Despite his victory in the Electoral College, Donald Trump appears to have trailed the overall popular vote. Although the vote has not been certified in all states, Trump is trailing Hillary Clinton by more than 300,000 overall total votes across the country.
Trump will likely become the fourth United States President to lose the popular vote and win the election through the electoral count. The last time this happened was in 2000 when George W. Bush beat Al Gore despite receiving 500,000 fewer votes (before that was when Benjamin Harrison won the presidential election over Grover Cleveland in 1888).
The Electoral College system is in place so that small states, like South Carolina, remain in the national spotlight during the elections. Clemson political science professor David Woodard saidd he thinks that the Electoral College worked exactly how the Founding Fathers intended in this election. “The electoral college is very sound,” he told South Carolina Radio Network. “It has worked generally in harmony with the popular vote though-out most of our history and when it is different, it’s still been able to give power to smaller states like South Carolina and the role the might play in national politics.”
Opponents to the electoral system claim that democratic values are in jeopardy because votes in some states are seemingly more important than the total popular vote. Greenville community activist Jack Logan wants to see a change on how the country selects its president. Logan wants the winner to be declared from the popular vote.
“The popular vote is the most important vote because the popular vote where each candidate go out and work so hard to get that individual to vote for them,” Logan said. He added that, because other states have more electoral votes, “we don’t have that much say in to who will be chosen for president.” Logan has contacted U.S. Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott to push for the change in the constitution.
But Woodard argues that, if the nation used the popular vote, small states like South Carolina would have an even more diminished role in the national election because, “500,000 people in Marin County [California] who vote Democratic should offset those people in South Carolina.”
“The Electoral College was installed by the founders for a reason and that is to dilute the effect of one very large and important state,” Woodard said. “If you had popular election, that one state could dominate the election cycle.”