The 2016 elections were ultimately decided by a combined total of 77,000 votes in three states: Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Hillary Clinton won almost three million more votes than Donald Trump but lost the Electoral College — and the election — because of those 77,000 votes. If Clinton had won those three states, she would have won the Electoral College 278-260.
It has been said that Clinton’s campaign was a victim of its own propaganda. Two months before the election, they were so sure of victory in several swing states that they dedicated their resources trying to flip Texas for Clinton and getting a more commanding majority in California.
Trump’s campaign, meanwhile, concentrated on the swing states and won the Electoral College with just 46 percent of the popular vote.
Trump played his hand by looking at the Electoral College and state-by-state polls while Clinton was looking at headlines and national polls. The novice played the political game better than the seasoned veteran.
Now that we are approaching the 2020 elections, in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, you have to wonder if the Trump administration is confronting COVID-19 as an Electoral College virus or a popular pandemic.
While leaving pandemic-related decisions in the hands of the states made sense — it affected each in different stages — the lack of a coordinated national response has had detrimental effects.
By allowing each state to dictate its own policies, we have experienced a hit-and-miss progression in the fight against the coronavirus. While NewYork is in much better shape today than in April, the country as a whole is in a much worse situation. On May 19, theU.S. had 13,000 new cases of COVID-19, and on July 19 we had almost 75,000.
Doctors now know more about the virus than they knew in May, and the death rate has gone down significantly — a fact that much of the media regularly fail to report. However, the country, its economy, and its daily life won’t return to any sense of normality while we have 75,000 new cases a day and people continue to die of a disease that, to date, has killed more than 150,000 Americans.
The politicization of the pandemic, on the other hand, hasn’t helped either. It is beyond reason why wearing a mask could be a point of contention between people from different parties. Doctors say that wearing a mask will reduce the probability of infecting other people by 70% if you have the virus.
It’s not to protect you, it’s to protect others from you. You wear the mask for the sake of your fellow human beings — I would say that it is a pretty Christian thing to do. Leaders across the country faced a difficult decision between keeping the shelter-in-place directive and reopening the economy. Both options could have dramatic effects. Keeping everybody quarantined destroys our economy and has devastating effects on people’s lives. Reopening the economy too early could have devastating effects as well, as the recent surge in new cases in the South and the West shows us. But politicizing those decisions won’t help the economy or stop the virus.
The fight against the coronavirus will be won at a national level, not state-by-state. If we don’t have a comprehensive, nationwide strategy, by the time Florida and California flatten their curves, other states will most likely also see surges.
This is a “popular vote” battle, not an Electoral College one. President Trump won the 2016 election by focusing his campaign on the swing states. His administration should now shift to a national approach to defeat the coronavirus. The future of the country — and his hopes for a second term — will depend on a national strategy that trascends politics as usual.