Hillary Clinton lost the presidential election, but won the popular vote by 2% over Donald Trump, roughly in line with the popular margin George W. Bush enjoyed in his 2004 re-election campaign against John Kerry.
Does that matter?
As many of my conservative friends have pointed out, it doesn’t matter at all as far as who should be President. Contests have rules. If you don’t win the most games in the AL East, you don’t win the division; doesn’t matter if you scored more runs than the other teams and allowed fewer. That’s not how we decide who wins.
It doesn’t matter; but it does matter. If you actually want to know not just which team won the division, but which team is better at baseball, you do want to keep track of runs scored and runs allowed. Same thing if you want to make predictions about which team will win the division next time. Or to give good advice as to whether a team needs to reshape its whole strategy or is best off sticking with its current approach.
My conservative friends also like to point out that the United States is a republic, not a democracy. They’re right about that too. Our electoral system, by design, will sometimes choose as President someone the American people don’t prefer and whose promised policies most of us don’t want enacted. With a little effort you can even come up with a story that makes sense of this: at some moments, you imagine, you need a President determined to protect the interests of the more vulnerable parts of America against the crude rule of the majority, who has a clearly articulated political vision that doesn’t sway with the gusts of public opinion, who fundamentally doesn’t mind being disagreed with, even disrespected, by the majority of the people he serves.
I don’t think that’s the guy we got.