Trump won the US presidency by winning the popular vote in the right states (like all other presidents), not the national popular vote. Unlike most presidents, he lost the popular vote, and won because the electoral college picks presidents somewhat close to the popular vote though by bigger margins most of the time. Let’s say Trump lost by 5-6 million votes and turnout was 67% of the VEP (it was 60% last time, that is not relevant other than context on size and percentage).

Note: this is NOT intended to be a projection/prediction, just a hypothetical like many of the other questions.

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    What do you mean by how easy? I’m pretty sure it’s possible, but any guess of how easy or likely it would be at this point is pure speculation
    – divibisan
    Commented Dec 26, 2019 at 21:57
  • What would it take/require Commented Dec 26, 2019 at 22:18
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    In theory, if Trump were to get zero votes from California and every other state remains as it was, he'd lose the popular vote by this much. But I'm not entirely clear what you're after here.
    – Joe C
    Commented Dec 26, 2019 at 23:48
  • I mean votes distributed throughout the states he lost by bigger margins and he lost state(s) that he lost narrowly, such as New Hampshire. Commented Dec 26, 2019 at 23:54
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    Related & interesting read: What is the most someone can lose the popular vote by but still win the electoral college?
    – Panda
    Commented Dec 27, 2019 at 10:32

1 Answer 1


One can win the Electoral Collage by taking the smallest 40 states by population and still win only 23% of the popular vote by the most narrow margins (all states decided by one vote). Conversely, you can win the Electoral Collage by taking the 11 largest states by population and still only win 26% of the popular vote (again, assuming all 11 states are decided by just one vote).

Naturally, this is highly unlikely as it requires a person to be just borderline passable in states that are not likely to have electorates that support the same candidate in such a contentious election. But it does speak to the the wide gulf between the popular and electoral college vote. Keep in mind, it's not about who wins the National popular vote, but who can win the most of 50 smaller popular votes.

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