Exchange to Change January 2017 - Page 13

13 but the Colombian referendum surprised me the most . Several days before voters went to the polls , the agreement was signed in Cartagena in the presence of several Heads of State and the Secretary General of the UN , Ban Ki-Moon . So we were already celebrating the beginning of the peace process . And when the result turned out to be no , I really could not believe it .
Election of Donald Trump as the next President of the United States
Both Brexit and the Colombian peace deal were put to referendums , examples of direct elecotral democracy in which each citizen that is eligible to vote has an equal say in determining the outcome . In the US , the surprise victory of Donald Trump in the presidential elections resulted not from the popular vote — which he lost by a
Date : 04 / 12 / 2016 Ref : Constitutional referendum Turnout : 42.09 % Outcome : 79.59 % for , 15.40 % against
historic margin — but through the Electoral College , a complicated system of representation originally designed to ensure that rural states were not disadvantaged by their smaller populations . That Trump ’ s opponent , Hillary Clinton , won the popular vote has been little consolation to many people who were shocked by the outcome that has made Donald Trump the next President of the United States . E2C asked Kelly Litz , a student from the US currently following the master program here at IOB , for her thoughts on Trump ’ s victory and what it means for democracy in the US .
E2C : Many people were surprised and even shocked by the outcome of the election in favor of Trump . Why do you think the outcome was so unexpected ?
KL : A few things contributed to the outcome being so unexpected . First , all the polls and political
Date : 04 / 12 / 2016 Ref : Constitutional referendum Turnout : 65.48 % Outcome : 40.89 % for , 59.11 % against pundits seemed to unanimously predict a Clinton win . Even a week before the election it seemed Trump had unsurmountable obstacles to overcome in order to reach the presidency . But beyond the inaccurate predictions , the election result was shocking because Trump is unlike any other major party nominee in recent history , and the many Americans who scoffed at him and his message had difficulty understanding how it could resonate with so many of their fellow citizens .
E2C : Were you also surprised ? Why / why not ?
KL : I was also shocked , and not just because the win was unexpected . I was shocked that so many Americans , who watched the same speeches and read the same news articles that I did , could come to such a drastically different conclusion about Trump ’ s capabilities to be our president . The election cycle was scandal after scandal , yet none of it made a difference on November 8 .
E2C : Trump has promoted / defended ideas that are inconsistent with what are usually considered to be democratic values , yet he was democratically chosen . Thus it appears that democratic means can be used to foster undemocratic outcomes . What does this conundrum mean for the future of democracy in the US ?
KL : It has been said that the means to undoing democracy are built right into the system , and we have
Exchange to change January 2017