Politics and Economics Society: Can Trump Win?
It is incredible to think that it was over a year ago, in June 2015, when Donald Trump initially announced his intention to run for President.
People everywhere, whether politically active or not, have asked if Trump can actually win.
When Trump first publicised his interest in running for President, many people; both senior Republicans and the world media alike, were shocked, yet immediately intrigued by what Trump had to offer. He is as far from the political establishment as you could possibly get, a multi-millionaire businessman who has been declared bankrupt four times, and never held any kind of political office before.
To some, these facts are enough to dismiss him altogether. However, there are millions of Americans who feel Donald Trump represents something bigger than politics itself. They believe, as an outsider, Trump has more insight into the plight of ‘normal’ Americans that the nation's politicians do, despite the fact that in 2015 Trump is estimated to have earned in excess of $250,000,000 whilst the average American earned just $53,657.
Here in the UK, Trump is portrayed as an eccentric and unconventional candidate with extreme views that seem irrational to many. However, in America, many people view Trump as a new style of politician who is brutally honest and wholeheartedly for the people - a persona which constrasts starkly with that of Hillary Clinton, who has been at the forefront of America politics since the 1990s.
Clinton represents everything Trump and his supporters are against, a continuation of the rule of the political elite over ordinary people. For this reason, Donald Trump has gathered significant support in his bid for the White House, especially in more conservative Southern States such as Texas and Louisiana.
Trump has seen particular support in these States regarding his immigration policy, as the 1,989 mile long Mexican-US border runs straight past these States.
It is here that many people feel immigration is the root of their problems, and Trump plays to fears of continued immigration by advocating policies such as ‘The Wall’ - a physical border.
People also view Trump’s honesty as something to be championed, and say that it explains his growing popularity.
Wait... what's he doing there?
As seen in the polls in the build up to the EU referendum, the ‘Remain camp’ was almost consistently polling above the ‘Leave camp’. This is likely due to the fact that within certain social groups it was seen as distasteful or even ignorant to want to leave the EU.
Drawing parallels with the polls for the US General Election could be dangerous, however, as the national polls currently only put a few percentage points between Trump and Clinton. Moreover, as with Britain's EU referedum it is important to consider the 'silent voter' who may not admit to voting for Trump.
When the first Presidential debate takes place on 26 September, it is likely that Trump will again rise in the polls - provided he doesn’t make a fool of himself, or draw too much negative media attention.
I say this because, based on Trump's Primary Election successes, it is likely he will out-perform Clinton - not on policy, but as a showman. People will be expecting a certain level of debate from Clinton, whereas Trump is an unknown and he is therefore judged by a different standard.
The way in which the American voting system is organised however means that only a proportional number of votes from each state actually count. These are cast by the Electoral College, and the more populous the state, the more Electoral College members they have.
Clinton is popular in many large, liberal states, such as California and New York, and at time of writing it is still more likely that Clinton will secure the 270 Electoral College votes required to be elected as President.
However, it is essential not to dismiss the fact that Trump still has a very real chance of becoming President - having lost momentum earlier this year, his chances seem to be once again rising, meaning it is all very much to play for.