Donald Trump winning the 2016 United States of America Presidential Election via the electoral college was a shock to many people. An even bigger shock to some, was that he did so despite losing the popular vote by 2.7 million. However, this should not be as big of a shock to people as it appears to be. As most people know, the winner of the US presidential race is the candidate who wins 270 votes or more in the electoral college. To accomplish this, candidates mostly disregard states they cannot win or are guaranteed to win, and end up campaigning in about 13 states deemed “swing states”. In every modern election, the winner of these states has won the election, regardless of their margins of victory in the popular vote or in the non-swing states. Really, the current US election is not an election voted upon by the citizens of all 50 states, but instead by the citizens of 13 states (ironically the number of states in the first union) that are not already predetermined. In this way, candidates are not competing for the popular vote, as it has no effect on whether or not they are victorious. Now, after the results of the 2016 election, many people have said that Donald Trump should not win the election and become president, because he did not win the popular vote. Some even go as for to say that he is #notmypresident.

Now, I am opposed to the electoral college, because in my opinion it is an antiquated system designed to limit ignorant citizen participation in government. This system is not appropriate today because our citizens are vastly more educated, and communication between states can be accomplished significantly quicker than it could at the college’s founding. However, the fact of the matter is that our current means of electing the President of the United States is the electoral college, and has been since 1789. For the survival of our democracy, as long as this system is in place its results must be respected. Before the election, when Donald Trump was claiming it could be rigged, critics were quick to say that this proclamation could kill US democracy as we know it, because the loser of the election may not honor the results. The exact same can and should be said about fighting the electoral college result of this election.

Now, it is important to note that Hillary Clinton did accept the result, because she has an understanding of the system, and knows that she lost the vote count she was actually competing for. Unfortunately, many of her supporters refuse to do the same. Many claim that Donald Trump did not win the popular vote, and therefore should not win the election, however with the current system this argument is just illogical. As previously stated, Trump and Clinton were competing in 13 states for electoral votes that could win them the election. They were not competing for every single US vote, looking to win as many as possible. If popular vote were the predetermined means for determining the winner of the election, the outcome could possibly have been very different. For example, two of the most populous states in the US, making up more than 28% of the US population, California and New York, are heavily Democratic. Because of this, Trump did almost no campaigning in them and therefore took boundless losses in them for the popular vote. However, if he had been competing for the popular vote, he would have certainly mobilized his campaign to these areas and the result of the popular vote in a case like this would be impossible to predict. I realize the same can be said about Clinton with Republican states, but the point stands that if the election was won by the popular vote, the result would certainly have differed in some way.

The electoral college can and in my opinion should be abolished for future elections, making the means of electing our president the popular vote. However, the 2016 Presidential election was a competition for the electoral college, and seeing as Donald Trump won this competition, there should be no reason to question his victory. Saying that he is not your president is really saying that this is not your country, because he sure is the president-elect of the United States, soon to be the president. Once more I will just say, Donald Trump did not win this election unfairly or find some strange loophole to steal it from Clinton. He won it fair and square based on the system which has been used to elect presidents since 1789. The same result has occurred in presidential election as recently as 2000, with George Bush winning the electoral college but not the popular vote. It is imperative that the US unite behind its future president, and if anything use their grievances to reform our country for its future, not violently dwell on defeats which are now in the past.

Salty Democrats, please think twice before angrily abusing your keyboard in haste to express your displeasure with me. I do not wish to start a war between party supporters, I only wish people would think twice about the basis of their election before question its results because it is convenient to their cause. Please ask yourself, if Hillary Clinton had won the electoral college and not the popular vote, would you still be angry? If you cannot honestly answer yes to this question, please think twice before angrily lashing out at me.  Have a great day, and US citizens remember, he really is your president.

Matt

CC BY-SA 4.0 #Notmypresident? by Matthew is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

