3 out of 4 stars
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The 2016 US presidential election came with a lot of unfathomable events. Harold J. Breaux considers the triumph of Donald Trump as one of the most recent historical anomalies to be witnessed. In his book Illegitimate: Trump’s Election and Failed Presidency, Harold analyses how some series of events before the 2016 election shifted the voters’ decisions in favour of Donald Trump and also the consequences that the US has faced during his presidency.
The Comey letter, Republican-driven voter suppression and fake news were the prevalent events a few months before the 2016 election. These events are what the author refers to as the “triple whammies” – which he believes provided the vote swings from Clinton to Trump. A mathematical model was developed for each of these three whammies to determine the degree of swing caused by them. Maximum Whammy Effect Ratio (MWER) was used as a metric to calculate the extent of the vote swings. The MWER determined how much the three whammies jointly led the Electoral College to hand Trump the presidentship. The second half of the book focuses on the actions, inactions and the poor decision-making of the president’s administration. The final chapter discussed how the outbreak of the current pandemic in the US made Trump’s failures obtrusive.
I found this book to be hilarious, especially when Trump’s lies were recounted. Harold pointed out that Trump had lied about tariff payments at least 108 times in 2019. Another study referenced in the book indicated that Donald Trump has made over 18,000 false claims from the day he assumed office till date. These numbers are staggering. For someone who blindly followed Trump, I find this book to be very informative and well-researched. I learnt things that I previously didn’t know about Trump; I got to know that his proclaimed self-made success in business isn’t so true. I highly appreciate the author’s shrewdness in applying mathematical modelling in studying the dealings of the 2016 election. The models seemed plausible, thereby making his presumptions about the election results more convincing. A reader needn’t have a strong mathematical background to understand these models.
While most of the claims made here are true, I wasn’t comfortable that conclusions were drawn from speculative events. One of the conclusions drawn was that the Republicans allied with the Russian government to spread fake news, on social media platforms, as a means to bias voters’ decisions. Because the conclusion on this issue is subjective, I feel it could be misleading to naive readers. Because of this, I would deduct a star and rate Illegitimate: Trump’s Election and Failed Presidency 3 out of 4 stars.
Illegitimate: Trump’s Election and Failed Presidency is best suited to readers with an interest in politics. The book is professionally edited; I found only two errors while reading through the narrative. The errors were a missing word and a missing full stop. I bet another round of proofreading would clear the errors.
Illegitimate: Trump’s Election and Failed Presidency
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