Even as pundits and prognosticators rush to figure out why Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 United States Presidential election, asking whether she had the wrong message or she was simply the wrong candidate, they’re all overlooking one rather glaring detail: she didn’t quite lose. The factually accurate story is that although she got swallowed up in the most statistucally unlikely Electoral College mathematical college fluke in our nation’s history, she actually a million-plus votes nationwide more than her opponent. In fact Hillary got more votes in 2016 than nearly anyone who has ever run for U.S. President and won or lost.
With the final absentee and slow-reported ballots still being counted in certain states, the most recent tally from ABC News has Hillary Clinton ahead of Donald Trump by more than 1.5 million votes. With the majority of the remaining uncounted votes appearing to be in states that she won, that suggests that her winning margin could climb as high as two million votes or more.
Of course the five hundred and thirty-eight people in the 2016 Electoral College seem to think that doesn’t matter (except for a vocal few of them). But even as we wait to see if the Electors decide to do anything in the name of honoring the will of the majority of voters, it’s worth noting just how massive Hillary Clinton’s popular vote total was.
In fact, with Hillary Clinton now having 63,390,669 votes in the 2016 election (and counting), that means she’s received more votes than anyone who has ever run in any United States Presidential election – except for Barack Obama. He received a total of 65.4 million votes in 2012, and a total of 66.8 million votes in 2008.
Aside from Obama, no one has ever reached the 63.3 million and counting votes which Hillary Clinton has amassed in 2016. Donald Trump “defeated” her with a mere 61.8 million votes. Even if you look back at some of the biggest popular vote blowouts in U.S. history, you’ll find for instance that Ronald Reagan only received a total of 54.4 million votes in his 1984 landslide win. Yes, the United States population was lower at that time. But the upshot is this: Hillary Clinton won the 2016 election by what appears to be on track for a multimillion vote blowout victory – and no one has ever accomplished that feat and still been declared the loser. Nor has any white man ever gotten as many votes as Hillary Clinton got in her winning 2016 effort.
The Electoral College exists for a reason, though few can remember what it is. If it ends up handing the presidency to Donald Trump as expected when it formally casts its votes in December, that’s just how it goes. But if anyone tries to figure out where or how Hillary Clinton “went wrong” on her way to losing this election, they’re starting with a false premise. Not only did she win the 2016 vote, she dominated it, and she did so in historically popular fashion. It was simply taken away from her by a bizarre fluke, the likes of which we’ve never seen. She was the right candidate at the right time, with the right message and the right vision. And her dominant victory in popular voting proves it.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report