As America Decides…

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With 48 hours to the November 8 US presidential election, Nduka Nwosu who has been following the presidential election campaign x-rays the two leading candidates – Hillary Clinton (D) and Donald Trump (R) – their chances and how presidential elections are decided in the US.

Will Hillary Clinton Shatter the Last Glass Ceiling?
No one speaks better for Hillary Rodham Clinton than Hillary Clinton does. In her closing argument she drew the line between her opponent, the Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump and herself – While she has spent all her life working for the good of others, Trump has spent his life working for himself at the expense of others and his story of allegedly cheating the poor to enrich himself is well documented. Now he wants to be the 45th US President of the United States.

But time was when a Clinton win was taken for granted. Now that has changed with the race tightening by the day. Clinton had warned early in the day it was going to be a keenly contested race but at the end of it all, historians would chronicle another first in her series of other monumental achievements for womanhood. She is the first American woman in history to win the presidential nomination of one of the country’s major parties-the Democratic Party, first American First Lady to be elected to the Senate and now she is about to shatter the real glass ceiling to emerge the first US woman to be elected President of the United States.

Does that make her ‘Crooked Nasty’ Hillary as Trump has christened her?

May be, just may be on account of her email scandals, which President Barack Obama said was being blown out of proportion. Her traducer in chief says you cannot entrust the fate of a people to someone who is as extremely careless as ‘Crooked’ Hillary. What else justifies the appellation? Her secretive nature perhaps and the conspiracy theories of the Clinton dynasty. Well everyone has a conspiracy theory following him, the skeletons in the cupboard.

Clinton agrees she is not a saint, if she was not apologizing in the past, she is learning to do so. The New York Times, among the over 100 newspapers and magazines that have endorsed her for President had this to say:” Our endorsement is rooted in respect for her intellect, experience and courage. And on why Trump is unfit to be President it added for effect in a separate editorial: “Donald Trump is a man who dwells in bigotry, bluster and false promises.”

Clinton agrees she is not a ravishing charismatic politician like her husband, former President Bill Clinton, or Barack Obama. In her years at the White House, she was beautiful, charming and waxed philosophical like a woman who knew tomorrow. Her presence at the Beijing Conference for women redefined the destiny of the modern, educated woman and by asserting that women’s rights constituted the gist of human rights, she won more fame and critical acclaim to herself and whether she knew it or not, her match to power started .

Clinton did not cultivate the charm, or more appropriately is not endowed with the charm and the ability to bewitch, even though she is a witch, according to Donald, of a Michelle Obama on the soap box. However, she has successfully amassed so much to herself, first Secretary of State to visit 112 countries including China and the other superpowers negotiating deals for her country. She was at the Situation Room with Obama expectedly, when Osama Bin Laden was taken out, was in Iran to discuss nuclear disarmament with the Ayatollah and his President and visited Russia looking at Vladimir Putin on the face, no blinks, and eye ball to eye ball. Could that be why Putin is alleged to be working with Trump, using WikiLeaks hacking of emails whose contents have ripped into Clinton’s ascendancy to the White House?

Will this win, if she does, be the expected slam dunk by Wall Street and Main Street fans or will it be a galloping to the finishing line to beat time? The truth is that there’s palpable concern in her camp. Nothing is taken for granted, although the figures are giving clues for what November 8 results would look like – nothing too far away from what it was four years ago.

For Clinton her most worrisome nemesis has been the email server scandal. Apart from being labelled extremely careless, there is no shred of evidence she had criminal intentions in the way State Department emails were handled. But she worked hard or so it seemed to destroy any information that would implicate her, like the alleged use of her office to garner resources for the Clinton Foundation, her unwillingness to reveal details of her lectures at Wall Street. So the GOP latched on to the email issue and continued singing about it long after FBI director James Comey passed the matter to DOJ, which endorsed a no criminal charge to the chagrin of GOP members in Congress and the ‘Deplorables Movement’. Comey’s latest revelation that the FBI had stumbled on new Clinton emails in an unrelated investigation of the former spouse of her aide has however had impact on her poll figures. The good news for Clinton is that she is still maintaining a narrow lead even as her path to victory does not look as rosy as it used to be.

She is not resting on her oars with her campaign managers as they wade through the swing states exploring hidden opportunities in the demographic set up of each of those states where Trump is aggressively fighting to make up his numbers and cross the 270 Electoral College mark.