5 Comments
  1. Abby 7 months ago

    I appreciate that you see the flaws with the electoral college and I appreciate your arguments. When the question was proposed about accepting the results and the legitimacy of the election, this scenario was never discussed. There would have been a completely different narrative if the conversation had included winning the electoral college, but not the popular vote. I understand your frustration, but I urge you to see ours. Majority of americans who voted chose Donald Trump, but millions of votes weren’t exactly taken into account because of the electoral college. Additionally, Hillary Clinton did accept the results of the election. She did not produce a statement until the decision was final. She didn’t even start the not my president campaign or ask for recount. Jill Stein asked for a recount in several states where there were traces of foul play, and let’s not forget Russia’s involvement in the election either. Further, the #notmypresident movement is not democrats and liberals being mad because Donald Trump didn’t win the popular vote. This movement stems from the fear that many people have due to the rhetoric Trump has normalized and the actions he has normalized. Donald Trump has promoted violence, rape culture, racism, and sexism. The not my president movement, which I am a strong advocate of, is aimed to let Donald Trump know that we will not be forgotten, as many already feel. People want Donald Trump and his voters to treat us as equals and to get rid of the violence. Clearly Donald Trump is going to be our President, but don’t the meaning of the movement literally. Please don’t call us salty democrats, many are terrified for their wellbeing after the election, this isn’t about pettiness it’s about livelihood and legitimate concern. Thanks for your consideration.

  2. Mitchell 8 months ago

    Matt. I think you did a very good job with this essay and even though I am in support of Hillary I found many good points in your work. I also don’t think that our current system is the most effective system we could be using to elect a leader but what you said about how that’s the way it has been for a long time is a good point. Your essay also leads me to think if there would be riots if Trump won the popular vote as well.

  3. Robin 8 months ago

    Hello Matt!!

    This is a very well thought out essay, and I really agree with many of your arguments. Even though the electoral college is a part of our system that some find corrupt, there really isn’t much we can do about it. However, the larger issue with Donald Trump being our president isn’t really dependent upon the system of the electoral college and more about gerrymandering. I’m not necessarily saying that there aren’t some Hillary supporters that are mal-informed about how the government works, but there are many Republicans who aren’t aware as well. You see, I definitely agree that the electoral college is something that shouldn’t change within our government, as it was set in motion for a reason and would be ridiculously difficult to disenfranchise, but that isn’t the main issue with the “Not my President” hashtag. You see, the issue lies within the gerrymandering of the states and also potential Russian interference with the election as a whole. Many Hillary Clinton supporters are upset because they feel as though their voices have not been heard–even though it is not based by popular vote, the popular vote should be a large indicator of who will win the electoral vote. Gerrymandering hurts both liberals and conservatives alike, and we should focus on trying to change it.

  4. Victoria 8 months ago

    Hi Matt,

    I really liked reading your essay. I have been thinking about the results of the presidential election, and I agree that Trump won fair and square, even though I begrudgingly accept these results as a Clinton supporter :). However, facts are facts and he is the president-elect, and I do disagree with other liberals who are stating that Trump is #notmypresident, because I am sure that if the results had tipped the others way the same protests could have happened, but instead of liberals it would be conservative voters, and liberals would be defending their candidate of choice.

    Before the results came out, I remember talking to one of my friends about the campaigns over the summer. We are both liberal and wanted Clinton to win, and at that point I defended the electoral college, because I was sure that it would curb the influence of the votes against Clinton. Now I look back and feel like the electoral college is futile, and I understand that my opinion about the system is very much swayed by the fact that “it has failed us (the Democrats) twice!” (first the Bush victory, now Trump). However, I don’t say this in order to cause controversy, but rather to state other reasons as to why I think the electoral is antiquated and that I was naive in believing in it, just to support “my candidate”. All results aside, I have tried to look at the electoral college in a rational way, and have learned much about it in my government class this year. It was originally a group of elite voters formed at the birth of the nation in order to keep the voting power in the hands of wealthy, educated landowners, and keep the vote of the public in check. Of course, the circumstances have changed as the nation has grown and the number of electoral votes is based on population in the state. However, what I think skews an election even more is the fact that these votes are won by a candidate who has a plurality, not a majority, and that the votes are awarded in most states on a winner-takes-all basis instead of by the ratio of voters per candidate in that state. It does not represent the population proportionally. I also think the purpose of the electoral college is futile today because before it was used to control the votes of “average citizens” who may not have the education they needed to make an informed decision on who to vote for, as well as give more power to the elite class. Today, however, a large majority of the American public is educated, and while I think that many people still do not have easy access to all the information they need in order to make the right decision for themselves (as well as being influenced by simple message of what they hear on the news that many times skew perceptions), many citizens now have more power to inform themselves.

    Thanks again for writing this. It truly is an well-written argumentative piece.

  5. Alex 8 months ago

    A very well thought out essay, and informative. I agree with many of your points, but I wish that you talked more on the electoral college. I believe that the system is one of inclusion, and fair representation. Instead of all politics being led by the densely populated states such as New York and California, other states have a say, such as the Rustbelt states. Without this system, the areas that are less populated, such as the farmers in this country, would not get a say. Again, great essay! Very well written!

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