Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The 2016 Presidential Election: The "Landslide" That Was Anything But

When I first heard the claim, I was stunned.   According to President-elect Trump claims, he won a "massive [electoral college] landslide victory."  Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus and the Trump transition team publicly made similar claims.

It just isn't so.  Quite the opposite in fact.  The 2016 presidential race was one of the closest races in American history.

Being a political nerd, I keep a lot of electoral information at hand.  A friend had claimed awhile back
that President Obama had won in a landslide, I developed a historical table to show that friend's claim was all wet. The elections Obama won in 2008 and 2012 actually were some of the more close presidential elections we have had.

The 2016 election was even closer than those.  Donald Trump (assuming no "faithless" electors) will receive 306 electoral votes on December 19th, while Clinton is on tract to receive 232.  Turned into percents, Trump will receive 56.9% of the electoral votes while Clinton gets 43.1%.  That 15.8% difference means the 2016 election will be the 10th closest electoral college vote of all time.  In this century, only the elections in 1916, 1960, 1976, 2000 and 2004 were closer.

If you look at key states, you will see how easily that Hillary Clinton's defeat on Election Night could have turned out to be a victory.  She lost three states, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, by a total of 79,887 votes.  If just over half those votes had flipped from Trump to Clinton, Clinton would have been elected President.  Thus, the election was decided by less voters than live in Kokomo, Indiana.   Going back to percents, we are talking .031% of the 127,677,038 million cast that decided the election.

I guess the Trump "landslide" claim shouldn't come as a surprise.  Trump and his supporters tend to live in  a world in which they get to make up their own "facts."  But they are not alone.  Democrats are also making absurd claims about the "huge" popular vote victory Clinton received.  Current tallies have her leading Trump by 2.8 million votes.

I do agree that the popular vote means little in our election scheme.  I don't agree, however, with the Trumpkins claim that their candidate could have won the popular vote if he had chosen instead to campaign in highly populous, albeit heavily Democratic states like California and New York.  The fact is if the election were decided by the popular vote, Clinton also would have adjusted her strategy, which would have offset much if not all of Trump's change in tactics.

Dispensing with that argument and focusing instead on the numbers, we see that Clinton won the popular vote 48.07% to 45.99%.  That is a difference of 2.08%, making the 2016 election the 9th closest popular vote race in history.

To recap the 2016 Presidential election featured the 10th closest electoral college vote in history with the 9th closest popular vote margin.   Certainly not a "landslide."


Veterans for Peace Indianapolis said...

If only our system of government were as intended and limited the powers of the chief executive of the federal government, the people of the nation would have one less issue to divide them. Peace at home should help foster peace abroad.

Anonymous said...

GOOD QUESTION: The experts got blindsided by what happened on Election Day, so why should we care how they try to explain it now? “It just seems so pathetic. I mean, I know the political writers need to keep writing. It’s their livelihood. But why are we supposed to keep reading? It’s been established that you don’t know what you’re talking about. Your game is a fraud.”

Melyssa Hubbard said...

Only a landslide could offset the massive election rigging of the democratic party. Look what we learned from the recounts. Look at what we learned from the NY Elections commissioner caught on Project Veritas' hidden camera.

We'll never know, but I feel certain if an audit was done in every state we'd see evidence of democrat cheating in every single one.

I'd love to know the true count (minus cheating) of California.