Though Trump won a convincing victory in the Electoral College, nevertheless he did lose the popular vote. This will not in any way prevent him becoming President. However it may well make life for him as President a lot less smooth than many are assuming.
The votes show that there was no popular swing towards Trump. He barely won the same number of votes as Romney, four years ago. He won the electoral college because Clinton failed to mobilise the core Democrat voters in a few key states – Wisconsin, North Carolina etc. These voters did not swing to Trump, by and large they just didn’t vote.
With no popular mandate for his programme, Trump has potentially a lot to worry about, even with the support of a Republican majority in both houses. If Trump wants to win re-election in 2020, he knows that he faces a tough job. The Democrats are unlikely to pick such a divisive candidate again. Their next campaign will not ignore their core voters again. The Democrats have won the popular vote in six of the last Presidential elections. Barring some unexpected 9/11 event, Trump faces an uphill struggle to win again.
With the Republicans in control of just about everything, Trump will have no one to blame but either himself or the Republican Party if he fails to deliver on his key promises. Since he is not a stupid person, he will have realised this already. Which may in part explain why he has already begun to soften his language and start to talk about compromises. Even Obamacare may survive. However the key will as ever be the economy. To have any chance of re-election Trump needs to deliver on his promises of massive infrastructure spending and raise the incomes of working Americans. The worrying question for Trump is, can he get his own party to support this?
Most Republicans seem to live in a zombie land of voodoo economics, where you can cut taxes for the rich and bring down the deficit. The Republican base is also very hung up on some key issues – immigration, gay marriage, abortion for example. It is not clear that Trump can deliver on all or even any of these. Remember the Republicans are well short of the 60 votes they need in the Senate.
All this leaves the Democrats with a strong hand. The majority of the country supports them. America has not suddenly become a racist, misogynist country. At least it is no more racist or misogynist than last week.
In just two years time there will be another election for the House and for a third of the Senate. This offers the Democrats a crucial opportunity to wrest the initiative back from the Republicans. The post election statements of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren indicate the way forward. Can they and their supporters seize control of the party from the current Democrat establishment? Interesting times!