No, the popular vote doesn’t decide the winner of the presidential election, and yes, Donald Trump will be our next president.
The popular vote does, however, indicate how many people support the policies and proposals of each candidate. It’s a measure of, shockingly enough, a candidate’s popularity. Conservatives and Republicans (they’re not remotely the same thing) have a vested interest in pushing the narrative that the popular vote totals don’t count because of lame and nonsensical arguments that try to paint the states that voted for Trump as unanimous in their love of him. They know that the popular vote count is important for one thing, and one thing above all others.
The idea of a mandate is that in a country like ours, when a candidate wins an election in truly convincing fashion, the will of the people can’t be denied, and the opposing party should gracefully cede control. If you have a mandate as a president, you can use your bully pulpit to create upward pressure from the plebs on their elected officials and can get more of your agenda through the legislative mine field that is congress.
Donald Trump has no mandate. He won the election, there can be no doubt about that. But he lost the popular vote by the largest margin a winning president has ever lost it by. The fact is that losing the popular vote but winning the election really is a very rare occurrence, even though the Republicans have absolutely needed the Electoral College for the entire 21st century, not counting 2004 when they wouldn’t have been the incumbent without it. But what that means is that we don’t usually have to focus so much on whether a candidate has a mandate or not, because most of the time the president is the person the most American citizens — not the most amount of territory or land — votes for.
A lot of people are nervous about the Trump years. I can’t blame them. If you’re not a white, conservative, evangelical Christian, there isn’t much on Trump’s agenda and policy proposal webpage to give you a lot of hope for how things are going to work the next four years. But the popular vote should be our shining beacon of truth in a sea of bullshit talking points about “real Americans” or “rural America versus urban America.” The simple fact is that more human beings — the same human beings whose right it is to vote in the first place — voted for Hillary Clinton than Trump, but beyond Hillary, you have another 10 million votes that were cast for someone other than Trump.
This is the key to stopping Trump in his tracks — remembering that we are the bigger group. We do, in fact, represent the largest group of Americans who voted in the last election. Trump does not. Trump may get to steer the ship, but we, the people, are still the navigators. So if you want to stop Trump, if you want to stymie the Tangerine Totalitarian, you need to speak up. You need to steel your resolve. You need to own and accept the fact that he may have won, but he didn’t win the most votes, and we therefore have the loudest voice.
Or, rather, we have the largest voice if we choose to use it.
Trump’s margin of victory isn’t a landslide in the Electoral College, and he lost the popular vote. If just 80,000 people in about three states –out of the 130 million+ that voted — had chosen Hillary instead, we wouldn’t even be talking about any of this. They may call us snowflakes, but in doing so they’re missing a very important fact about snowflakes — they multiply quickly and cause great upheaval and change when they do.
If you want to stop Trump, you have to be willing to bind together with your other, fellow snowflakes. Form a snowball. Form a blizzard. Form a full-blown avalanche and deluge the White House and Congress with phone calls and emails about not wanting Trump’s proposals. We are not powerless. We are not outnumbered. The opposite is painfully, glaringly true, and Trump knows it.
That’s why he’s trying so hard to downplay his popular vote shellacking. It’s why he’s trying to cast doubt on legitimate news sources. He needs to create a false reality where he is the overwhelming choice for Americans to lead them. Math says otherwise. And we need to be unafraid to wield our numbers, or yes, we’ll be forgotten. We will be ignored, and our friends will suffer for our inability to find a fucking spine and engage it.
Every day, you should be tweeting Trump and reminding him he lost the popular vote. Every day you should be telling an elected official you disagree with Trump’s agenda. In every single avenue you can find, you need to make your voice heard. It’s about three million times more important that you do this if you live in a red state, because Trump Acolytes need to be made fully aware that they don’t live in some uber-Red bubble.
Speak up. That’s it, at the end of everything. Speak up. You have nothing to lose, and there is strength in numbers. Especially when those numbers add up to ten million more votes cast against Trump than for him. The next few years are going to be really hard, but they’ll be infinitely harder if we don’t harness and amplify our collected outrage, sorrow, grief, and consternation.
We are the majority, and we cannot afford to act like a cowed and servile minority.
Follow James on Twitter @JamboSchlarmbo.