In last week's election, Hillary Clinton received more votes for president than any candidate not named Obama ever. Hillary Clinton received more votes for president than any Republican candidate ever. Hillary Clinton received more votes for president than any white male candidate ever. Hillary Clinton received over 1.5 million more votes than Donald Trump, and that number continues to rise. She lost the election because of the arcane and undemocratic Electoral College—and while the rules are the rules, her margin of defeat under those arcane and undemocratic rules was miniscule.
Votes are still being counted, but in the three states that determined the election night outcome, Clinton trails by a combined total of just over 100,000 votes. In Michigan, which hasn't yet been called by the news services, she trails by less than two-and-a-half votes per precinct. In other words, if an average of just two people per precinct had switches their votes to her, Clinton would have won. In Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, she'd have won if an average of just four people per precinct had switched their votes.
Clinton won the national electorate by well more than 1.5 million votes, she received more votes than any candidate in history save one, but she lost the election by squeakers in three states, where an average of just a handful of voters per precinct made the difference. Donald Trump was right when he said that the election was rigged—but it was rigged in his favor. Electoral college notwithstanding, this was no rejection of Clinton the candidate or the Democratic agenda. This was no mandate for Trump. Mandate winners have coattails, sweeping their parties to gains in both the House and Senate. Not only did Trump fail to have coattails, but it was Clinton, the national popular vote winner, whose party picked up seats in both the House and Senate.
Clinton had a lot working against her, including not yet fully investigated Russian hacking of the election, an unprecedented politicization of the FBI by its director, James Comey, and a media that was incompetent if not outright hostile. She also was trying to break through a glass ceiling that, with all else working against her, proved just too tough to shatter. But don't let anyone say she was a failed candidate. Don't let anyone say she or her political agenda were rejected. The rules are the rules, but if this were a democracy, she would be the president-elect.
The Democrats in Congress and Democratic voters nationwide owe Trump recognition when he is sworn in as president, but they owe nothing to his extremist agenda. The voters did not embrace it. In fact, although turnout overall was relatively high, it was as usual in the United States shockingly low, and of all eligible votes Trump received roughly one-quarter of them. Roughly three-fourths of all eligible voters did not vote for Trump. Roughly three-fourths of all eligible voters did not embrace his candidacy or his agenda. As we move forward, we must always be conscious of that. As we move forward, we must make sure that everyone remains conscious of it. We must take heart in it. We must feel empowered by it in our opposition. Donald Trump is a historically unpopular incoming president.
Over 1.5 million more voters embraced Hillary Clinton's candidacy than Donald Trump's. Over 1.5 million more voters embraced Hillary Clinton's agenda than Donald Trump's. By the arcane, undemocratic rules, Trump gets to claim the presidency, but he does not get to claim a mandate, and he does not get to claim an embrace of his extremist agenda. Republicans who claim otherwise are hypocrites. President Obama won two legitimate mandate elections, receiving more votes than any candidate in history while gaining seats in both houses of Congress, yet from day one Republicans fought him every step of the way. After a historically close election, they don’t get to claim that Democrats must comply with agendas the voters did not validate.
After Obama’s first resounding mandate victory, Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell said his number one goal was to make Obama a one-term president. Despite Obama twice receiving more votes than any other candidate in history, while both times picking up seats in both houses of Congress, Republican obstructionism of the Obama agenda was without precedent. Republicans refusing even to give a hearing to Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, also was without precedent. Republicans and their mouthpieces in the media may now claim Democrats must give Trump a chance to enact his vision, but any who do are hypocrites, and they are ignoring the actual results of last week's election.
While the results and the rules let Donald Trump claim the presidency (and Hillary Clinton graciously conceded even while Trump had indicated he might not), the results also give Democrats every reason to fight the Trump agenda when it's not in accord with their vision of what is best for the country. The results give all people of conscience every reason to fight the Trump agenda when it doesn't accord with their vision of what is best for the country. And given the dangerous extremism of that agenda, fight they must.
No giving in. No giving up. Because the American electorate gave them a mandate to fight.