Every democratic country tries to adopt a system that is as democratic as possible while at the same time protecting the interests of the ruling parties. We have that in European countries (including Ireland!) and we have the same in the US. But depending if you are on the winning side or on the losing side, some of these un-democratic rules can be particularly upsetting.
Most of us experienced this on Wednesday after the US Presidential election. It all happened in a country geographically far away and we were not even allowed to vote, but to think that it won’t affect us would be a big mistake. So the whole world had a stake or at least a keen interest in the US elections and the shock afterwards was HUGE. I don’t think I saw any non-election related Facebook message on Wednesday or Thursday.
It is bad news that a misogynistic, racist egomaniac who has not the slightest bit of political experience and who has frightening views in nearly every area from the use of nuclear weapons to climate change and from the building of a wall on the Mexican border to his opinion about Russia’s Vladimir Putin will become the new president and many couldn’t understand how the votes could get it so wrong.
But interestingly, the voters didn’t get it THAT wrong. A majority of voters voted for Hillary Clinton. Not a BIG majority but Hillary Clinton got 60,231,953 votes which is 47.7% and Donald Trump got 59,893,663 votes, which is 47.4%. So the difference is only approximately 330,000 votes, but it is a definite majority for Hillary Clinton on what the Americans call, the “popular vote”. The decider, however, is the “electoral vote” and that is a very odd system. The electoral vote was won by Trump with 289 votes versus Clinton’s 228 votes. (Michigan and New Hampshire are not finally counted yet, so another 21 votes have to be distributed.)
So the next president of the biggest democratic nation in the world is NOT the person that got most of the votes in a democratic election, but the person that only came second. ODD!
Have a look at this video clip here if you want to understand more about how the Electoral College concept works.