The Electoral College – Why Trump Won

The Founders were omniscient when they established the Electoral College.  They clearly understood that the Chief Executive of the United States needed to represent the broad spectrum of American citizens and not just a specific subset. They understood that it would be relatively easy for a candidate and/or a party to dominate the political arena by simply concentrating on the high density centers of population.  Hence the Electoral College, established in the Constitution, where the electors from each state are defined by the number of US Senators and Representatives in that state’s delegation to the US Congress.

The brilliance by the Electoral College was demonstrated in the 2016 Presidential Election.  It is frequently bemoaned by the Democrats that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote only to lose the election in the Electoral College.  Some have even lobbied for the elimination of the Electoral College.

While it is true that Ms. Clinton won the popular vote by 2,868,5191 votes, that does not tell the complete story relative to her appeal to a broad spectrum of US Citizens.  Taking a closer look at the numbers, there are approximately 3100 counties in the United States.  By most counts, Donald Trump carried approximately 2600 of the counties or 84% of the counties.  Even more to the point, Ms. Clinton’s 2,868,519 vote edge was concentrated in the 12 counties around 6 cities, Los Angles, San Francisco, San Diego, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Baltimore1.  If one were to eliminate those 12 counties out of the 3100 counties, Mr. Trump would have taken the popular vote by 3,220,424 votes1.  That would suggest that Mr. Trump represented a far broader spectrum of US Citizens than Ms. Clinton.

The Electoral College functioned exactly as the Founders intended, yielding a President that reflected a broad set of the American population versus the concentrated demographics.

Trump Clinton Difference
Overall 62,985,106 65,853,625 -2,868,519
LA County (CA) 769,743 2,464,364 -1,694,621
San Francisco County (CA) 37,688 345,084 -307,396
San Diego County (CA) 477,766 735,476 -257,710
Santa Clara County (CA) 144,826 511,684 -366,858
Cook County (IL) 453,287 1,611,946 -1,158,659
Brooklyn County (NY) 141,044 640,553 -499,509
Manhattan County (NY) 64,929 579,013 -514,084
Queens County (NY) 149,341 517,220 -367,879
Nassau County (NY) 292,025 332,154 -40,129
Westchester County (NY) 131,238 272,926 -141,688
Montgomery County (MD) 92,704 357,837 -265,133
Philadelphia County (PA) 108,748 584,025 -475,277
Revised Total w/o 12 Counties 60,121,767 56,901,343 3,220,424

1 – Source: New York Times – updated 2/2017