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Presidential Election 2016

By January 2015, no one had officially announced their candidacy but the 2016 battle for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination was off to a fast and furious start. More than 20 prominent Republicans had indicated some level of interest in running for the White House in 2016 including some who were well known and others who had yet to build a national reputation. Among the better known was former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin who said she was “seriously interested” in running for president next year. Palin made a splash in 2008 as Sen. John McCain’s vice presidential running mate but wound up getting more attention than she wanted from NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” which portrayed her as a dim-witted buffoon.

There was a palpable arrogance among liberals in the US that dismissed Trump's supporters as bigots, loonies, the fringe and in Clinton's own words – a "basket of deplorables". A broad swathe of Trump's voter base is indeed deplorable but that doesn't mean that all of them were deplorable. Neither does it mean that the "deplorables" didn't have sincere fears about the direction that the US was headed in. Clinton defined the status quo. She also represented eigth more years of Clinton, and dynastic politics doesn't always sit well with people, especially when they already distrust her and her husband. Trump voters were extremely anti-establishment and not only did Hillary Clinton embody that elite, but that Trump voters also wanted to send a firm rebuke to the establishment Republican-elite who had rejected Trump.

Republicans did extraordinarily well in the November 2014 midterm elections, retaking control of the Senate and adding to their solid majority in the House of Representatives. That electoral success has encouraged Republicans about winning the White House back in 2016.

Bush, Romney and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie would compete for the votes of mainstream Republican voters. Tea Party activists had several heroes to choose from in the primaries and caucuses. Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and Florida Senator Marco Rubio all won their Senate seats with strong support from Tea Party activists and looked to them again for help in the primaries. Former Texas Governor Rick Perry also hoped to compete in this category.

Donald Trump first publicly showed interest in politics in the late 1980s. He joined the Reform Party, then the Democratic Party, and then became an independent. In 2012, he declared as a Republican, vowing to "make our country great again."

Trump announced his candidacy on June 16, 2015, and after seventeen Republican contenders suspended their campaigns, he accepted the Republican nomination for President of the United States in July of 2016. Candidate Trump became known for controversial statements, blaming Mexican immigrants for bringing drugs and other problems to the United States. His controversial solution: Build a wall at the U.S. border, and make Mexico pay for it.

More controversy followed as Trump called for a ban on Muslims entering the U.S. following a mass shooting in California. Yet, his support grew among Republicans, who say they count on Trump to create more jobs and opportunities for everyday Americans.

Fake news and ‘alternative facts’ invaded Northern Hemisphere politics during the U.S. presidential election and Brexit. Social media were the breeding ground for falsehoods driven by cynical manipulation and click-bait revenue potential. Mainstream news organisations became unwitting agents when they spread the messages to wider audiences eager to have their prejudices reinforced. Teenagers in the town of Veles, Macedonia made a lot of money selling online advertising which surrounded their fake news stories in support of Donald Trump during his election campaign.

Robert Mercer is a New York hedge-fund tycoon. Rebekah Mercer is the daughter of hedge-fund tycoon Bob Mercer. The force behind Breitbart News is the Mercer family - economic nationalism, nativism, anti-immigration, pro-harsh borders, anti-free trade, protectionist - the language of right-wing populism. Steve Bannon said "The Mercers laid the groundwork for the Trump revolution. Irrefutably, when you look at donors during the past four years, they have had the single biggest impact of anybody, including the Kochs." Before Bannon and Kellyanne Conway joined the Trump campaign, the Mercers bankrolled Bannon’s Breitbart News. Conway ran a super PAC created by the Mercers to initially back the candidacy of Ted Cruz. The Mercers invested in a data mining firm called Cambridge Analytica, which claims it has psychological profiles of over 200 million American voters. The firm was hired by the Trump campaign to help target its message to potential voters. David Bossie, whose organization Citizens United was also very heavily backed by the Mercer family, he became Trump's deputy campaign manager.

David Magerman, a former senior employee at Renaissance Technologies, Mercer' wildly lucrative hedge fund, later wrote that Mercer was "... making an investment. He’s buying shares in this candidate, Trump. And now that Trump’s been elected, he owns a piece of him. He owns a share of the presidency.... Everybody’s got a right to express their own political views, but it’s a real worry when the government of the United States is being set up to reflect — is being peopled by Mercer’s people, who are running our government, and it feels more like an oligarchy than a democracy."

