Hillary Clinton’s Popular Vote Lead Doesn’t Really Mean What You Think It Means

A lot is being made of the results of the 2016 Presidential Election.  Donald Trump won in the all-important Electoral College with a bit of room to spare, but it appears that Hillary Clinton will sit on top of the popular vote in the nation when all is said and done.  It is not significant in that it won’t alter the results of the election, but it is significant in what it means:  more people voted for Hillary Clinton than voted for Donald Trump.

This has happened before, and not all that long ago.  Remember Bush and Gore?  That was a very controversial election result as well, and the same thing happened to the Democrats there.  Gore had more votes nationally, but not in the right places.  Now, there is a raging debate over whether the Electoral College even makes sense or whether it is antiquated, but that’s not what we are discussing in this article.  We at Common Sense Conspiracy are looking to defuse some of the claims surrounding the popular vote total and what proponents of Clinton are trying to do with it.

The popular vote is interesting.  It is important as we said above.  But you can’t take the popular vote and make it applicable and have any real gauge on what the American people thought.  Yes, even if the Electoral College defects based on the popular vote excuse and decides to hand the presidency to Hillary Clinton, they are using faulty logic.  Here’s the thing.  The election played out by the rules in place at the time.  The popular vote is interesting to look at, but the reality is that if the popular vote had the weight of the Electoral College, the entire campaign would have played out differently.

If the popular vote was the way this was done, both candidates would have campaigned from completely different viewpoints.  For one thing, neither candidate would have been concerned with sparsely populated states at all (which is the whole purpose of the college to begin with) because whichever one dominated a handful of big cities would win easily.  Also, how many people that didn’t vote would have turned out in a popular vote situation?  Many, many people don’t vote for President because they know which way their state is going to go.  Alabama is a great example of this.  Trump won by huge numbers there, and the Republican candidate has for years.  Anyone who wanted Trump to win could stay home and it would still happen.  Anyone who wanted Hillary to win could stay home and it still wasn’t going to happen.  If the popular vote were decisive, many more people in that state would have probably got out to vote, and not necessarily just for one side or the other.

Can a good, solid argument be made that we should use the popular vote as our means of picking our leaders rather than the Electoral College system?  Absolutely, and we at Common Sense Conspiracy have routinely advocated for just that over the years.  However, until such a system is in place, the popular vote doesn’t give you an overarching view of which candidate would have won if that system were in place at the time of the election.  It could mean that Hillary gets millions more votes.  It could mean that Donald does too and the election is even closer than it was.  It could even mean that people in rural areas stop voting because they now feel like their vote doesn’t count.  Until such a system is in place, and all of the new strategies that would therefore adapt to it come into existence, we simply can’t read anything into a popular vote result, especially one as close as this one.