Can the Trump Brand Pitch Successfully to be the 45th?
The casino king is on the roll but on a higher pitch for the US Presidency. The question is can he successfully apply all the skills he has applied in his business deals where he fell and got up again, in the remaining 48 hours? His tremendous cut of Hillary’s Clinton’s double digit lead to a single digit in the last 14 days is beginning to look like another textbook report on the Art of the Deal.

No one believed that reality television star of the Apprentice fame and organizer of Miss Universe show would get to this point where the prospects of becoming the 45th President of the United States of America are becoming more real than another of the Trump mirage. When issues around Donald Trump are discussed, he appears as many things to different people – Donald Trump the man who ‘hijacked’ the Republican Party and started calling the shots to the disbelief of the stakeholders and kingmakers, the casino mafia king, the deal maker billionaire widely celebrated for his Art of the Deal, the man who collected a loan of two million dollars from his father and made billions out of it, the con-artist of the Trump University fame, the man who often declared himself bankrupt at different times boasting he walked away richer leaving his employees and investors groping in pains.

And talking of groping, this is Super star Trump who rules the feminine world and who bragged about kissing a lady without her consent. The list is endless. More importantly, in 48 hours from now, he may be elected the 45th President of the US.

For Donald Trump and his admirers, his many positive values are just what America needs now if it must be great again. His deal making skill, ability to outplay his business partners and even go into bankruptcy if it matters, are needed to bail the country out of its trillions dollar debt. Trump made himself a brand name to reckon with in business, a man who fell and rose again, and then began to teach the next generation how to fall and rise and rise and ensure you will not fall again. He entered the fray by launching a pseudo political group called the Birther Movement, swearing the first black and 44th US President Barack Obama was not born in the US and by extension is not a US citizen. He claimed he was working hard to produce the evidence and never did.

In 2016, a few weeks ago when a Washington Post correspondent asked him if he was still stuck on that even after Obama had made his birth certificate public, he refused to say anything until he was advised by his aides who spoke for him to back down. And how did he do that? He claimed Hillary Clinton had originated the falsehood and he took it off from there. Reality checkers said there was no truth there. Trump defeated 16 Presidential aspirants from the Republican Party, calling the party’s most favourite and likely anointed son Jeb Bush a low energy candidate. Eventually Bush stunningly faded out.

What does Trump have going for him? His unbridled nationalism. He believes Americans must reclaim America from those he views as ‘foreigners’ among them. He wants to expel Muslim ‘terrorists’ and Mexican ‘criminals and rapists’ aswell as African Americans who are part of the undocumented 11 million immigrants who must leave the shores of the US once he is sworn into office.

And what are the prospects? A study of the electoral college discussed in detail in another section of this report shows that Hillary Clinton holds the ace even with Trump’s rapid climb to his current rating. Make no mistakes about this, many victories have taken place even recently when a candidate with a two point national advantage at the polls was roundly defeated at the electoral college, Obama versus Mitt Romney and John Kerry against George Bush 2. The race remains very unpredictable at the battleground swing states where Trump continues to shake Clinton’s huge margins.

So Who Wins?
Who wins between a candidate who devoted 30years of her life to public service and one who has built a vast business empire and a brand name? Between the proponents of ‘Stronger Together’ and ‘Making America Great Again’? Tough choices. Gong by Professor Alan Lichtman’s 13 keys to the White House, a formula, he claims, has consistently predicted the winner in a presidential US election for 30 years running, Trump is on his way to becoming the next tenant at the White House-the 45th President of the United States of America. And from here he hopes to “drain the swamp,” of corruption at the Capitol Hill.

Lchtman leaves a few provisos if Trump eventually loses, it should be anchored on the unusual nature of the campaign and the character of the man which has no precedence in American Presidential elections. He has defied all the rules of the game and yet has mass appeal anchored by his “basket of deplorables.” Listen to Lichtman: “Given all of these exceptions that Donald Trump represents, he may well shatter patterns of history that have held for more than 150 years, lose this election even if the historical circumstances favor it.”

In spite of this minus, Lichtman is still doubling down in his predictions. And he is not alone. Some 305 economists led by James Carter, former deputy assistant secretary of the Treasury under President George W Bush and later chief economist to the US Senate Budget Committee have endorsed Trump’s economic policy while denouncing Clinton’s. “Should Hillary Clinton win,” they warned, “her outdated policy prescriptions won’t return our economy to the faster growth rates it once enjoyed. And without more economic growth, her agenda won’t result in more jobs or a higher national standard of living. Hillary Clinton’s economic agenda is wrong for America,” prescribing an agenda of economic freedom with a limited but effective government. With policies that subscribe to a pro-growth tax reform, sensible federal spending restraint, regulatory relief, sound money, and freedom to trade.”

