Donald Trump Responds to Hillary Clinton Winning the Popular Vote

November 15th 2016

Tricia Tongco

While Hillary Clinton's supporters have been touting her victory in the popular vote, President-elect Donald Trump wrote a tweet on Tuesday that was quite revealing.

Some people on social media responded with disbelief and criticism of the tweet:

The outcome of the election was ultimately dictated by the electoral college, not the popular vote.

A candidate must win the majority of electoral votes, or 270, in order to win the presidency. "All but two states use a plurality winner-take-all system to pick their presidential electors – whoever receives the most votes in a state wins all of its electoral votes, even if he or she got less than a majority of the popular vote," Pew Research explained.

When looking at where Trump focused his campaigning efforts it's clear his intention was to win the electoral vote, not the popular vote. According to NBC News, Trump significantly out-campaigned Clinton in critical battleground states:

"Over the final 100 days of the election, Trump made a total of 133 visits to Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Michigan and Wisconsin. Over the same time period, Hillary Clinton visited the first five of those states a total of 87 times. She never traveled to Wisconsin during the 102 days between the convention and the election."

Trump is arguing had he attempted to win voters in non-competitive states like California and New York, he could have easily made up the popular vote margin.

When it came to total dollars spent, Clinton's campaign heavily outspent Trump for advertisements in battleground states.

Bloomberg Politics detailed the difference between the candidates' advertising strategies:

Clinton and Priorities USA, the main super-PAC supporting her, followed President Barack Obama's 2012 strategy of blanketing the airwaves of battleground states all summer with ads. Trump's campaign, in contrast, only started spending heavily on ads after Labor Day, with most of the spending coming in the final weeks before Election Day.

Trump won the electoral votes in the swing states of Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Iowa and Wisconsin, which had flipped from supporting President Barack Obama in 2012.

In July, Trump's advisors told The New York Times that they didn't plan to match Clinton's advertisement spending but rather aim "Mr. Trump like a battering ram" at "smaller targets" for him to continue his message on "trade, terrorism and immigration." 

This story has been updated to include more analysis of Trump's campaign strategy.