Last year’s presidential vote took Donald Trump to the White House. Compare this win to the six before him and you’ll notice something interesting.
If you pay attention to American politics, you will know that while Donald Trump won the presidency, thanks to winning a majority of electoral college votes, he failed to win the popular vote. Hillary Clinton won that. Sixteen years earlier, the same thing happened to George Bush. He too won the most electoral college votes, but lost out on the popular vote.
Looking at these two elections, as well as the five others since 1992 there is one striking fact.
While three of the last seven presidential elections were won by Republicans, on six out of the last seven votes, a Democrat won the popular vote share.
In 1992, Democrat Bill Clinton won the presidency with the highest number of electoral college votes, as well as the popular vote. In 1996, he did repeated the feat.
Four years after that in 2000, Republican George Bush won the presidency, but lost the popular vote to Al Gore. In 2004, Bush managed to win in both arenas, marking the only Republican win in terms of popular vote in the last two and a half decades.
Then, in 2008 and 2012, Barack Obama won both the popular votes and both electoral college contests. Four years later, Republican Trump won the electoral college vote, but not the popular vote.
In six out of the last seven elections, the Democrats have won the popular vote. This is a striking fact, but the popular vote counts for nothing in a presidential election.
In fact, when critics pointed out Trump’s popular vote loss in 2016, he hit back by saying if it had been a popular vote election he would have campaigned differently. Much like if the UK had a more proportional voting system, campaigning in marginal seats would undoubtedly no longer be the focus.
There is no way of telling if Trump would have won had he done this, but different rules make players act differently so it is entirely possible.
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