I should start this off by saying that I actually don’t subscribe to the “not my president” shtick about Trump. I believe he is my president, not because I voted for him, but because him being my president makes him like every other president to every other American has been — my employee. That means I get to hold him accountable as a boss does with his direct report. I plan to spend however long his ego can handle the job being the fly in his ointment, and calling him my president gives me the intellectual headway I desire to be as ribald, blunt, irreverent and disrespectful as I can be, thanks to the beautiful First Amendment.
That being said, I came across a meme that perfectly distilled why people would choose to embrace the #NotMyPresident hashtag, and I thought I’d pass it along. The gist of it is really, quite simply, “math.” I keep hearing conservatives grouse about liberals grousing about Trump’s election, and refusing to accept him as their president, and conservatives keep calling liberals “snowflakes” or “whiners,” but let me reiterate — the reason I have a hard time accepting Trump isn’t that I’m a special snowflake who can’t handle losing. It’s because I’m a person who understands math.
More specifically, this math:Simple math shows us that well over 50% of the voting public didn’t choose Trump. Nearly 23% of the entire population voted against him. He doesn’t have a mandate, period.
Understand that I’m not trying to imply that these numbers mean Trump won’t or shouldn’t be president. I hate the Electoral College because twice this century it’s handed the presidency to an incompetent moron, and this second time around it could be much worse, but I won’t tell anyone we should change the rules of the contest ex post facto. But the Electoral College doesn’t make these numbers irrelevant either.
If I had a dime for every time I’ve been told by Trumpers since he won that “America rejected liberalism” or “real Americans refuted the Obama Doctrine” I really can’t help but laugh. Because in my head, these numbers keep flashing up in my head. You have to be incredibly delusional to be a Trump lover and think your guy got in on anything other than the Constitutional equivalent of the infield fly rule.
Trump lost to all other competitors in the popular vote count by about 12 million people. That’s more than the State of Michigan. It’s almost three times the size of Wisconsin, and it’s right around the population size of Pennsylvania. To put it another way, Trump lost by more people than two out of three states he relied on to get to his upset victory. So when he says things like he’d have won the popular vote if you threw out California, just remember that you saw these numbers and that he’d need to win more votes than two of those states have to offer to surpass all the other people who clearly did not want him to be president.
Honestly, what this number shows me is that 74 million Americans could make at least some claim to Trump not being their president. At the very least it shows 74 million Americans didn’t want him to be. That number wouldn’t matter, really, if Trump had gotten 75 million votes, or even 74, 074, 038 votes. But he didn’t. He got three million fewer than his closest competitor and double-digits millions less than all of them combined.
People who voted for Trump are entitled to crow about winning the election. I’m not disputing that. But what they really shouldn’t do, not if they don’t want to embarrass themselves, is push this false narrative that Trump was swept into power by a wave of popular support. He didn’t do anything remotely resembling that. He snuck into power by way of the Democrats’ hubris, probably more than a little help from Russian hackers, and an antiquated, undemocratic electoral device that has no business in the modern age.
The math doesn’t lie. Trump will be president of a country that, despite what Republicans tell you, by and large doesn’t want him to be president. In fact, rarely do you see election results that show quite so much obvious resistance to the eventual winner. We all know Trump counted on loyal Republicans holding their noses, but what these total popular vote count totals show is that very simply, he doesn’t have a mandate, he’ll never have a mandate, and by all rights he’ll be one and done…which means he’ll probably win two terms because I’m not a fortune teller, but you get my point.
The trick, I think, is going to be how the 74 million people who didn’t vote for Trump react. If those people remain stiffly opposed to his agenda, and if they raise their voice in unison as much as possible to protest anything he proposes that is clearly out of step with what the ACTUAL majority of American voters want, then we will not only survive the Trump Era, we will come out of it unified against the party who struck a cynical deal to install a naked, oligarchic emperor in exchange for four years behind the driver’s wheel.
The Republicans are going to keep insisting they’re the party of the people. But they’re not. They’re the party of the people who think their big, open fields and “rural” lifestyle should count for more than the human beings living their lives in “urban” areas. But it’s not like Trump won the swing states unanimously. He didn’t rack up such an epic shortfall of popular votes because one state or another. 74 million people in fifty different states voted against him, and a good leader would recognize that, lead from the middle, and try to build a coalition.
Trump’s not a good leader though, so those 74 million Americans have a great opportunity to find a uniting force and drive the orange monstrosity out of the White House on a rail. If those 74 million people don’t unite, and if they don’t remain the vigilant opposition — which includes at the very least showing up for the mid-terms in two years — then we sort of get what we all deserve, don’t we?
Follow James on Twitter @JamboSchlarmbo.