POP­U­LAR VOTE Mil­lion mark

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - EDITORIAL PAGE -

The 1920 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion set a prece­dent. Repub­li­can War­ren Hard­ing not only won the elec­tion but he also car­ried New York by more than 1 mil­lion votes, the first time the win­ning mar­gin ex­ceeded 1 mil­lion in one state. The feat was not re­peated un­til 1936, when Demo­crat Franklin Roo­sevelt beat Alf Lan­don by more than 1 mil­lion in the Empire State.

On Nov. 8, 2016, Demo­crat Hil­lary Clin­ton car­ried Cal­i­for­nia by 4.3 mil­lion votes over Don­ald Trump. The Demo­cratic na­tional pop­u­lar mar­gin fell just short of 3 mil­lion votes. Trump claimed a com­fort­able edge in the Elec­toral Col­lege.

In 2000, Demo­crat Al Gore topped Ge­orge Bush by about 500,000 in the pop­u­lar count. Ge­orge Bush won an elec­toral ma­jor­ity by two votes. Twice in the past 16 years, the win­ning pres­i­den­tial can­di­date trailed in the na­tional pop­u­lar vote. This year Clin­ton won de­ci­sively in Cal­i­for­nia, New York, Illi­nois and Mas­sachusetts. The four states form a Demo­cratic bloc. Texas is the only mega-state with GOP pref­er­ences, and even in the Lone Star State the GOP’s mar­gin is slip­ping.

Not that long ago ex­perts spoke of a GOP lock in the Elec­toral Col­lege. Democrats found the key. Bill Clin­ton and Barack Obama won clear elec­toral ma­jori­ties. Bush’s nar­row 2000 win re­lied on a rul­ing by the United States Supreme Court. The Times-Dis­patch sup­ports the Elec­toral Col­lege but a third or fourth Demo­cratic lead in the pop­u­lar vote but loss in the elec­toral sweep­stakes would fur­ther un­der­mine con­fi­dence in the sys­tem. In­deed, if Trump had led the pop­u­lar vote by 3 mil­lion but lost in the Elec­toral Col­lege we sus­pect the loser and his lick­spit­tles would com­plain about the re­sults be­ing rigged.

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