By Abby Chew
The 2016 election has arguably been the most controversial and most talked about presidential race in American history. This is largely due to the extremity of social media use coupled with the obvious extremity of the candidates themselves.
According to statistical predictions, Hillary Clinton was expected to win the election over her opponent, Donald Trump, both in electoral and popular votes. The predictions made were by no small margin either, showing Clinton seizing victory by 42.8 percent of the votes.
So the question remains: how did Trump unexpectedly prove superior, taking the presidency title and going against all statistical analyses? I myself was pondering the same question and was stupefied when trying to come to a logical conclusion.
Statisticians explain that this phenomenon is called the Bradley Effect.
Just before Election Day in November 1982, Tom Bradley, the first African-American mayor of Los Angeles, was predicted to become governor of California. The recent polls all showed Bradley as being the front runner and likely winning candidate. However, despite the statistics backing up these predictions, Bradley lost to his Republican counterpart, George Deukmejian.
The “effect” suggested that voters were too embarrassed to admit that they would not vote for a black man as governor. Many people were afraid to be labeled as racist and therefore did not disclose how they would actually vote.
This theory presented the idea of a social desirability bias. Individuals will choose to report false information to present themselves in the best, most socially accepted way. In the case of the recent election, the Bradley Effect helps to explain just why the results came out the way they did.
Never before has America ever seen a presidential candidate quite like Donald Trump. The man was viewed as more of a celebrity figure, having been in the media’s eye way before the commencement of the election. Though known for having a strategic knowledge of business, Trump knew little when it came to the subject of politics and offered no former political experience. Trump chose to completely ignore the mold a “typical politician” squeezed themselves into. Instead, he chose to be severely honest, plaguing him with the impression that he was an unfit candidate.
Voters felt ostracized to admit desiring Trump over Clinton. Much like the election of 1982, the results of this election proved statistical prediction to be faulty. Social bias proved to be a major contributing factor when it came to attempting an analysis of just how the election would ensue.
The result is unchangeable, unredeemable and undebatable. To a number of people, irate protests, university counseling sessions and offensive Twitter posts may seem like a fitting way to deal with an unwanted outcome; however, these actions cannot undo the final verdict.
America must not be caught wallowing in a state of resignation, but rather should proceed to move forward knowing that the future is unknown. There is no telling exactly how the next four years will unfold, but we can choose to exhibit optimism over blatant animosity.