How Big Will Hillary Clinton’s Popular Vote Margin Get?

Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton.

Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton.

As the Washington Post’s Paul Waldman writes, we’re in uncharted territory:

As of the most recent count, Clinton has received 1.7 million more votes than Trump. In fact, she received more votes than any presidential candidate in history not named Barack Obama. And it’s not over yet.

On Friday, the California Secretary of State’s office reported that the state still has 2.8 million ballots left to count, mostly because mail-in ballots take time to arrive and there are significant numbers of provisional ballots to examine as well. Clinton won California by an almost 2-1 margin, and if the remaining ballots reflect the same split, her final popular vote lead over Trump could reach 2.5 million. That’s five times as large as the margin by which Al Gore beat George W. Bush in the popular vote in 2000.

Legally speaking, that fact is irrelevant. But the fact that a couple million more Americans chose Clinton to be their president is highly relevant to Trump’s legitimacy. [Pols emphasis]

There’s no question today that Hillary Clinton’s campaign was way off in their confidence in easy victories in the “Rust Belt” states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Wisconsin–states that slipped away from Clinton decisively while she was in retrospect foolishly trying to “expand the map” into red states like Arizona. As the margin of Clinton’s popular vote victory nationwide grows to historic proportions, the failure of Clinton’s electoral vote strategy, a.k.a. the only part that matters, stands out in sharper and more painful relief for Democrats.

But looking ahead, Donald Trump’s stunning Electoral College win may contribute to his swift undoing–especially if Trump doesn’t learn the humility that should come with being President despite millions more Americans voting against you than for you.

In normal circumstances, a minority president might take it as a strong suggestion to tread carefully — not just to “reach out” to the other party by appointing one or two of its members to his Cabinet or by inviting its congressional leadership over for dinner, but to govern with an awareness that most Americans still need to be convinced that his presidency will be something other than a disaster. That means moving carefully, making efforts to assure the people who voted against you that they won’t be victimized by your presidency, and not undertaking sweeping, disruptive changes that the public isn’t behind.

Unfortunately, all signs coming from the Trump presidential transition point to the most belligerently partisan and ideologically skewed administration in many years. Trump’s Cabinet picks so far have been the precise opposite of “reassuring” to the majority of Americans who voted against him.

Donald Trump has risen to power by disregarding every bit of political conventional wisdom, but that doesn’t mean he can do that forever as President. Trump does not have anything like a mandate to carry out the radical agenda he ran on. He has the power, and he has the votes in Congress, but he does not have the electorate behind him.

If he ignores that–and we’re guessing he will–2018 could be a big, big year.


15 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. JeffcoBlue says:

    I might get reamed for this, but I don't think we should get rid of the Electoral College. It's the only reason our state matters in presidential elections. Let CA and NY push for this, I want Colorado to matter in the presidential election.

    • Colorado mattered enough that its electoral winner lost the EC college while winning the popular vote by a significant margin. What Is the EC getting us here in Colorado again?

    • Genghis says:

      The EC is safe for the foreseeable future. There's nowhere near the 2/3 support in both houses of Congress and 75% support in state legislatures needed to dump it by constitutional amendment, and the NPVIC appears to be out of whatever steam it may once have had.

      The only thing that might imperil the EC is a state legislature abolishing voting for president. The Constitution authorizes state legislatures to decide how the state's electoral votes get allocated. If a legislature someday loses its collective mind and decides to allocate the state's electoral votes to the winner of a rap battle and/or Jello wrestling tournament, a movement to shitcan the EC might get very popular indeed. 🙂

  2. Pseudonymous says:

    2018?  Well, you can't be talking about the House, so you must mean the Senate.  Here are all the races slated for 2018 with the Clinton and Trump vote.  I highlighted in red the states that have D senators but Trump outperformed Clinton.  I highlighted in blue the state where the opposite is true.

    All I can say is that I love your optimism!

    • bullshit! says:

      Nobody predicted the Republican margin in 2010, or the Dem margin in 2006. Don't rule anything out.

    • Andrew Carnegie says:

      Nice work.

      Pols is delusional.

      The Indians scored more runs than the Cubs in the world series, so I guess the Cubs are not really the champs. Oops, they keep score by each game?  Who would have thought.

      • MichaelBowman says:

        If the Presidential elections operated like baseball (the team who puts the most individuals over home plate being the victor) we would have spent the last week witnessing you, Moddy and your alter-egos Civic and Putrid Pear predicting the end of life as you knew it. 

      • Mike W. says:

        Oi, Macedonian internet troll, leave the fucking Cubs out of this. 

        • MichaelBowman says:

          The dumbass missed the part where every baseball team IS EXACTLY THE SAME SIZE.  Now if he wants to apply EC logic to baseball we can start by handicapping teams based on the wealth of their owners? 

    • mamajama55 says:

      Voter suppression determined this election

      Very nifty table, Psuedo, if also depressing. I hate to think what a mess the country might be in 2018 to impel voters to Dump Trump and the (senate) horses he rode in on.

      Not coincidentally, those states with D senators and the smallest margins of victory for Trump (Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Florida) were also the states with documented, deliberate voter suppression.

      In Wisconsin, according to the Bradblog (Brad Friedman's noted elections and voting reporting site for the last 12 years)

      For example, as Berman reported this week: "27,000 votes currently separate Trump and Clinton in Wisconsin, where 300,000 registered voters, according to a federal court, lacked strict forms of voter ID" as now required by state Republicans to vote there at all. "Voter turnout in Wisconsin was at its lowest levels in 20 years and decreased 13 percent in Milwaukee, where 70 percent of the state’s African-American population lives."

      In Pennsylvania, where Trump specifically called for his supporters to intimidate voters by "watching certain precincts", a judge refused to investigate or legally halt this planned intimidation. How much of it went on? Who knows? How would we ever know? Also in Pennsylvania, poll workers "mistakenly" asked new voters for driver's licenses. The PA voter ID law had been struck down, and new voters were allowed to vote with voter ID cards. Except – they weren't. How many voters were turned away at the polls? How would we ever know?

      Pennsylvania was the state that put Trump over the 270 vote total. Recorded vote totals did not match the exit polls in Pennsylvania.

      In Michigan, exit polls also didn't match computerized vote totals. Several expert analyses showed Clinton winning MI, WI, NC, PA, and FL, according to exit polling. The Center for American Progress states:

      Poll workers in Michigan incorrectly told voters that they needed to show identification to vote. While Michigan does have a voter ID law, it does not require an ID to vote; instead, voters have the option of filling out an affidavit swearing to their identity. There are no hard data on how many Michigan voters were improperly turned away for lacking an ID.15

      In Florida, one of 4 black voters could not cast a ballot, according to ThinkProgress. This was due partly to GOP Governor Rick Scott's disenfranchisement of former felons who had completed their sentences, purging many more voters than Trump's 117,000 margin of victory in the state.

      In North Carolina, early voting and polling places were drastically cut back, disproportionately impacting poor and working class voters.

      Same thing in Arizona, which also had a very small margin of victory for Trump.

      No need to keep on blaming "lazy millenials", or third party voters, or Hillary herself, or whomever is opposite you in the circular Democratic firing squad. This was deliberately done. This suppression was coordinated and planned.  We'll have a fascist in the white house, and we didn't even vote for him.




  3. Half Glass Full says:

    I don't know … but I'm pretty sure she's no longer a 90% favorite to be elected President.

    Seriously Coloradopols – leaving the "Big Line" up there like that makes you look totally amateur.

  4. Bush 43 certainly didn't try to govern as though he'd come in 2nd in vote totals; Trump is less modest than that, so…

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