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AMALA IN THE WHITE HOUSE

The buildup has been surreal! The twists! the turns! The Petes! The Berns!, ladies and gentlemen, it is officially election season. Come November, we will know who the most powerful man in the world will be for the next four years.

Though there are multiple parties, the United States Presidential election is more of a two horse race than the 2018/2019 Premier League season. Here we profile/analyse the two titans getting into the ring (cue the “Eye of the Tiger”).

 

THE CHAMP

In this corner, coming in at 74 years of age, the defending champion, the President of the United States of America (“POTUS”), THE Donald J. Trump.

Party: Republican Party

Previous Posts: Host of The Apprentice (2003)

Current Post: POTUS

Donald Trump is an extremely fascinating individual. He’s a maverick who broke practically every known custom, and in the most unorthodox way ever, beat Hillary Clinton to become the 45th POTUS, and collaterally started a wave of populism which whooshed like a tsunami all over the world, from Bolsanaro in Brazil to Boris Johnson in the UK. The Clyde to his Bonnie is Mike Pence, the current Vice President of the United States. This unapologetically politically incorrect specimen, doesn’t pull any punches.

 

THE CHALLENGER

Aaand in this corner, coming in at 77 years old (yes, it’s not only Nigeria that loves her abuelos…that’s Spanish for “grandfathers”), the challenger, Joe Biden.

Party: Democratic Party

Previous Posts: US Senator (1973-2009), Vice President (2009-2017)

Current Post: Malarky!

Joe Biden was the trusty partner to the historic presidency of Barack Obama, and is now (finally) the Democratic nominee for President. Other than being a septugenerian, he and Nigeria’s President Buhari, bear a few similarities – they both have run for President multiple times…and they both like ice cream….I think). Donald Trump is an extremely formidable opponent, and as such, Joe needs all the help he can get; who did he pick to be in his corner? – Senator Kamala Harris (the first black woman to run for Vice President in US history.)

 

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO KNOW?

In 2016, Hillary Clinton got close to 2,868,686 (Two Million Eight Hundred and Sixty-Eight Thousand, Six Hundred and Eighty-Six) more votes than Donald Trump, yet she lost the election. Why? Because the United States operates an electoral college system, rather than one where the President is elected by a simple majority (plurality). https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-15764542

What this means in effect, is that it is not more important how many votes you get, as opposed to where you actually get the votes from. The US’ electoral college assigns a total of 538 electoral votes, thus, in order for anyone to be elected as POTUS, they must garner a minimum of 270 electoral votes. The winner of the plurality of the votes in each state, would receive all the electoral votes that are assigned to that state. The number of electoral votes that a state is assigned, has been designated/assigned on the basis of a census conducted in 2010. Currently, California has the biggest allocation with 55 electoral votes, whilst some states like Alaska or Vermont have as little as 3 electoral votes assigned to them.

It is also important to note that the US is extremely divided and partisan, so much so that although the US consists of 50 states, the Presidential election in reality will be decided by just 4 – 11 states. This is because of the fact that in the 38 other states, it is already fairly certain who’s going to win in those states already (think of an election involving Buhari in Kano or Katsina state). So certain that 90%+ of all campaigning by both major political parties, would be done in these handful of states alone.

 

WHAT ARE THESE STATES?

The key “swing states” will be Arizona (11), Florida (29), Michigan (16), North Carolina (15), Pennsylvania (20), Wisconsin (10). These states have been highly competitive in recent electoral history. For context, Donald Trump (Republican) won Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan in 2016 to become President, yet just 4 years before, all 3 of those states were won by Barack Obama (Democrat) in 2012.

To illustrate just how much of a knife edge some of these contests can be, look at Pennsylvania in 2016. Over 6 million people voted, and Trump won Pennsylvania and its 20 juicy electoral votes, by a margin of just 44,292 votes (that’s not even enough people to fill the Emirates Stadium…….…you’d be able to fill Stamford Bridge though…….…its small). Trump lost out on New Hampshire’s 4 electoral votes after losing by just under 3,000 votes (some people win university elections by bigger margins than this).

 

FORM GUIDE

Trump has at times proven to be downright bulletproof. He’s bobbed and weaved through all sorts of controversies: sexual scandals, a Russia probe, nepotism, being impeached etc. Anyone else, and they’d have been down and out by now, but the Champ just keeps on moving. He has the huge advantage of being the incumbent, and having run his presidency like a 4-year election campaign (using the same slogans and antics that got him elected all through, and even frequently holding political rallies). His biggest weapon in this fight was the economy. The economy is typically the chief item based on which US elections are decided, and under Trump, the US economy has been booooooming.

