The Electoral College meets today in state capitols and the District of Columbia. You wouldn’t know it from all the fake news about the popular vote, but since 1804, the winner of the presidential election is the candidate who gets a majority of the electoral votes.
In the wake of Donald Trump’s shocking victory over Hillary Clinton, Hollywood celebrities have become, um, “experts” on the Electoral College.
Get over it, says Washington Post editorial writer Charles Lane:
Her 2.8 million popular-vote margin is one of the largest for the electoral-college loser in American history, or will be, once the electoral votes are officially cast on Monday. Still, it is fallacious to invoke this statistical byproduct of Nov. 8 to question the legitimacy of Trump’s victory — as opposed to that victory’s desirability, which is questionable indeed.
As all concerned knew going in, the object of the presidential election game is to win the most electoral votes in what are essentially 51 state-level contests (the District included), just as the object of football is to score the most points. Gridiron teams would play differently under instructions to maximize yardage; candidates would campaign differently if maximizing national popular votes were the prime directive.
Aiming for 270 electoral votes out of 538, both Clinton and Trump focused on 13 swing states; Trump won that contest-within-a-contest by 816,000 votes.
Today the Electoral College Class of 2016 – 306 Republicans and 232 Democrats – officially votes to elect Donald J. Trump as president. Hillary can claim her “Most Popular” trophy as she exits the stage.