Four more years is possible

Hillary Clinton received almost three million more votes than Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election — and lost! It is a fact sold around the world as American democracy. 

The reason for the loss? A strange system concocted by the heralded founding fathers of the republic who saw it as a way to counterbalance the power of the bigger states. In truth, it was a system that gave power to U.S. senators, who at the time were not elected, but selected, and who usually came from what in today’s terms would be called the one percent. 

Now less than a year out from the 2020 election, it feels like Democrats are still playing checkers while the Trump campaign is playing chess. Even the latest national polls tell us that Trump is in a dead heat with the likes of Biden, Sanders and Warren in spite of his low approval ratings. Of all things, his numbers may have gotten better after the impeachment hearings. Go figure…

Meanwhile Democrats are running all over each other to win the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary. They sell the idea that they are the ‘ones’ to beat Trump. And as time ticks by quickly, Trump’s economy keeps humming (according to some people’s standards), and the president knows exactly what issues to touch when he visits the states he knows he must win to get reelected. 

Trump cares little about the country. His only interest is himself. And it plays perfectly in a system where less than one-third of the states can win you a presidential election. 

15 swing states that decide 

We know how things will turn out in big states like blue California and New York. Then there’s Texas — traditionally red, but teetering as its population changes. These states are all but decided. Of course there are the southern states, and some in the heartland, that are already in the crimson column. 

But it’s the swing states, areas of the country that swing from Democrat to Republican and back to Democrat depending on the candidate and the circumstances who are the important ones in 2020. Some pundits have narrowed them down from 15 to six. In other words, six of 50 states will decide the next president of the United States. 

They are Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida, Arizona and North Carolina. In 2016, Trump won all six. 

In Michigan, a state Hillary Clinton took for granted and lost, Trump won by 11,612 votes. It is a state where almost 4.8 million people voted and the margin was less than one-half of one percent. Wisconsin, another state Hillary expected to win (just because), she lost by 27,257 votes. There the margin was slightly larger, but still only one percent.

There are other examples. I mention these two because I question the expense and time spent by Democrats in Iowa, for example, a state Trump will most likely win in 2020. I understand it’s the first of the primaries and caucuses, a place to stand out, and separate from the rest.

But while Democrats spend millions to convince their own party members they are the ones to beat Trump, the president is visiting states like Michigan and Wisconsin and telling them what they want to hear — even if he lies to them, which comes easy for Trump — while also stoking the fires of nationalism, hate and racism via tweets and speeches in order to increase numbers that barely got him elected in 2016.

The problem, I believe, is that almost half of eligible voters in the United States do not participate — even in presidential elections. Polls demonstrate that if that absentee half voted Trump would be a one-term president. And yet, they stay home on election day. 

Trump’s people realize that in 2016 they won in spite of losing the popular vote. It’s a proven system that works best when less people participate. Low numbers mean a greater chance of Trump winning again. 

Consider that Donald Trump is the only president never to have reached or surpass the 50 percent approval rating over a four year period in the White House. In spite of this fact, at this point, he should be favored to win again in 2020 — because not enough people are voting. And only six to 15 states will decide an election… In fact, Trump again may lose the popular vote, and win!

Which tells us several things: first and foremost, this so-called democracy is a democracy only in name. Secondly, if Democrats continue to waste their time in a sort of beauty contest in states like Iowa and New Hampshire, Trump, who is already working the 15 state system to favor him in November, will eat the Democrats’ lunch next year and we can expect another four years of the orange menace.

And if you think it’s bad now… I would hate to imagine what four more years of Trump might look like.