Moody’s Analytics, a stock market predictor, on the other hand gives it to Clinton because the economy is doing well and President Barack Obama’s soaring popularity is at an all-time high. With price of fuel so low for American families. Moody’s says its prediction has not failed since 1980 while Sam Stovall’s CFRA research gives it to Trump with 18 accuracies and three misses since 1944. The indicators: rising stocks within the last three months of the election will favour the party in power whereas a bearish rather than bullish stock market favours the party in opposition.

What about the real world of political prediction based on the strength of the candidates at the Electoral College?
Clinton’s performance with the swing states was being applauded until last week when it began to plummet, made worse by FBI’s James Comey’s disclosure that thousands of Clinton’s State Department emails were found in Weiner’s laptop.

Pollsters from across the country are amazed that Trump who was written off to suffer one of the worst Republican defeats in history against Clinton is now galloping like Usain Bolt to cause an upset. But precarious remains the word for him. He really has to work hard to win the strongly Democratic leaning battleground states.

Trump’s campaign has made clear exactly what its targets are. It is spending $25 million on TV ads in the final days of the campaign in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Virginia, Nevada and New Hampshire, where hope of overtaking Hillary Clinton has become real when the campaign of Trump has squared up with Clinton.

The hope is that the African American community, the Latinos and Hispanics would disappoint the Democrats in a lack luster turn out. In his path to victory, North Carolina where Clinton is leading Trump by two points has become crucial to a Trump victory.
The next 48 hours is still enough to cause a major shift that can earn Trump the coveted gold or end his oval office dream.

The Electoral College and How it Works
The Electoral College will dominate the airwaves and the headlines on Election Day Tuesday. But what exactly is the Electoral College? Below is a quick guide on what it does and why it matters.

• What is the Electoral College?

The Electoral College is made up of 538 electors who cast votes to decide the President and Vice-President of the United States. When voters go to the polls on Tuesday, they will be choosing which candidate receives their state’s electors. The candidate who receives a majority of electoral votes (270) wins the Presidency. The number 538 is the sum of the US 435 Representatives, 100 Senators, and 3 electors given to the District of Columbia.

• How does the Electoral College work?
Every four years, voters go to the polls and select a candidate for President and Vice-President. In all but two states, the candidate who wins the majority of votes in a state wins that state’s electoral votes. In Nebraska and Maine, electoral votes are assigned by proportional representation, meaning that the top vote-getter in those states wins two electoral votes (for the two Senators) while the remaining electoral votes are allocated congressional district by congressional district. These rules make it possible for both candidates to receive electoral votes from Nebraska and Maine, unlike the winner-take-all system in the other 48 states.

• How are the electors selected?
This process varies from state to state. Usually, political parties nominate electors at their state conventions. Sometimes that process occurs by a vote of the party’s central committee. The electors are usually state-elected officials, party leaders, or people with a strong affiliation with the Presidential candidates.

• Do electors have to vote for their party’s candidate?
Neither the Constitution nor Federal election laws compel electors to vote for their party’s candidate. That said, twenty-seven states have laws on the books that require electors to vote for their party’s candidate if that candidate gets a majority of the state’s popular vote. In 24 states, no such laws apply, but common practice is for electors to vote for their party’s nominee.

• What happens if no one gets a majority of Electoral College votes?
If no one gets a majority of electoral votes, the election is thrown to the US House of Representatives. The top three contenders face off with each state casting one vote. Whoever wins a majority of states wins the election. The process is the same for the Vice Presidency, except that the US Senate makes that selection.

• Can you lose the popular vote and win the electoral college vote?

Yes, a candidate could lose the popular vote and win the electoral college vote. This happened to George W. Bush in 2000, who lost the popular vote to Al Gore by .51% but won the electoral college 271 to 266.

• When does the Electoral College cast its votes?

Each state’s electors meet on the Monday following the second Wednesday of December. They cast their votes then, and those votes are sent to the President of the Senate who reads them before both houses of Congress on January 6th.

• Why does the Electoral College matter?
The Electoral College determines the President and Vice-President of the United States. The Electoral College system also distinguishes the United States from other systems where the highest vote-getter automatically wins. This so-called “indirect election” process has been the subject of criticism and attempted reform, though proponents of it maintain that it ensures the rights of smaller states and stands as an important piece of American federalist democracy.
Source: Huffington Post