How Trump Won the Electoral College Despite Clinton Likely Gaining the Popular Vote

Donald Trump is the president-elect, but not because he won the popular vote.

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At the time of writing, Hillary Clinton has a popular vote lead of about 150,000 votes. While that would make her the new president in just about every liberal democratic jurisdiction, that's not true in the U.S., which uses a system called the Electoral College.

Under this system, citizens vote for electors, who have the authority, though rarely used, to select a different candidate than the one their state voted for. These electors decide who becomes the president.

“America has a lousy, messed-up election system, and we count votes really slow. What will turn out to be the reality, because at least a third of the California vote is still uncounted—it looks to be, when I look at those numbers—is that Hillary Clinton will actually beat Donald Trump by perhaps the largest margin that any loser beat a winner by in the popular vote,” John Nichols, a political writer for The Nation, told Democracy Now!

He continued: “We should begin with that, not to comfort ourselves overly much, but to recognize that we have had a result that is a product of an election system that is a mess and that was designed a very long time ago to produce results that didn’t necessarily reflect the popular will. For those of us who are unsettled by Donald Trump’s election, that’s an important beginning point.”

Interestingly, Trump himself called the Electoral College a “sham.” In 2012, after mistakenly believing that then-GOP nominee Mitt Romney had won the Electoral College while losing the popular vote, he called the system “a sham and a travesty,” and encouraged a revolution against it.

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Eight years later, that self-professed corrupt system allowed him to be elected the U.S.’ 45th president.