Why Hillary Wouldn't Have Won Under the Popular Vote System, Either
Let me make a bold statement: There is a reasonable chance that Hillary Clinton would not have won under a "popular vote" system, even though it seems clear that she currently has about two million more votes than President-elect Donald Trump. That's because the “popular vote” the media keeps talking about is not representative of what the popular vote would actually look like without the Electoral College. In fact, I believe that the Electoral College is actually skewing the “popular vote” in favor of Democrats.
My belief that Trump would have received more votes under a true popular vote scenario comes as the result of comparing two states: California and Ohio. California has the single biggest bloc of voters in the United States by a very wide margin. According to the Los Angeles Times, there are more registered voters in California than the population of 46 other states. So the California vote would have a major impact on the outcome of the popular vote in a popular vote scenario. We also have Ohio, a critical swing state for the Electoral College. Presidential candidates currently campaign hard in Ohio, as the population is nearly evenly split in their political preferences and their electoral votes often push a candidate over the top. With California and Ohio as measuring sticks, let us look at some of the hard numbers.
There are 8,029,130 registered Democrats versus 4,888,771 registered Republicans in the Golden State, according to the secretary of state of California. As a percentage of eligible voters, that comes out to 44.8% to 27.3% respectively, a difference of 17.5%. However, Clinton won the state by 28.3%, a very significant difference from voter registration.
This discrepancy in voter registration versus actual voter turnout would suggest that there were many Republicans who simply did not turn out to vote. And they had good reason to skip Election Day. Under the Electoral College system, if you are a Republican in California, why bother to vote? California’s 55 electoral votes are going blue whether or not you cast a ballot.
The Democrat turnout, however, will still be high, even if the assumption is that their candidate will win. Why? One reason is that people want to support a perceived winner rather than an expected loser. The difference in registration and turnout percentages seems to show that in a true popular vote scenario, Trump would have, at minimum, gained hundreds of thousands of extra votes from California.
When we bring Ohio into the mix, the data start to really tell the story of how the popular vote is skewed by the Electoral College system.