Hillary wins the popular vote but Trump wins the electoral college and the Presidency: Shocking surprise outcome for most Americans and observers

Well forgive me if I state ‘I told you so” but as I was not shocked by the result in the Presidential election. I knew a close race and a narrow Trump victory was a definite possibility. Indeed, I wrote about it several times on this website over the past few weeks.I knew that if one properly interpreted the polls,understood that with all polls there is a confidence interval where typically one time out of twenty the poll result is absolutely wrong outside the margin of error, their methodological problems where they use on line panels, and was aware of how the media misunderstood them and polling in general,the race was open to either side to win.I was surprised however that Trump won Pennsylvania.
Also apart from the polls there was the political reality that many people in the US electorate were highly open to a populist message on the unfair and uneven distribution of benefits and costs that flowed from the centrist globalization strategy that coupled with a heavy dose of identity politics dominated the political discourse of the establishment. By disparaging the politically incorrect and pushing their agenda in the culture wars further and faster than need be they risked a backlash.

One must never forget the lessons of Weimar and the deep seated psychological needs of mass public opinion which makes a large chunk of the population always susceptible to a populist right wing nationalist appeal, particularly when times are tough. Hillary Clinton’s team appeared to privilege identity politics and character issues over economic issues at a time when economic issues were still very front and centre after the crash of 2008.

In addition it has to be said Hillary Clinton narrowly won the popular vote. Donald Trump finished a close second with over 200,000 fewer votes out of the 123 million votes cast.(As of Nov.23, the gap has grown to over 2 million votes fewer , see below) But because of the archaic institution of the electoral college for the second time in the past sixty years the second place finisher won the presidency.Donald Trump was gracious in victory and seemed to me to be more humble than usual as the realization of the monumental achievement he and his supporters had wrought began to dawn on him. He made what I hope was a sincere invitation to all Americans, no matter whether they had voted for him or not to favour him with their advice and suggestions . I hope Americans take him at his word and he and his opponents can leave behind the divisive rancor of the campaign.
If Mr Trump is serious about rebuilding America’s infrastructure and restoring more prosperity and fairer trade then he should be encouraged. The proposal of Mrs.Clinton was too small given the size of the American economy. The program needs to be much larger. President Obama accomplished many good things and the American economy was slowly healing under his leadership. Mr Trump can accelerate those developments with the proper mix of monetary and fiscal policy and QE and trade reforms.Let us hope that is where he focuses his attention. In Canada we shall have to pay very close attention and adjust our trade and employment and infrastructure strategy accordingly.

As of November 13 Hillary Clinton leads the popular vote count by over 750,000 votes with still more votes to be counted in California, Washington and New York . Clinton has 61,389,633 votes to Trump’s 60,626,853 votes so far counted. The Libertarians, Greens and other candidates have a total of 6,693,023 votes.source David Wasserman@Redistrict, Cook Political Report

Update on popular vote count: As of November 22,2016 the vote count shows a 1.7 million vote advantage for Hillary Clinton.She has 63,759,985 votes . Donald Trump 62,005,118 votes. Others have 7,087,495 votes. It appears that she lost Michigan by 11,712 votes, Wisconsin by 27,257 votes and Pennsylvania by 67,952 votes. She won 48.0% of overall votes. Trump 46.7% others 5.3% . That margin was however reversed in the 13 swing states that decided the election in the electoral college. In these states Trump got 48.5 % Clinton 46.6 % others 4.9 %. In the non swing states she got 48.7 % , Trump 45.7 % and others 5.5% Source: David Wasserman@Redistrict, Cook political report.

Update Nov. 23, 2016 As of today Hillary Clinton has a lead of over 2 million votes over Donald Trump in the popular vote. She has 64,227,373 votes .He has 62,212,752 votes and the gap in Michigan has now narrowed to just 9528 votes in Trump’s favour.The gap in Wisconsin has also narrowed to 22,525 votes but widened to 69,741 votes in Pennsylvania.

Update Dec 4,2016 popular vote totals : Hilary Clinton 65,316,724 votes a Clinton lead of 2,597,156 votes over Donald Trump 62,719,568 votes. Trump leads in Wisconsin by 22,177 votes; in Michigan by 10,604 votes and in Pennsylvania by 46,765 votes.


About haroldchorneyeconomist

I am Professor of political economy at Concordia university in Montréal, Québec, Canada. I received my B.A.Hons (econ.&poli sci) from the University of Manitoba. I also completed my M.A. degree in economics there. Went on to spend two years at the London School of Economics as a Ph.D. student in economics and then completed my Ph.D. in political economy at the University of Toronto. Was named a John W.Dafoe fellow, a CMHC fellow and a Canada Council fellow. I also was named a Woodrow Wilson fellow in 1968 after completing my first class honours undergraduate degree. Worked as an economist in the area of education, labour economics and as the senior economist with the Manitoba Housing and Renewal Corporation for the Government of Manitoba from 1972 to 1978. I also have worked as an economic consultant for MDT socio-economic consultants and have been consulted on urban planning, health policy, linguistic duality and public sector finance questions by the governments of Manitoba, Saskatchewan,the cities of Regina and Saskatoon, Ontario and the Federal government of Canada. I have also been consulted by senior leaders of the British Labour party, MPs from the Progressive Conservative party, the Liberal party and the New Democrats on economic policy questions. Members of the Government of France under the Presidency of Francois Mitterand discussed my work on public sector deficits. I have also run for elected office at the municipal level. I first began to write about quantitative easing as a useful policy option during the early 1980s.
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