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Posted on December 19, 2016
The final numbers from the presidential election show that Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s impressive popular vote victory can be attributed to one state: California.
Clinton’s lead in the popular vote was over 2.8 million votes, giving her a 48% share of the vote compared with Trumps 46%.
While Clinton’s overall margin looks impressive, it is due to Clinton’s margin of victory in California where she received 4.3 million more votes than Trump.
But California is the exception that proves the purpose of the Electoral College, which was incorporated into the US Constitution to prevent large states from dominating national elections.
In recent years, Republicans have been losing serious ground to Democrats in California. Between 2008 and 2016, the number of registered Democrats climbed by 1.1 million, while the number of registered Republicans decreased by approximately 400,000.
Additionally, electoral competition in California is withering away.
There were two Democrats, and no Republicans, running to replace Sen. Barbara Boxer. There were no Republicans on the ballot for House seats in nine of California’s congressional districts.
At the state level, six districts had no Republicans running for the state senate, and 16 districts had no Republicans running for state assembly seats.
Plus, since Republicans knew Clinton was going to win the state — and its entire 55 electoral votes — casting a ballot for Trump was virtually meaningless, since no matter what her margin of victory, Clinton was getting all 55 votes.
If you take California out of the popular vote equation, then Trump wins the rest of the country by 1.4 million votes. And if California voted like every other Democratic state — where Clinton averaged 53.5% wins — Clinton and Trump end up in a virtual popular vote tie. (This was not the case in 2012. Obama beat Romney by 2 million votes that year, not counting California.)
Listed below are other measures of the presidential election.
Number of states won:
Number of electoral votes won:
Trump: + 68
Ave. margin of victory in winning states:
Trump: + 2.5 points
Popular vote total:
Clinton: + 2.8 million
Popular vote total outside California:
Trump: + 1.4 million