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November 25th 2016

Wollstonecraft Programme - American Politics

At the end of last year, when we were choosing our Wollstonecraft academic enrichment courses, one particularly stood out to me: "American Politics".

Personally, I have always had an interest and a fascination in something that affects all of us, and during the run up to the all-important American election, it was pivotal to learn about the things that will affect the entire world.

We began with the "United States Constitution" which is basically a codified rule book that was written by the founding fathers in the late 1700s after the American Revolutionary War. Constitution tells the country how to run the supreme and unchangeable laws that determine how the government is run. However, as I'm sure you can imagine, many of these laws seem outdated and some even bizarre! For instance, the Election Day must be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November. It also speaks of 'The Congress', the law-making body where laws are passed and then separated into two chambers - the Senate and the House of Representatives which have important law-passing powers that include choosing which candidates are suitable to run for President.

Next, we learnt about the 'Electoral College', a group of people (the size differs regarding population size) who pledge to vote for a particular presidential candidate – so the President is not chosen by the popular vote. These presidential electors then vote accordingly and usually the President elected reflects the people's votes but Clinton won the popular vote, whilst Trump won the Electoral College vote. Every state (excluding Maine) then allows the party with the most votes (popular vote) to take all of the Electoral College votes of that state and it provides larger majorities and differences between party votes.

Learning about the American electoral process in class enabled me to understand the American political system and helped me predict Trump on Election Day!

Many people found the 2016 presidential result a shock, however, after reading about it, I found making predictions relatively easy. It was undeniable that Trump's campaigning was better than Clinton's, regardless of political views or policies. Online, our feeds were full of Donald Trump memes, celebrities backing Clinton and anti-Trump; pro Clinton/anti-Clinton; pro Trump campaigns. For me, acknowledging Trump's face on social media was just acknowledging him as a serious candidate and we like what we are familiar with and constantly have the image, whether it be positive or negative, of Trump in the back of our minds.

Polling Companies with a 97% accuracy rate and who had been predicting the election for over 100 years and had only been incorrect twice, predicted that if it was Trump vs Clinton then there was a 98% chance Trump would be elected.

However, other statistics also implied that if Bernie Sanders was to be up against Trump, there would have been a higher likeliness of Sanders winning, so the Democratic Party have to take some of the blame for not acting during the primaries (the vote to elect each individual party candidate).

Then there is the question of the role the electoral college played in the election. Some sources claim that via individual votes, Clinton beat Donald Trump by over 1.5 hundred thousand votes, however due to electoral college votes, Trump was elected as the new President of the United States. Many people would like the electoral college to be reformed, however this poses a completely new and complex challenge against the constitution.

Regardless of your political view, the world must accept Donald Trump as their new President elect and prepare for the next four years as well as we can.

Year 10


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