By Emma Kinghorn, The Miami Student
The 2016 presidential election has been unprecedentedly scandalous, tumultuous and divisive. Few people could have predicted this election cycle, and in response, the whole of America seems to be dead set on assigning a “blame” for its results.
It’s the media’s fault.
It’s the electoral college’s fault.
It’s uneducated voters’ fault.
It’s white males’ fault.
It’s the basket of deplorables’ fault.
It’s Russia’s fault.
How can this be someone’s, or something’s, fault?
Journalists have come under fire post-election for not covering enough, doing enough or for perpetuating the Trump phenomenon.
According to the LA Times, the media coverage was identical for both candidates: 87 percent negative vs. 13 percent positive. While ideally the country wouldn’t be faced with candidates that warrant so much negative coverage, this balance is correct. One candidate shouldn’t have been scrutinized more carefully than another.
Both candidates endured attacks coming from their own parties, with the likes of Paul Ryan and Bernie Sanders taking sides, as well as the expected mud slung from the opposite side of the aisle. The media, while wholly negative and apocalyptic, did its job. How can you blame the voting of the American electorate on journalists? Since when is it their responsibility to influence rather than inform voters? You can’t, and it isn’t.
In numbers released by the non-partisan analytical service The Cook Report Wednesday morning, Hillary Clinton led Donald Trump in the popular vote by 2,676,189 votes. This is 1 percent of the eligible voting population. 1 percent. Despite the marginal difference in the general electorate, and the precedence for elections where the Electoral College diverted from popular consensus, it has now been faced with multiple calls for its abolition.
The Electoral College isn’t broken, it isn’t rigged, it isn’t geared to undermine one social group more than any other.
Originally it was founded to ensure the preservation of our nation. Alexander Hamilton distrusted the electorate and wrote in the Federalist No. 68 that the election of our president “should be made by the men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station.”
While the Electoral College’s original intention has been questionable at best since the beginning, the safety it ensures fly-over states now outweighs its dubious beginning. If the popular vote alone selected the presidency, there would arise a chance for corruption because of the urban sprawl expansion that our nation has seen in the last 50 years.
Predictably so, candidates would focus all campaign funds, efforts and promises towards those votes that reside in large, urban cities, much as they do today in swing states. The beauty of the swing states, however, is that they are not ones that typically come to mind as key demographics. They force candidates to address issues and appeal to voting blocks that reside in Iowa, or Minnesota or Nevada. This prevents the pushing aside of fly over states, and as seen in this election, the voters in these states and the Rust Belt have a lot to say about the state and path of our nation.
Possibly the favorite scapegoat of this election has been the voting group labelled as “uneducated voters.” The primary fault of this blame is that a voter could never be “at fault.” It goes against the premise of voting: vote for the option that best represents your opinions. By trying to put blame on such voters is like saying, “You can vote, but only in a way that agrees with me.”
College-educated Americans are a minority. It may not feel like it, especially on a college campus, but we are outnumbered on a 3:2 ratio. Their votes represent the majority of Americans because they are the majority of Americans. We shouldn’t be blaming a voting block for voting, especially when this blame is being cast by the minority of college degree-holding analysts and political powerhouses.
A vote is a vote. It may not be your vote, it may not be my vote, but it is someone’s vote. We as a country need to stop trying change things that can’t be changed by us.
We cannot blame or excuse an election away because the fact of the matter is that Donald Trump won the presidency. No matter how outrageous, absurd or great you may find this, it’s a fact, it’s happening and we need to stop trying to explain the past.
Instead, put that time and effort into preserving our nation, a nation that is heading into a dangerous and murky future.