The people wonder that how can an American presidential candidate still lose the presidency after securing the majority of votes. The people ask this question since 2016 presidential election defeat of Hillary Clinton after getting the majority of 2.9 million popular votes.
But Trump got more electoral votes than Hillary. Trump got 306 electoral votes while Hillary could manage to win only 232 electoral votes. Trump won nearly 06 small states with dozens of electoral votes with the narrow margins. It helped the Trump to secure required electoral votes despite losing to Hillary in popular votes with a wide margin.
This result raised questions on electoral system. The reason is that American presidential system is not straight forward as the French presidential election system. In France, a candidate needed to get more than 50% of the votes to win the presidency. If of none candidates failed to get 50% votes in the first round then two leading candidates contest in the second round to become president.
But in United States of America, it is not as straight forward. The winning candidate needed 270 electoral votes out of 538 total Electoral College votes. The people actually vote for electoral allocated to each state. The candidate who won popular votes in a state take away all the Electoral College votes in that particular state.
A state’s electoral votes are equal to the number of representatives and senators the state has in Congress. House seat apportionments are based on population and are reapportioned every decade after the census. Every state is guaranteed at least one seat in the House and two in the Senate.
The Electoral College is supposed to guarantee that populous states can’t dominate an election, but it also sets up a disparity in representation. While California has one electoral vote per 712,000 people, Wyoming — the least populous state in the country — has one electoral vote per 195,000 people.
Each state is allotted one elector for each U.S. representative and senator it has. Washington D.C. receives three electors, the same number of electors as the least populous state.
Mostly, electors are nominated at state party conventions and their names are given to the state’s election official.
Voters in each state cast their ballot for the slate of electors representing their choice of presidential ticket. Electors’ names do not usually appear on the ballot.
The slate of electors for the presidential ticket that receives the most votes is appointed and all of the electoral votes for that state go to those candidates (Except in Maine and Nebraska, which each give two at-large delegates to whoever wins the state and the rest to whoever wins in each congressional district.)
A candidate needs to win a majority of 538 electoral votes — 270 — to be elected president. If no candidate wins a majority of electoral votes, the House chooses the president and the Senate chooses the vice president.
In December, in a largely ceremonial gesture, the electors cast ballots for president and vice president and are expected to follow the popular vote of their state. The votes are counted at a joint session of Congress, and the president is officially elected.
When voters casts their ballot for candidate A to elect that presidential ticket to the Whitehouse they are in actuality casting their vote for a ‘slate of electors’ that have promised to vote for ticket A.
And in most states the Electoral College votes are not proportionally distributed to the candidate’s tickets based on what proportion of people vote for one ticket or another. The Electoral College is a winner-take-all system: Maine and Nebraska are the only exceptions to this rule of ‘winner-take-all’.
The number of ‘electors’ that each state has is essentially the number of State House Representatives the state has — which is calculated according to the population of the state in question, plus it’s two Senators — all ‘states’ have two Senators.
Several examples are: California, being a large and populous state has 53 House Representatives, plus two Senators so California has a total of 55 electoral college votes Louisiana has 7 House Representatives and 2 Senators and consequently has 9 electoral college votes Texas has 32 State House Representatives and two Senators so it has 34 electoral college votes.
Florida has 25 State House Representatives and two Senators that gives Florida 27 electoral college votes. Nebraska and Maine, as mentioned, are the two exceptions.
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