Michael Goodwin wrote in the New York Post that " Clinton is not so much leading the Democratic Party as the beneficiary of its sprawling political cultural, and racial strength. Resembling a European-style parliamentary leader, she is running like she wants to be a prime minister selected by her party instead of an American president elected by voters."

Nate Silver’s reflections on The Real Story of 2016 about polls, forecasts and political analysis in the 2016 US Presidential election, includes this gem: “…there are real shortcomings in how American politics are covered, including pervasive groupthink among media elites, an unhealthy obsession with the insider’s view of politics, a lack of analytical rigor, a failure to appreciate uncertainty, a sluggishness to self-correct when new evidence contradicts pre-existing beliefs, and a narrow viewpoint that lacks perspective from the longer arc of American history.”

Trump won the election on 08 November 2016 in the largest electoral college landslide for a Republican in 28 years. He won over 2,600 counties nationwide, the most since President Reagan in 1984. Additionally, he won over 62 million votes in the popular vote, the highest all-time for a Republican nominee. He also won 306 electoral votes, the most for a Republican since George H.W. Bush in 1988. Millions of Americans rallied behind his message of rebuilding the country and disrupting the status quo.

Even though Clinton won the popular vote by more than 2 million ballots, she lost the electoral vote because Trump was able to penetrate the vaunted Democratic "blue wall" of upper Midwestern states including Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — states that had voted for a Democrat in every presidential election since 1992.

Trump won the state-by-state Electoral College votes needed to secure the presidency but lost the popular vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton by nearly 3 million ballots in the November 8 election. He blamed that margin on millions of illegal voters casting ballots for Clinton.

Trump claimed that 3 million undocumented immigrants cast ballots for Clinton in 2016. He has not offered any evidence of fraud, and major media outlets, including The New York Times, The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times, say Trump's claims are baseless. The Post's fact-checker said Trump's allegations appear to have been based on unsubstantiated reports by right-wing conspiracists. Another fact-checker, Politifact, said that without documentation to support the claim, "We rate it false." Alex Padilla, a Democrat and California's top election official, said "His [Trump's] unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud in California and elsewhere are absurd. His reckless tweets are inappropriate and unbecoming of a president-elect."

A research group in New Jersey took a new look at postelection polling data and concluded in June 2017 that the number of noncitizens voting illegally in US elections is likely far greater than previous estimates. As many as 5.7 million noncitizens may have voted in the 2008 election, which put Barack Obama in the White House. The research organization Just Facts, a widely cited, independent think tank led by self-described conservatives and libertarians, revealed its number-crunching in a June 19, 2017 report on national immigration.

Few demographic estimates diverge as widely as do those pertaining to the size of America’s unauthorized immigrant population. It is generally estimated that there are about 10 to 12 million undocumented immigrants resident in the United States. Age distrigution data is pretty scarce. Because of their relatively youthful age distributions, authorized and unauthorized immigrants are less likely to be of apparent voting age than citizens. Immigrants tend to arrive relatively young and have higher fertility than natives. By one Social Security Administration estimate, roughly half of illegal immigrants were under 19 years of age at time of entry into the USA. In very round numbers, this suggests that there are roughly 5 million illegal aliens who might appear to be of voting age.

Donald Trump appeared to be suggesting that essentially all illegal aliens vote, an improbable view, and that they all voted against him, a rather more plausible view.

John Watson wrote in November 2016 that "... the majority of the country voted for Donald Trump... almost the whole country voted for Trump, except for California, New Mexico, south Texas, and south Florida, which are all well known to have extremely high populations of illegal immigrants.... The other two exceptions are the deep inner cities of the South [SouthEast], which contain the next-highest populations of welfare recipients (areas with the highest illegal population, especially southern California, have the highest levels of welfare recipients). ... areas in the deep South [South East] that voted Democrat also have the highest populations of Africans in the United States.... the illegals are flooding down through Vermont, and also through airports in New York City.... Seattle has one of the highest Asian populations, with the exception of course of California. The ports of Seattle is a popular entry place for illegal Asians... it is not practical for immigrants, especially illegals, to travel thousands of miles into the central United States, when they can leech off the liberal cities near the borders where they arrived. It is very clear here that almost all of the real Americans voted for Trump."

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Page last modified: 08-01-2021 21:50:57 ZULU