. Hillary had a head start with a popularity rating of 80%. Trump’s stood at 3%. A gap that started as a chasm narrowed to a hair crack by July 2016, the month of the conventions. Hardly anyone was flustered at the latter’s progress. Thereafter a picture of slide unfolded as foreseen and unsurprisingly. Why? To the discerning among the citizenry, Trump was never ‘Presidential Material’. The more percipient believed He will ‘talk his way out of the contest’. It has happened so and is continuing steadily on. Even the unprecedented step of withdrawing the mandate was considered by Republicans. Idea of changing the Republican horse midstream too was seriously entertained.
Republican Bubble Burst Against Democrats’ Bounce
In the days of Republican Convention in August 2016, Trump got the usual bounce which was prematurely trumpeted. In the week that followed, the Democratic Convention put paid to the seeming bubble that was. Outstanding speakers with impressive records captured the voter audience nationwide. Bernie Sanders who emerged from the primary as a great man and greater still at the Convention, helped weld the Democratic camp with his impassioned oratory. The millennial vote wafted instinctively into Hillary’s fold.
Mischelle Obama with an aura of her own as the nation’s First Lady delivered a speech that was gripping. It was as passionate as Bernie’s, drawing millions to the support of Hillary instantly. John Biden’s oratory, both forceful and persuasive had a strong impact on the elector’s mind. It was unmatched even by his own previous speeches. Coming as it did from the heart of the Establishment, it carried much conviction.
Bill Clinton, ever the most magnetic personality at elections, projected the Hillary that the nation had not fully known. Presented were her predilection for bold initiatives, relentless pursuit of change and tenacity for sustained engagement as pillars of her character. Empathy with students, responsive to the needs of the health seeking, employment for the young and equitable tax regime for all were among the salient transformative policies that Hillary was committed to as affirmed by Bill. They have resonated with the peoples’ mood.
The Vice Presidential candidate Tim Kaine speaking with a touch of Mark Antony, established his credentials for the high office he was selected. Against his barbs both cynical and sarcastic, Trump suffered demolition of his prating at business success. He ridiculed Trump for saying often ”I alone can fix it”. Hillary said we together will fix it is the approach on her side. By now time had come for matters technical and professional.
The President of US, as Commander in Chief has the powerful and privileged right over the nuclear button. Mastery in defense issues and depth of understanding of Foreign Affairs are fundamental. Even for a click of choice to the correct specialist, deep knowledge is called for. The former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta with his specialized knowledge and experience brought forth the essentials needed in the highest Executive. His speech delivered with patriotic fervor was most convincing to the electors not to have illusions about Trump’s capability. He had none of it the nation averred. It became clear that the citizenry can take no chances.
Outlining a penetrating piece on economic policy and programme, was left to the acumen of Michael Bloomberg. To an extremely important plank in the election agenda, he skillfully knocked the bottom out of the hypothesis that Trump labored to concoct for the economy. Against a professional’s onslaught, a nondescript lost his standing. Bloomberg’s most critical statement was that he was not a Democrat, but entered the forum “to defeat a dangerous demagogue”. This was devastating.
President Obama on Hillary and Trump
On soil long prepared and brought at the Convention to a fine tilth, Obama sowed his ideas. They had a ready reception from viewers in their millions. “There has never been a man or woman more qualified than Hillary Clinton” he asserted. In one sentence Hillary was elevated to high heaven and Trump mercilessly de-pedestalized.
Hardly five days after the Convention, Obama responding to a question at a press conference said in the presence of the Singapore Prime Minister, “The Republican nominee is unfit to serve as President”. Going further he added “He keeps on proving it”. To show how disconsolate he was with the candidate, Obama said he was “woefully unprepared”. About Trump’s business career the description was “leaving a trail of lawsuits and unpaid workers and people feeling cheated”. All this flow of words and more from an incumbent President, was to the glare of the world.
