The U.S. presidential elections, which have a peculiar format, are be conducted in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, with voters voting for electors of their respective states.
The electoral college comprise 538 electors (representing 100 senators at two per states and 438 representatives), and the split of these 438 numbers among states depends on the size of the population in the state. Electors, who are usually party insiders, have their task cut out for themselves as they are expected to vote for the presidential candidate of their party. Their job ends there.
The odd fact is that the winner of a state (the ones securing even the minutest of the majority) takes all electoral votes.
Ultimately, who emerges victorious should secure at least 50 percent, plus 1 of the electors.
The process brings up two winners, namely the winner of the electoral college and that of the popular vote, meaning votes made by qualified voters. Every qualified voter's vote a candidate secures beyond the one-vote margin to secure a state is superfluous and has no say in the final electoral college count.
In the recently concluded November 8 elections, Hillary Clinton had 10 million superfluous votes compared to Donald Trump's 8.3 million. In terms of popular votes, Clinton edged out Trump by 2.5 million votes.
History Of Popular Vote Losers, Election Winners
There have been five instances thus far an electoral college winner failed to win popular votes, with all the popular vote winners being Democratic candidates. Here are the years and the winners and losers of the elections when the popular vote wins failed to translate to electoral college wins.
Performance Of Those 5 Winners
- 1824: Andrew Jackson, the popular vote winning Democratic candidate lost out to John Quincy Adams.
- 1876: Democratic candidate Samuel Tilden, despite winning the popular votes was narrowly defeated in electoral college by Republican Rutherford Hayes.
- 1886: Democrat Grover Cleveland, winner of popular vote, lost out to Benjamin Harrison in terms of electoral college votes.
- 2000: Democrat Al Gore lost to Republican George Bush.
- 2016: Clinton lost to Trump, despite winning the popular vote.
With Trump set to assume reins in the New Year, here's a look at how the previous presidents who lost the popular vote fared during their tenure.
- Adams, who was the sixth president of the United States, was known for his efforts of modernizing the economy and promoting education. He paid off much of the national debt, thus making the nation less obligatory. From $16 million, the debt dropped to $5 million. He focused on internal improvements (especially infrastructure) and favored high tariffs to encourage building factories.
- Hayes was the 19th president of the United States and served between 1877 and 1881. He was credited with the supervision of reconstruction that followed the American Civil War between 1861 and 1865 and the initiation of efforts that led to civil service reform. He ruthlessly clamped down on the Great Railroad strike of 1877. Although losing the popular vote in the elections, he was credited with restoring popular faith in the presidency.
- Harrison, who served between 1889 and 1893 and was the 23rd president, was credited with unprecedented economic legislation during his tenure. The federal spending reached 1 billion dollars for the first time during his term, mainly due to surplus from tariffs. These proved to be his undoing, given the public opposition.
- Bush's tenure was one of turbulence, with the September 11 terrorist attacks, the Afghan war in 2001 and Iraq War in 2003 marring his tenure. The GDP growth picked up during his tenure, peaking to 6.52 percent in 2005 before slipping back. The economic recession of 2008 saw the growth rate dipping into negative terrain.
Going with the recent electoral vote-popular vote anomaly, the economy could be facing testing times. The previous instances occurred in a different century and might not be worth considering for drawing parallels.
At time of writing, the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust SPY was up 0.05 percent at 221.12.
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