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,_2016, as 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.

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  • Just as much as Al Gore versus Bush the Jr. a non event of nothing.

    Aug 19, 2016 Electoral College and the National Archives

    Every four years the Office of the Federal Register — part of the National Archives and Records Administration — administers the Electoral College. The Office of the Federal Register informs the governments of the 50 states and the District of Columbia what is required to fulfill their duty under the Constitution to elect the President and Vice President of the United States. This video explains how the Electoral College works and the Office of the Federal Register’s role in collecting the documentation Congress needs to count the Electoral College.

    • Gorman

      Trump = Putin’s useful idiot + China’s perpetual serf-debtor

      Trump was SELECTED to become the next president simply to preside over the BANKRUPTCY OF THE UNITED STATES.

      End of story

      • awb22

        Would you rather have Clinton in office?

        It’s not the end of the story by a long shot. Whether you’ve given up is another matter altogether. Trump is his own man, a point with which you seem to take issue. Why is that?

        Whether Russia hacked the DNC isn’t the point, they tried to hack the RNC, too. What about China’s and Saudi’s influence in giving the Clinton Foundation billions? You seem to have a singular dislike for Trump, which you should examine. It will continue to cloud your judgement.

      • David S

        We are already far past bankrupt ($20Trillion in debt, $250+ Trillion in unfunded liabilities, $300+ Trillion in outstanding derivatives, etc.). The collapse will come when it comes. It most certainly should have come a long time ago – by any reasonable standard of economic common sense. The two-party oligarchy will preside over the collapse they and the Federal Reserve have orchestrated, and the sheeple will continue to vacillate between the two worthless parties mistakenly believing that one or the other is actually better or their next “savior.”

  • diogenes

    This article assumes that California’s vote count was accurate — an unmerited assumption and unlikely to be true.

    • awb22

      Ron Paul was given the same treatment by the Republicans in 2012, paving the way for a Trump candidacy in 2016. Paul could have run as a 3rd party candidate, but chose to run within the two party system. The result was the same, Obama won. Trump was the Tea Party candidate, Sanders was the Occupy candidate. Both are populist movements, and have a common enemy in the established status quo. You should be cheering Trump’s election, instead of engaging in straw man debates. What falsehoods, and why call conspiracy?

      • diogenes

        Yes, BOTH fake parties of the fake “Two” party system are controlled by the same oligarchs and BOTH function to prevent democracy. And then people like Eric Zuesse cover it up with misdirected blather. To my mind these blatherers are AT LEAST as much a part of the problem as the parties themselves.

        • awb22

          I agree the parties are two sides of the same coin. As Christ says in Matthew 22:21, “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.” Modern day America is no different from Rome in his earthly day.

          You’re obviously disappointed in the election result, but why not cheer the populist candidate who won, instead of wallowing in sorrow for the candidate who didn’t?

          I don’t know where Zuesse stands regarding scripture, but that is how all mankind shall be judged, not by men, but by the Word of God.

          Every man and woman shall give an answer before God, even you, diogenes. Think carefully before you start accusing anyone else of blathering.

  • David S

    When the legitimacy of these votes can be confirmed (ie – that they were NOT cast by non-citizens, etc.) then I might believe the numbers. Until then, all bullshi*. And this only deepens the case for the Electoral College. Let California be its own country if it wishes (and all the other 49 as well), but do NOT allow California voters the ability to decide the president over all 50 states. The wisdom of the founding fathers becomes more apparent every day. Now if Americans could only see the wisdom in actually limiting the federal government to the limited role actually defined in the first 3 articles, we would be on a great course back to freedom and liberty.

    • diogenes

      We also need to return to insisting that our government perform vital functions delegated to it by our Constitution — in the first place, providing a public medium of exchange — a currency, credit — instead of corruptly leasing this vital function to an international cabal of private bankers to operate for their own profit and the extreme detriment of our public welfare. The Constitution assigns our government as a key task, to promote the general welfare. What we need isn’t always “less government,” but we do need, always, government closely and carefully devoted to promoting our general welfare. And right now we are not getting it.

  • awb22

    The only issue I have with the article is Trump didn’t win overwhelming in the remaining states excepting the 4 mentioned in the article. In state after state, it was a narrow victory, albeit in an overwhelming number of those states. Overall, one would have to surmise, it was a close vote which could have gone either way, and no one could have forecast the outcome of this election until it became apparent Trump was going to win the electoral votes of a majority of states when the votes were counted. Anyone who claims otherwise is either self deluded, a liar, or both.

    • cettel

      You miss the point of the article. You misstate what it says, and then argue against it on that basis of misunderstanding it.

      Just try to deal with this, then, since it’s simple: “California alone accounted for all of Hillary’s popular-vote win, plus 1,405,004 votes.”

      • awb22

        Not at all, the point of the article is winning the popular vote was misleading and irrelevant, and based on that, the author went on to say the Trump win was overwhelming. I stated what the article said, and the issue I take with it. The misunderstanding is all yours, although I appreciate your response.