Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Trump Has No Popular Vote Or Electoral College Mandate
It has been obvious for days now that Donald Trump has no mandate when it comes to the popular vote. He actually got more than 2.3 million votes less than Hillary Clinton did. Trump only got about 46% of the popular vote.
So, how is it that Trump and his aides are calling his victory a mandate for his policies? Is it because he got 306 electoral college votes compared to 232 electoral college votes for Clinton? That's probably what they are thinking, but that doesn't work either.
Note the chart above, which lists the electoral college percentages won by every president in the 20th and 21st centuries (from information at fivethirtyeight.com). Of all the presidential elections since 1900, Trump's victory electoral college percentage is only 24th, and 22 of those ahead of him had significantly better percentages (with Truman at #23 being only slightly better). And if you include the electoral college percentages of 19th century presidential elections, then Trump's victory falls all the way to 44th.
The average electoral college victory percentage for all presidential elections is 70.9%. It is easy to say that president's getting more than 70.9% do indeed have a mandate for their policies. But a case can be made that getting 60% of the electoral votes would be a mandate -- and Trump still fails short of that lowered percentage, having gotten only 56.9% of available electoral college votes.
The idea that Donald Trump has a mandate is little more than a joke -- whether you consider the popular vote or the electoral college vote.