Hillary Clinton Wins the Popular Vote by 2 Million

Violet Wright '20, Staff Writer

Although the tallies of the election were posted that night, it takes weeks to actually count the votes. Clinton has so far been in the lead, with more than two million votes and counting. However, although Hillary Clinton won the favor of the people, Donald Trump had 290 electoral votes, versus Clinton’s 232. This means that Donald Trump is now our President-elect. Counting the ballots takes time, since many votes are cast last minute, and some votes come in days after the election.

So what exactly are electoral votes, and why do these votes determine who is our President? Electoral votes are cast by the electoral college, which is a group of people representing every state. The number of electors in your state depends on the number of its members in the Congressional delegation. For example, Pennsylvania has twenty electors, while Alabama only has nine. Our Founding Fathers created this system when they created the Constitution, as a compromise for Americans. They believed that the uneducated masses might not be able to cast the best possible vote, so they created a system that ensured one group of people would vote on behalf of the majority (in theory, anyway). Unfortunately, the system is flawed, because it doesn’t take into account the fact that more and more people are now living in major cities, yet the states that those cities are in don’t necessarily have more electoral votes.

There is, however one way to ensure that the actual will of the people is done: unfaithful electors. Unfaithful electors are members of the electoral college who could turn the tide by voting contrary to their state’s decision. For example, if Texas had voted majority Republican, a Texan elector could still vote for Ms. Clinton rather than faithfully voting for Trump. The elector would be fined approximately $1000, but if they feel strongly opposed to a Trump presidency, they would have a way to vote with their conscience. The electoral college voted in Trump’s favor Monday, December 19, however, giving him more than the necessary 270 votes to win the presidency. There were a few unfaithful electors (and two were, in fact, from TX), but the majority of them voted for candidates other than Ms. Clinton or Mr. Trump, including political figures such as Bernie Sanders or John Kasich.

When all’s said and done, however, this way of choosing our President can still seem confusing, since Hillary Clinton has won the popular vote—the people’s vote—and yet Donald Trump will be sworn into office on January 20, 2017.  If you stand with Donald Trump, this way of electing a President has been in your favor, but others have been let down. Of course, every vote still matters immensely, but this year we have seen how important the electoral college truly is—and why we should really be thinking of eliminating it if we want to call ourselves a democracy.