Is There One Final Twist to the Trump Saga?

Well here we are almost a week later. How have the last five days of ‘Trump World’ been for you? Did you see the four horsemen of the apocalypse ride in?

No? Me either.

Funny how that happens. We go into an uncertain event thinking about all the bad things that might happen. Then we get a result for the event, and none of the bad things happen. In fact sometimes good things happen.

Perhaps that’s what ‘Trump World’ will deliver to us. Maybe, just maybe he might end up being good for America. After all, he’s surprised everyone at every turn so far. Is he about to surprise us all again?

Or is there another twist to this incredible saga? In five weeks’ time we’ll know.

For the next five weeks, Trump is still President-elect. But five weeks is a long time for anything. And when it comes to the 45th US President, five weeks could be an eternity.

In five weeks’ time we’ll know for certain if Trump will continue on to his inauguration in January. Or we’ll know that a bunch of ‘faithless’ Americans might (for the first time in history) change the course of everything.

It’s unlikely but not impossible

The way Trump won last week was by winning more Electoral College votes than Hillary Clinton. The Electoral College is every state in the US broken down to a number of electoral votes.

For instance, California carries 55 electoral votes. That’s the most out of any state. New York has 31. Texas has 34. Wisconsin has 10. Pennsylvania has 20. You get the idea.

In order to become President that nominee needs 270 electoral votes. If you win enough states, you get enough votes to hit 270, and you win. That’s what Trump did. It looks like the end result will have him way over 270. In fact he’ll probably exceed 300 when it’s all said and done.

However, and this is the anomaly in the US system, he likely will have fewer votes from the public than Hillary Clinton, when all votes are counted.

Confused? It’s a confusing system. The projections appear to indicate that Hillary Clinton is going to win the popular vote. CNN, CBS and NBC all count more votes in favour of Clinton. CNN has the margin around 668,483 votes.

Yes Trump dominated the Electoral College. But he lost the popular vote. In fact The Independent is reporting that Clinton will receive more votes than any other US President in history, except Barack Obama.

This is all very important. You see if Trump ended up winning the popular vote too, then there wouldn’t be a chance of the unexpected happening. This unexpected I’m talking about is the possibility that someone else (maybe not even Clinton) ends up as the next US President.

You see, with the Electoral College system the votes in each state are really for an elector, who then votes in the House of Representatives for the President and Vice-President. However, according to only 29 states require electors to vote as they have pledged.

That means 21 other states allow what’s known as a ‘faithless elector’.

That means that they can change their vote even if Trump won the state. It’s worth adding, it works the other way as well. If Clinton won the state, there could be a change there too.

Now, the likelihood of enough faithless electors swinging the race back to Clinton is remote. But not impossible.  Sure, it’s never happened before in history. But then again, a candidate like Trump has never won the Electoral College race.

4.3 million want it, but will they get it?

In August, a member of the Electoral College from Texas, Chris Suprun, told Politico that he wouldn’t rule out voting for Clinton if Trump didn’t moderate his demeanour.

There have been others (on both sides) that have said they wouldn’t vote for the winner of their state. What this means is a number of Electoral College votes could be up for grabs…still.

There’s even a petition to pressure electors to switch their vote away from Trump. At the moment, 4.3 million people have signed the petition. It’s the fastest growing petition has even seen on their site.

Faithless electors have changed before. 157 times actually. Albeit half of those were after a nominee died, and others were those who simply abstained. And none have ever changed the outcome of an election. But again, we’re not exactly living in a normal world anymore, are we?

It would be another incredible twist in this extraordinary tale if enough faithless electors were able to sway this election one more time. And to be honest, nothing surprises us these days.

What we do know is that in five weeks’ time we’ll know once and for all who the next President will be. Until then, I expect you’ll be hearing more about the pressure on the electors to turn ‘faithless’.

And what impact will it all have on markets? Well just more uncertainty, that’s what. As if the markets didn’t have enough uncertainty as it is, this is just one more squirt of petrol to fuel the fire.


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