Analysis of Popular Vote in the 2016 Presidential Election

2016 Presidential candidates

So, on closer examination, it turns out that no single candidate won the popular vote during the 2016 presidential election.  I kind of knew that right after the election but since then the mainstream media and Democratic Party have caused confusion with the perpetual and hysterical drumbeat claiming that Mrs. Clinton won the popular vote and that had it not been for the Electoral College (i.e., our federalist system), she would have won the election as well.  The Electoral College does require a majority (more than 50%) but does not tie it to the popular vote.  No real federal system does.

Many non-federal countries with presidential systems as opposed to parliaments elect their chief executives via popular vote but almost always require a majority vote obtainable in a two round system between the two highest vote recipients.  The Republic of Colombia has such a system and as a political analyst there I’ve been asked to predict final results after the first round during the past two presidential elections.  I’ve done so pretty accurately (to within one tenth of a percent) despite having less expertise in detailed Colombian politics than most (my expertise is much more oriented towards the United States).  I do so on the basis of analyzing the results of the political groupings after the first round by philosophical orientation (where possible) and principle issue (not principle issues).

Looking at the actual results of the 2016 United States presidential election as if it had been a first round, after self-pity and disgust at the success of lesser evil voting that so favored the GOP and Democratic candidates my predictions for the second round would have been as follows and for the following reasons:  Mr. Trump would have won a close second round election based on consolidation of the first round votes on the philosophy-principal issue criteria.  I round up third party voters as a block assuming that the defections would have been proportional.  Mrs. Clinton would have received her Democratic votes plus Green Party votes (67,310,878 votes).  Mr. Trump would have received his votes plus Libertarian and Independent Party votes (68,206,361).  I ignore write-ins and others, assuming either non votes or an even split.  On that basis, Mr. Trump would have won by 50.33% of the vote.  The following table provides the data on which the foregoing is based:

Popular Vote
Donald J. Trump Republican 62,985,134 45.93%
Hillary Clinton Democratic 65,853,652 48.02%
Gary Johnson Libertarian 4,489,235 3.27%
Dr. Jill Stein Green 1,457,226 1.06%
Evan McMullin Independent 731,992 0.53%
Write-ins 1,154,365 0.84%  
Other (+) 453,880 0.33%
Total 137,125,484  

Of course, all future predictions, especially utterly hypothetical ones, are at most educated guesses and based on the foregoing data you can arrive at your own analysis based on your own premises or more likely predisposition and inclinations.  In evaluating my analysis it is probably important to understand my own leanings which were as follows:  I voted for Green Party candidate Jill Stein and my second choice would have been for the Libertarian Party candidates, both of whom had significant and very positive governing experience.  After that it would have been nightmarish and I might have abstained.  To me, the Clintons represent corruption and hypocrisy, Mr. Trump is boorish (although I did like his postures against foreign intervention and rapprochement) and I knew very little about Mr. McMullin other than that he was an extreme conservative.

With reference to allegations of foreign interference and vote tampering I note that the only evidence of vote tampering (and there was plenty) involved the Democratic primaries.  As far as foreign intervention and cyber-attacks, two different issues, I note that allegations of potential cyber-attacks have been made by many of us (not limited to Russia but with respect to many potential sources, most domestic), but that our comments concerning the weakness of our electronic voting equipment have been ridiculed consistently by the mainstream media and major political parties (until now of course).  It’s interesting that our concerns were formerly labelled as “conspiracy theories” while our current observations concerning the lack of evidence of actual tampering with vote tallies (by the “evil” Russians) now bears the identical label.

I also note that allegations of foreign interference and cyber tampering were raised during the 2012 elections but conveniently and utterly ignored (the GOP candidate in that election was the one opposed by the Russians).  More importantly I note that when one country claims the right to lead the world then the entire world has a legitimate interest in impacting that country’s political elections.  It has always been that way (consider the AIPAC formal interviews of US candidates as well as coverage and support for candidates by other countries, something the Clinton campaign bragged about and which the mainstream media and Congressional Democrats then lauded).  In a globalized world with transnational media, formal as well as social “meddling is not only to be expected but reasonable.  If we don’t like it then let’s stay out of other countries’ affairs so that they need not have legitimate interests in ours.

So, … the results of the 2016 are a fact but those who demanded pledges to accept them beforehand have repudiated such pledges and seek a “soft” overthrow of the results (as if anything about an overthrow would be other than cataclysmic).  Soon, science fiction and fantasy authors will whip up fascinating alternative histories featuring the endings they and their readers might have preferred, as democracy and truth continue their slide into irrelevancy.

Not that the foregoing has a great deal of relevance other than putting some of the attempts at delegitimizing the 2016 elections in context.  For many of us, legitimate elections in the United States have been a duopolistic fantasy, but even for us, what is happening now is bizarre (and not in a fun way).

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2017; all rights reserved

Guillermo Calvo Mahé is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia.  Until recently he chaired the Political Science, Government and International Relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He has academic degrees in political science, law, international legal studies and translation studies and can be contacted at  Much of his writing is available through his blog at

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