People’s Choice? (Not!)

Many of my friends are distraught because Donald Trump’s Electoral College win on 11/8 and the subsequent deplorable events seem to say that as many as half of Americans either are bigots themselves or don’t care if the President of the US is one.  The election results seemed to repudiate their belief that most Americans are good and decent folks that share a deep love of justice and diversity.

Take heart friends. Only about 19% of US citizens who should have voted elected Donald J. Trump. The majority couldn’t, wouldn’t, didn’t vote.

19% of Voters Elected Trump
19% of Voters Elected Trump – (Graphic by R B Shreve)

In the chart above the whole pie represents everyone in the US who should have voted.  Trump and Clinton got nearly the same size slice, but Trump’s votes won him the Electoral College even though Hillary will have about 1.8 million more votes when all are counted – at least according to current estimates. Note that more people (25%) never even registered and 35% did not vote even though they registered. So just one-third of the voters participated in choosing their president.

Clearly many of the Democrats who voted for Obama in prior elections did not turn out for Hillary.

Democrats were no-shows.
Democrats were no-shows (Graphic by

Evidently the relentlessly sensationalized attacks (Benghazi, Private Server, Wiener Emails, Comey’s letter, Clinton Foundation slurs, etc.) and Hillary Clinton’s status as a career politician combined to depress enthusiasm for her as a candidate.

What can we conclude? Trump’s election probably does not reflect  the preference of half of America – not even close.  If Democrats can successfully do a make-over and again become the party of the people, neither Trump nor the GOP will be able to hold the dominant position they enjoy for this brief historic moment.

What remains to be seen is whether the 60% that’s been asleep to their civic duty will rise up.

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