Hillary Clinton Won the Popular Vote: So Why is Trump the Next President?
At this point, everyone knows Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by approximately 2.5 million votes. She received about 25% of the votes from all registered voters and Donald Trump received about 25%. The other 50% of registered voters seemingly didn’t think it was an important use of their time to bother going to the polls.
How electoral votes work
Elections in the United States are determined by electoral votes not the popular vote. There is a reason for this. This may not be the best system for determining an election but it’s better than a decision by popular vote. If we had a system where elections were determined by popular vote, elections would be determined by California, Texas, New York and possibly Florida. Votes in other states would be virtually meaningless and citizens of those smaller states could join the 50% of registered voters who never bothered voting anyway.
Issue with using popular votes as deciding factor for the presidency
Issues that are important to smaller and less populated states would be meaningless in a general election. Candidates for national office would only need to campaign in the largest metro areas of the country to be elected by popular vote. If you want a candidate to represent all of the United States rather than only the most populated states then you need the electoral vote. If, on the other hand, you want the election decided by popular vote, the candidates platforms will reflect the issues that are important to only the largest populated states.
Historical presidents that won just the electoral vote
The 2016 general election cycle is not the first time the incoming POTUS lost the popular vote. John Quincy Adams was the first to be elected president while losing the popular vote. That was in 1824 and the system has still not been changed. The same results also apply to Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876, Benjamin Harrison in 1888 and George W. Bush in 2000.
In the earlier general elections where the POTUS had not received the popular vote, the reaction was much different among the general population. There were no protests, riots and recounts being demanded in an attempt to reverse the election results. The results were accepted because this is the way our democracy works.
Will the recount help?
Though a recount will probably find some minor discrepancies, it is virtually impossible and inconceivable that Hillary Clinton could reverse the electoral votes based on reversing the popular vote in the three contested states. Donald Trump won Wisconsin by 22,525 votes, Michigan by 10,704 votes and Pennsylvania by 68,000 votes. These are essentially insurmountable counts to find enough errors to reverse the decision of the voters in those states.
The fact that Jill Stein and Hillary Clinton are even challenging these counts is ludicrous at best and does nothing but undermine our democracy and attempts to dismantle the electoral college based on the fact that they do not like the results. Hillary Clinton herself said it best when should stood on the national stage and stated “That is not the way our democracy works. Been around for 240 years. We’ve had free and fair elections. We’ve accepted the outcomes when we may not have liked them, and that is what must be expected of anyone standing on a debate stage during a general election. I, for one, am appalled that somebody that is the nominee of one of our two major parties would take that kind of position.”
If the way our nationally elected officials needs to be changed, it needs to change before a national election, not afterwards. We simply can not change the way our officials are elected because we don’t like the results.