What's in store for America

Dr. Raymond Sandoval, Richland government professor and political analyst, predicted the winner of the upcoming presidential election Oct. 12 in a presentation based on data-driven analysis. Sandoval discussed voter turnout, problems with both parties, political ideology, baby boomers versus millennials and the unique complexities of this particular election.

Sandoval’s research led him to the outcome in which Hillary Clinton wins the election.

“Hillary will probably win by a significant amount in the Electoral College and she will probably win the popular vote but she will not win the majority of the American population,” Sandoval said.

“She won’t go over 50 percent of the population. She’ll be higher than Donald Trump. She’ll be in the high 40s, 48 and 49,” he estimated, “but she won’t win the majority of the American people.”  He summarized the reason based on Clinton’s ideology, saying “She’ll take the win as a landslide victory for the ideas she espouses, instead of the indicator that we need to figure out a way to stop the fragmentation of American society.”

Data used for his prediction was derived from different areas of the election.

“We looked at ethnic distribution of the states and we looked at economic trends. For example, usually when the economy is doing well, then the president who’s running for re-election returns to office, or the party that the president belongs to has a chance to be returned to office,” Sandoval said.

“But, on the other hand, usually after a two-term presidency, the other party has a very distinct historical advantage. It is very rare for that same party to win the third election, that is, after the first two. So we include all of this historical data, as well as poling data, demographic data and focus group data as a model to predict who is going to win what state.”

A very important topic discussed in the lecture, and an important factor of the election, is voter turnout. He mentions that young people generally do not vote, but they will play a huge rule in the results of the presidential election.

“Millennials, young people, generally do not vote in high numbers,” Sandoval said. “There was an increase in 2004 of young people voting and then in 2008, but in 2012 it dropped back down. So, I would expect for it to drop further this time where young people the age of 18 to 25 or 30 will not show up very much.”

Furthermore, he mentioned the problem is that neither party is doing a good job reaching out to younger voters.

He also described the difference of this election to previous ones. “What happens is that the candidate that has the most money can pour ads into various target areas and get the population to move in the favor, but what we’re experiencing in this election is that you can pour money into ads and it has no effect.”

Sandoval elaborated saying “people are not being swayed as easily through television advertising as they have in the past, which means television has had very little influence on the decisions of the people.”

In discussing Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” Sandoval said the reality of the statement is based in the concept of American mythology and cited Stephanie Coontz’s book “The Way We Never Were.”  He explained that we always picture previous generations as something other than what they actually were.

“We always picture the 1800s different; the 1900s different,” said Sandoval, “but particularly we mythologize the 1950 because we had the addition of television and media which reinforce more so than another other time in history; these myths about how the family really was when actually it wasn’t that way at all.”

Sandoval said that not all families lived in harmony, not all families had two parents and not all families in the 1950s were like the images we’ve seen projected through the media. The period did not exist in the same way it’s portrayed.  He explained that because of this mythology, there is a split in the Republican Party involving one group that wants to return to a particular era and another group that doesn’t know how to move forward. 

Early voting runs through Friday. Students can vote early on the Richland campus, Wednesday and Thursday. Richland Student Media coverage of the election takes place from 6 to 10 p.m. on KDUX Web Radio, at RichlandStudentMedia.com.