The election results 2016 popular vote continues to show an increasing lead for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. As America Now reports, by November 21, Clinton led Donald Trump by roughly 1.75 million votes, with Clinton getting 63,649,978 to Donald Trump’s 61,943,670. But the decision of the majority of Americans is being overridden by the Electoral College system.
Hillary Clinton now leads by nearly 2 percentage points, and indications are that this lead is likely to grow to 2.5 points by the time of the Electoral College vote in December – as more mail-in and provisional ballots are counted. This is a substantial lead, and as great as many winners of presidential elections who claimed a mandate.
Evolving Election Results
2016 has been one of the most unusual elections in United States history. From outsider candidates shaking up both parties to outrageous scandals cropping up every few months – particularly in the Trump campaign – it’s been one for the textbooks.
Indeed, the slowly growing lead that the “loser” has in the presidential race makes this election virtually unprecedented. While in the past, the Electoral College system has on a few occasions allowed the candidate with fewer popular votes to win, there has never been anything approaching the kind of gap we’re likely to see when the final votes in the 2016 election are tallied.
As pointed out by the Associated Press, there was a tremendous outcry in 2000 when George Bush won the Electoral College vote over Al Gore. But in that case, Gore led Bush by “only” a little over 500,000 votes. Clinton’s lead over Donald Trump by the time of the Electoral College vote is going to be in the millions.
The Electoral College Problem
Election results – 2016 results notwithstanding – presumably should in a democracy represent the will of the majority. But thanks to the archaic and entirely undemocratic Electoral College system established by the founders of this country, we have had two elections in the last 16 years in which the winner of the presidential election popular vote didn’t become president.
Ironically, one of the purposes of the Electoral College was to guarantee that an unqualified, uneducated, and inexperienced candidate could never become president of the United States. The founders felt that the general population was far more likely to yield to the temptations of a demagogue than specially chosen electors in each state.
The election results 2016 controversy makes it clear that the founders underestimated the general population’s ability to discern the suitability of candidates for the White House. If the popular vote mattered, Hillary Clinton – someone who has served as a United States Senator and Secretary of State – would be the next president of the United States.
But the Electoral College system will instead provide us with a president who has never served in any public office and who seems to know less about government, foreign policy, and military matters than anyone who has ever held the office.
What’s the Solution?
In the short term, there probably isn’t any solution to the problem created by the Electoral College system. As noted by the Associated Press, the election results in 2016 allowed the Republicans to control all three branches of government.
Republicans will be able to pack the Supreme Court with arch conservatives over the next four – or perhaps eight – years. And given that 2016 has given them absolute control of the federal government, Republicans aren’t likely to change an Electoral College system that works in their favor.
To change the Electoral College system so that the election results in 2016 aren’t duplicated in the future – with the popularly elected candidate losing the election – it would be necessary for Democrats to control the White House, the House, the Senate, and a large percentage of state legislatures. Otherwise, it would be impossible to pass a constitutional amendment abolishing the Electoral College.
[Featured Image by Michael Reaves/Getty Images]