Donald Trump is set to be sworn in next month as the 45th president of the United States, despite garnering almost 3 million fewer votes than his challenger.
With the presidential election results now certified in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., Hillary Clinton won a total of 65,844,610 votes ― 48.2 percent ― compared with Trump’s 62,979,636 votes ― 46.1 percent ― according to David Wasserman of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. Other candidates took 7,804,213 ballots, or about 5.7 percent of the popular vote.
Clinton’s margin of victory in the popular vote is the largest in raw numbers for any candidate who has gone on to lose in the Electoral College. Her margin of victory is almost six times larger than that of Democrat Al Gore, whose popular vote win in 2000 is now the second-largest in this category. Gore received about 500,000 more votes than Republican George W. Bush, but came up short in the Electoral College after a hotly contested race in Florida.
Trump’s substantial deficit in the popular vote makes his margin by percentage of votes the third-worst among winning candidates since 1824 (when the popular vote was first officially recorded), according to an analysis by The New York Times published earlier this week.
Thanks to the Electoral College, none of this matters. Trump won 306 electoral votes to Clinton’s 232 on Election Day, securing him a comfortable victory last month. Although many of Trump’s opponents had spent the past few weeks trying to figure out how they could deny the real estate mogul a path to the White House, the Electoral College on Monday further secured his win.
A total of 304 electors cast their votes in favor of the GOP nominee, meaning just two Republican electors defected. Some 227 cast their presidential ballots for Clinton, with five Democratic electors switching their vote. Those seven defecting electors voted for other candidates.
Trump’s team has tried to deflect focus away from the popular vote over the past month, with Trump himself even mentioning what he referred to as a “massive landslide victory” in the Electoral College. PolitiFact ruled that claim “false,” noting that Trump’s win ranks near the bottom in terms of the portion of total available electoral votes won by a candidate.