Presidential Nominee Hillary
At the conclusion of a galaxy of oratorical talent that extolled the merits of the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton made her acceptance speech. She herself brought out the spirit in her to fight tirelessly and to a finish in all her life. The country knew what she achieved in health reform after decades of effort. Pitted against her is Trump, who for the first time in US election history never held elected office nor was in any public position nor held any office in federal governance. Hillary called him “too unsteady to be president”. She even said he was “dangerously unpredictable and not qualified to be president”
It is not without reason or some superior vitality that she came to the forefront as the first female candidate to gain nomination for Presidency. The office is only 82 days away. Among her firsts, the most significant one was as First Lady being the wife of a charismatic, dynamic and successful achiever as president, Bill Clinton. ‘Buy one, get one free’ is a marketing cliché. It is now deftly used for the best purpose to reach the highest office in US. When Hillary is voted in, the best Advisor with 8 years of presidential experience and 16 years of post-presidential mellowing, walks in alongside. This fact or asset is not lost on the 225 million electors.
What Assures Victory?
In a century from 1912, Democrats won 13 elections and Republicans 12. In the last half a century, the two parties won 7 each. In the immediate quarter century Democrats won 4 out of 6. Democrats have remained formidable. At the November election character and leadership attributes of the two candidates count for much. How fast and how well voters are deciding is becoming clearer by the day. The cumulative impact of all the soul-stirring speeches on the Democratic side has taken its toll on Trump. There is effervescence among Democrats, intensifying their effort further. Slump on the side of Trump is evident.
Voter Profile and Voting Pattern
US is multi ethnic and the ethnic profile of voters has been changing rather drastically in recent years. In the 2016 elections, 64 million or 31% are ethnic minorities comprising Blacks, Hispanics and Asians. From 1980 to 2012, Democratic leaning minority vote increased by 12% and touched 28%. In 2016 there are10.7 million more voters of whom 2/3 are ethnic minorities. Waiting to be garnered by whom?
Trump pitched his tent in the all-white camp, hitched his wagon to waning stars and looks askance at the snow ball effect in voting. He alienated minorities with scare stories of deportation and wall building. He has galvanized them into voting against him. After he meets with his Waterloo and analyses his defeat, he will lament with Napoleon “I am the architect of my own misfortune”.
November Voting – 417 for Clinton and 121 for Trump (both Electoral Votes)
The above prospect is what the future portends. An year of primaries enlightened voters of Democratic orientation into convinced voters at the November elections. Trump was preoccupied with wrenching the nomination from his numerous Republican competitors. In a no holds barred strategy, his talk without restraint exposed his inadequacies. Intellectual capacity and academic equipment crucial for a president were found to be non-existent. Little wonder that leading Republicans have deserted ship.
Alarmist howling designed to draw in more whites, was foreign to white sensibilities. Policies he was trying to evolve on immigration were contrary to the ideals in the constitution. A nation with centuries of immigration being forced to turn anti-immigrant seemed unethical. Ethnic and religious minorities were brutally alienated. What now manifests in polls of wrath will turn into votes of trumping Trump.
National security is primary in an environment of international turmoil. The best of minds and professionals steeped in issues foreign and matters defence have to share their expertise with the highest executive of the nation. Do possibilities exist when a presidential nominee’s stance is, “I alone can fix it”? Serving defence specialists can’t revolt. Retired personnel in numbers have responded to their ‘call of duty’ in moving away from the Republican nominee.
Multiplicity of factors have moved in conjunction to change the electoral balance. The image of the candidate is what the country looks for. At age 70 a public personality is an open book. Can a strategist change a line of what is written?
Post-Convention change in mood is substantial. Swing states have swung and steadied. Battleground states have joined the way the ‘War’ is going. The writer sees 33 states yielding 417 electoral votes to Hillary Clinton on November 8. Trump is supported by 17 states with an yield of 121 electoral votes. Of the 17 states, 9 have voted Republican consecutively at 12 elections till 2012. But for this solidity, the candidate’s position will be more fragile.