Joe Biden on the other hand, has had a very topsy-turvy build up to this election. Not only was he actually inches away from possibly dropping out from the Democratic Party’s primaries, after having performed so woefully in many of the early states and being unable to raise adequate funds, he also (as usual) has had so many gaffes along the way. In addition, his age is clearly catching up with him, and at many points in time, many have been made to wonder whether or not he’s fit (health wise) to be President. Biden also had to fight through a very crowded field which had formidable opponents such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, which led to there being many question marks about the unity in the Democratic Party.

Trump has always had very poor approval ratings throughout his presidency, however, with the opposition camp seemingly being in disarray, the economy booming like never before, and Trump seemingly being bulletproof to all manner of scandals, he seemed at one point destined to be re-elected as President.

Then all of a sudden, a “meddlesome interloper” hopped in the ring and smashed Trump over the head with a steel chair (à la Stone Cold Steve Austin), his name? Covik-19, aka Coronavirusssssss (hey Cardi).

The Coronavirus first of all butchered the economy. A record amount of jobs were lost, companies shutdown, tenants kicked out, the stock market crashing like bandicot, everything was a madness. It didn’t stop there: the coronavirus claimed so many US lives (164,000+ people at the time of writing), and plenty of the blame for the US’ poor handling of the virus, was levelled at the Donald.

As if that wasn’t enough, George Floyd was videotaped as he was mercilessly murdered by white police officers. This coincided with the unlawful murders of many other unarmed black men and women such as Ahmad Arbery and Breonna Taylor. The US entered into a racial injustice awakening, the likes of which it hasn’t seen probably since the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s. “Racial Injustice” + “Trump” = DISASTER. The Donald handled the agitations of protesters so badly, you’d think he was David De Gea at a corner. Constantly threatening violence against protesters, tweeting nonsense, and generally making an even greater mess out of every situation (all this while the pandemic still rages on). This has seen Trump’s approval ratings drop to 38% one of the lowest in modern US history.

 

ANALYSIS

Since 2016, the US electorate has continued to make steady strides towards the left and the embrace of liberalism. Upsets such as Senator Doug Jones winning in Alabama, to the political birth of superstars such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (a future POTUS), and as such, some states which have been Republican strongholds such as Texas (38), Georgia (16) and North Carolina (15), now seem to possibly be hanging in the balance. The more diverse a state, the likelier that state is to lean towards the Democratic party. A good example is Texas whose constant urbanization has resulted in an influx of diverse groups of people, and indirectly has led to the state gradually becoming more democrat in its outlook.

A hugely decisive component in election results is turnout. If you have all the supporters in the world, but they don’t show up to vote, you don’t win. Obama won the White House by bringing out the highest turnout of black voters ever. A lot of these black voters didn’t show up in 2016, and so Hillary lost (remember the margins can be so tight). Basically, for Biden to have a good chance, he’s got to make sure he improves on the Democratic turnout, especially among African Americans. This as well as many other factors, made it imperative that his VP choice was a black person; enter: Kamala Harris. Other than being black though, it remains to be seen just how much Kamala would excite/make black people come out and vote, especially with her less than savoury record as an Attorney General of California where her prison/criminal justice reform and her stance on marijuana among other issues, do not put her in good stead with many.

Trump swept the swing states in 2016, especially the extremely vital Midwestern trifecta of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, which he won by a cumulative of under 80,000 votes (this is where Hillary lost the election for real). Biden is against fracking https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-14432401#:~:text=Fracking%20is%20the%20process%20of,the%20head%20of%20the%20well.; Trump will bash him on this in states like Texas and Pennsylvania, and that plus other issues may eventually tip the scales in Donald’s favour in those states.

 

 

WILDCARDS

 

Apart from the coronavirus and the economy, there are other variables that we as yet cannot be too sure how they would affect the race between now and the election

Mail In Voting

The coronavirus has not only shaken the race for the White House in the ways referred to above, it has also created a serious conundrum going forward, as you can imagine, many people are not enthused gathering in groups to cast votes. Thus mail-in votes have been touted as an option, an option that Donald Trump is vehemently against because he claims it will be susceptible to fraud, the left claim he’s only against it because he knows if people an essentially vote from home, that would mean a high turnout, and if the turnout is high, he most likely loses. Thus, how many states eventually adopt mail-in voting? How well would they handle it? How embraced would it be by the people? etc. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-53353404

Debates

Debates have a penchant for swinging momentum in favour of whoever wins them. I certainly would be able to bet my mortgage that there is no way Joe Biden will outmuscle Trump on a stage, as he doesn’t have the President’s level of energy, gusto charisma and off kilter banter. Kamala on the other hand seasoned pro on the mic, and should easily body Mike Pence. Just how well each candidate does here, will decide a lot.

