Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton now leads by at least 2 million votes in the Electoral College, according to a Politico report published Wednesday, but the vast majority of that lead comes from highly Democratic California.
As it stands now, Clinton has 64,223,958 votes, compared to Trump’s 62,206,395 as of press time. Clinton maintains a huge lead in California, by over 3.5 million votes. Trump earned 4,118,192, compared to Clinton’s 7,849,248.
Clinton had a massive win in the state but she also gained an impressive reward for her trouble, all 55 of the state’s electoral votes. The liberal strongholds of New York and California both went to Clinton, but she lost the other most populated states, Texas, Florida, and Pennsylvania. She won Illinois by just under a million votes.
The Electoral College allocates votes to each state based on the representation that each state has in Congress. California gets its 55 electoral votes because it has 53 seats in the House, and 2 seats in the Senate for example.
Thus, in order to understand how the electoral college votes are allocated, it is important to understand how representatives are allocated. The total number of representatives used to be directly correlated with total population. Essentially, at the time of the Constitution’s adoption, each representative district held an average of 33,000 citizens.
Congress capped the total representative number at 435 in the year 1913. That also capped the total number of electoral votes at 535, to account for the additional 100 members of the Senate. Representation then became a matter of proportions.
Each state is constitutionally granted at least one seat in the House of Representatives, and the rest of the seats are allocated based on population size in the national census taken every ten years. Each district today has an average of 80,000 citizens.
The Electoral College was created to ensure that any state in the union has representation, and that remains an important factor today. It would take several states in the Mid-West to obtain the numbers Clinton earned in the state of California. The state of South Dakota only gave 227,701 votes to Trump, and only 494,881 Nebraska voters chose Trump. The electoral college ensures that smaller state’s interests are given a voice.
Republican President-elect Donald Trump drove the point home during his comments to the press last week, saying, “If the election were based on total popular vote I would have campaigned in N.Y. Florida and California and won even bigger and more easily.”
Another issue that comes up when Democrats discuss eliminating the Electoral College is the fact that Trump won five states that voted for President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida are all states in which Trump was able to defeat Clinton. Ohio and Iowa were both part of Clinton’s fabled “midwest firewall” that would surely deliver the White House for Clinton.
Also important is the nationwide defeat Democrats suffered in state governments. Democrats lost 939 state legislative seats, according to Marc Thiessen’s analysis, earning a total of 4,162 state legislative seats held nationwide. Republicans will also hold 33 governor seats nationwide, 34 if North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory holds his seat.
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