The U.S. Presidency: How Important Is Hillary’s 2,864,974 Popular-Vote Win?

California alone accounted for all of Hillary’s popular-vote win, plus 1,405,004 votes.

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at

America’s Electoral College — the publicly elected representatives who select the U.S. President — voted on Monday, December 19th, and chose Donald Trump as America’s next President, though Hillary Clinton had won nearly three million more of the nation’s popular votes on November 8th than he did. (The Electoral College vote was 304 Trump, to 227 Clinton.)

Here was the top of the homepage of the anti-Trump (and anti-Russia) Huffington Post, in America, on Monday night, December 19th, focusing on Hillary Clinton’s having won more people’s votes than Trump did:


How significant is it that Ms. Clinton had won the votes of more Americans, but Mr. Trump has won the votes of more Electors? Here are the relevant facts, by which to understand this:

In some respects, the United States of America is a federal system, not a unitary state system. The U.S. Constitution established the nation that way, and it remains in effect to this day. The Electoral College chooses the nation’s President, and it consists of Electors who represent their individual states, but it’s constructed according to a formula (for weighting each state’s influence in selecting a President) that apportions the number of Electors so as to correlate rather closely with each given state’s population. Thus, the Electoral College is partly a unitary-state system (one-person-one-vote), and partly a federal-state system (each state having different-sized delegations in the Electoral College, depending upon each state’s population-size).

America’s by-far largest state, California, accounts, all on its own, for the entirety of Hillary Clinton’s popular-vote victory — and more besides.

Her win of the U.S. popular vote was two-thirds the size of her win of the California popular-vote. The one state of California accounts for 1.49 times her win of the national vote. California accounted for all of her 2,864,974 national-vote win, plus an additional 1,405,004 votes.

Figures here are from,_2016as of 19 December 2016:

Hillary’s California victory-margin over Trump: 

CA 4,269,978

Hillary’s nationwide popular-vote victory-margin: 

U.S. 2,864,974

Hillary’s nationwide 2% win by 2,864,974 votes would have been a nationwide loss by 1,405,002 votes, if she had won California by 50%+1 vote, to 50%-1 for Trump. Instead, she won California by 61.73%, to 31.62%. (Furthermore, in the Electoral College, almost all states have established a winner-take-all-rule, so that, for example, “all 55 of California’s Electoral votes go to the winner of the state election, even if the margin of victory is only 50.1 percent to 49.9 percent” — in other words, she didn’t win any more Electoral College votes from her 61.73% California landslide win than she would have won by a bare 50%+1 win of California).

Hillary’s 4,269,978-vote win of California was 1.49 times — 49% larger than — her nationwide 2,864,974-vote win.

In addition, Hillary also scored big wins in three other big liberal states: NY, IL, and MA.

The following 3 states total to 

3,592,220 votes:

NY 1,702,792

IL   944,714

MA   904,303

The grand total of the 4 states (NY, IL, MA, and CA): 7,862,198

But, even if Hillary had won those three states by only around 50-50, her 4,269,978-vote edge over Trump in CA would still have been 4,269,978 – 3,592,220 = 677,758 popular votes more than Trump in these four mega-liberal states together (as compared to her actual win there of 7,862,198 popular votes). That would have switched 7,862,198 – 677,758 = 7,184,440 of her votes to Trump, and so he still would have won clearly the popular vote. He and she wouldn’t have done any differently in the Electoral College than they have, in fact, done, but Trump would have scored a huge win in the nationwide popular vote — a much bigger win in the popular vote than Hillary has, in fact, won. 

If the nation had violated the Constitution and handed Ms. Clinton the win due to her 2,864,974 popular-vote victory, then it would have been handing the entire Presidency to the winner of the biggest state, and written off all the rest of the United States — where Clinton lost overwhelmingly. Fortunately, that didn’t happen. 

The evidence therefore shows that Trump won the Presidency by strategizing strictly upon the basis of the U.S. Constitution, and not — as Hillary evidently did — at least partly upon the national popularity-contest. He devoted his resources to the key toss-up states, and ignored the states — including CA, NY, IL, and MA — where the polling showed that his campaigning would be an utter waste of his time and money.

The four mega-liberal states — New York, California, Illinois, and Massachusetts — happen also to be America’s four national-‘news’-media centers; and, so, this reality, and Trump’s win of the election (the Electoral College), naturally strikes many in the national press (such as the owners of the Huffington Post) as being wildly at variance with their ‘rational’ expectations, because those people aren’t so intelligent, and they reason upon the basis of mental structures different from the reality. (Maybe they’re also stupid enough to believe her campaign-rhetoric even though it contrasted sharply with her actual decisions and policies as a government-official.) Furthermore, they’re wildly out-of-touch with the pain throughout the rest of the country, and they accept the aristocracy’s false analysis of its causes and of its solutions (the cause isn’t bigotry against women, minorities, etc.; it’s their own bigotry against the poor — of any group); so, they think that Hillary was ‘obviously’ better than Trump, and can’t imagine that she’s worse (or even worse, if Trump too is bad) than Trump. This blindness-to-reality enables the ‘news’ media to support vigorously the Democratic Party’s attempts to de-legitimize Trump as President. They believe strongly in the aristocracy’s ideology (that the barrier to equality-of-opportunity is more an ethnic bigotry than it is a class-bigotry) and so they continue to obsess upon ethnicity, gender, etc., even after the past year’s political results, both in the U.S. and in Europe, are showing how divorced from the reality, they actually are.

This explains why the owners of America’s ‘news’ media tend to be both perplexed and angry that Hillary Clinton (whose basic campaign theme was that there is no class-problem in America, but only many different bigotry-problems) lost this election.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.