Gaffes, Gaffes, Gaffes

As I said earlier, Trump at this point is basically bulletproof, and there’s hardly anything he could possibly do or say that would make him to be perceived any less than he already is by anyone who isn’t a fan of his. Joe Biden however is a gaffe machine, and ALWAYS has a gaffe up his sleeve, whether it be a politically incorrect remark, innocently yet naively touching someone inappropriately in public, literally forgetting where he is, or mistaking his wife for his sister. Basically, it’s Biden’s race to throw away, and he’s more than capable of throwing it away.

 

 

PREDICTION

Once we look at the states which according to most polls are “solidly” in favour of a state (i.e basically already decided), I have the current electoral votes tally at Biden 203 – 120 Trump, with 215 votes still to play for. To clarify, even going by polling, some of the states below are “likely” decided, but after many wrong polls (*cough* 2016 *cough*), we’ll include them nonetheless. We believe a major gaffe (or 2) would be made by Biden and/or Kamala, and would make broad predictions based on the “wildcards” above. Flowing from all of the above, here’s the state of play* (as at August 13th 2020), and our prediction as to the winner. https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/polls/president-general/national/

S/N State (Electoral votes) 2016 Winner

(margin of victory)

Current Poll Leader

(poll percentage lead)

Predicted Eventual Winner
1 Texas (38) Trump

(8.99%)

Tied Trump
2 Florida (29)* Trump

(1.20%)

Biden

(5%)

Biden
3 North Carolina (15) Trump

(3.66%)

Biden

(1.4%)

Trump
4 Pennsylvania (20)* Trump

(0.72%)

Biden

(6.3%)

Trump
5 Wisconsin (10) Trump

(0.77%)

Biden

(6.9%)

Biden
6 Michigan (16) Trump

(0.23%)

Biden

(7.8%)

Biden
7 Georgia (16) Trump

(5.16%)

Trump

(0.6%)

Trump
8 Utah (6) Trump

(18.08%)

Trump

(11.3%)

Trump
9 Nebraska 2nd District (1) Trump

(2.24%)

Biden

(7%)

Trump
10 Ohio (18) Trump

(8.13%)

Biden

(0.3%)

Trump
11 Nevada (6) Clinton

(2.42%)

Biden

(6.4%)

Biden
12 Colorado (9) Clinton

(4.91%)

Biden

(13%)

Biden
13 New Hampshire (4) Clinton

(0.37%)

Biden

(9%)

Biden
14 Iowa (6) Trump

(9.41%)

Trump

(1.5%)

Trump
15 Arizona (11)* Trump

(3.55%)

Biden

(3.4%)

Trump
16 Minnesota (10) Clinton

(1.52%)

Biden

(5.4%)

Biden
17 Main 2nd District (1) Trump

(2.96%)

Biden

(10%)

Biden

 

The three states to focus on election night- Pennsylvania, Florida and Arizona. Why? We believe Biden will win Wisconsin and Michigan. Pennsylvania is a serious toss-up, but could just about tip in Trump’s favour. If that happens, the score will be Biden 259 – Trump 250, with only one state left – Florida. This is why we thought Biden should’ve picked Val Demmings as his VP, inter alia, in order to seal Florida.

Trump needs to do a lot for him to win (he’s very capable of doing this), Biden needs to do a lot to lose (he’s very capable of doing this too).

Nonetheless, you look at the map, Trump’s in hot soup, no matter how you draw it, and like a good Sunday afternoon we think we will we be seeing Amala in the White House.

Oops – Kamala*

Final Score- Biden 288 – 250 Trump

 

By:

Oluwatobi Olowokure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Play around with the map yourself, see what you get:

https://edition.cnn.com/election/2020/electoral-college-interactive-maps

 

 

 

 

4 comments
  1. Akinyemi Akinniyi

    Really interesting read. Like the douse of humour too. November is around the corner and a lot can happen within now and then.

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