People Angry Because Hillary Clinton Won the Popular Vote: Pump the Breaks

It seems a central narrative for a lot of Hillary Clinton’s supporters, even on this blog, is that Donald Trump lost the popular vote and therefore is not legitimately the president-elect.

Notwithstanding the legal reality that, for better or worse, the Electoral College is part and parcel to the Supreme Law of the Land (see Article II, Clauses 2 and 3), these complaints may not even reflect the truth of the matter.

As of this writing, the Associated Press is reporting that Hillary Clinton has won the popular vote by a slim 671,246 votes, a margin of just 0.05% of the total votes currently accounted for.  But, as Steve Feinstein of American Thinker correctly (and inconveniently for some) notes, there is a very substantive difference between securing the most votes counted and securing the most votes actually cast.

“States don’t [necessarily] count their absentee ballots unless the number of outstanding absentee ballots is larger than the state margin of difference.”  This may or may not be true, but as of this writing all of the votes cast in this election have nonetheless not yet been counted.  This means a substantial portion of the states may not have fully tallied their final votes for the general election yet, given that Trump is already deemed “first past the post.”

“The historical breakout for absentee ballots is about 67-33% Republican,” owing in no small part to the traditionally Right-leaning military members who are stationed overseas or in a state other than wherein they are legal residents.  When all these absentee ballots are actually counted a very different electoral landscape could feasibly emerge.

And this does not even take into account the fledgling reports that rather large numbers of Clinton votes are of suspect legality.

Additionally, people who are invoking the call to respect “democracy” are grossly misled as to the constitutional nature of the federal government’s charter for existence and operation in this nation.  The United States is (or, at least, is supposed to be) a federal republic, as opposed to a true democracy (see Article IV, Section 4).  The Electoral College is specifically designed – again, regardless of whether one agrees or not – to mitigate the ability of a few states to dominate federal governance over the rest.  Again, this is the Supreme Law of the Land and the only ethical, peaceful, and legal way to change this legal reality is through the constitutional amendment process pursuant to Article V.

de·moc·ra·cy (dĭ-mŏk′rə-sē)

  1. pl. de·moc·ra·cies
  2. Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives.
  3. A political or social unit that has such a government.
  4. The common people, considered as the primary source of political power.
  5. Majority rule.
  6. The principles of social equality and respect for the individual within a community.

fed·er·al·ism (fĕd′ər-ə-lĭz′əm, fĕd′rə-) n.

  1. A system of government in which power is divided between a central authority and constituent political units.

 re·pub·lic (rĭ-pŭb′lĭk) n.

  1. A political order whose head of state is not a monarch and in modern times is usually a president.
  2. A nation that has such a political order.
  3. A political order in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who are entitled to vote for officers and representatives responsible to them.
  4. A nation that has such a political order.

Further, such appeals to democracy are not only inaccurately applied in this case – they are arbitrarily fallacious.  Neither candidate (as of this writing) has empirically won a majority of the counted votes, a minimal definitional premise of commonly understood democratic principles.  By this understanding, if Trump cannot claim legitimacy than neither can Clinton.  (And it is quite difficult to figure that a significant proportion of Gary Johnson’s or Jill Stein’s votes would have gone to Clinton to help her toward a true majority).

Indeed, only a minority of the population even bothered to show up to vote, so even if Clinton (or Trump) would have won 100% of those votes cast, it still would not actually reflect a real majority of the country – hardly a truly democratic outcome.

If we are going to all of the sudden invalidate Trump’s legal victory on the basis that he (presumably) did not win the popular vote, then obviously Clinton’s supporters would agree that Barack Obama’s reign as president was invalid and illegitimate as well, right?  After all, he failed to garner a majority or plurality of the popular votes cast during the 2008 Democratic presidential primary.

The bottom line is that both candidates showed up to the “game” fully understanding the rules of the contest.  Both candidates were more than willing to accept the results of the Electoral College if it meant a victory for them.  Voters signaled their acceptance, at the very least, of this system by participating in it (similarly to how you accept the rules of use for software or social media when you engage in their use).  Like the respective candidates themselves, voters cannot now cry “unfairness” or “illegitimacy” now that their favored candidate did not succeed under these rules.  This is the epitome of the “moving the goalposts” fallacy and is metaphorically akin to trying to invalidate your victorious opponents’ 3-pointers because s/he turned out to be a better long-distance shooter than you.

If one wanted to change the rules of the contest, it should have occurred well before November 8th, 2016.  Trying to do so now conveys zero credibility.  Even the corrupted mainstream media is willing to admit that had the presidency been run under different rules – namely, a popular majority (or at least plurality) rules format – this is no guarantee the outcomes would have been the same.  The candidates would have no doubt altered their campaign strategies in the face of these different rules, so assuming a result from that different format based on the current format’s outcome is also fundamentally fallacious by nature.

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