On Tuesday night, in a scenario that has only occurred four times in American history, the presidency was won by a candidate who lost the popular vote.
As of 11:00 a.m. EST Wednesday morning, with 98% of the vote counted, Hillary Clinton held a lead in the popular vote over Donald Trump by roughly 185,000 votes: 59,390,851 to 59,215,097.
The New York Times projected that Clinton will win the popular vote by one percentage point, more than the difference by which Al Gore led George W. Bush in 2000.
As The Los Angeles Times explained: “When people cast their votes in the presidential election, they are actually casting votes for ‘electors,’ who then cast their votes for president. The candidate who wins the state’s popular vote gets those electors. The number of electors each state has is equal to its representation in Congress.”
The only times in American history a candidate won the presidency while losing the popular vote occurred in 1824, when John Quincy Adams won, Rutherford B. Hayes’ win in 1876, Benjamin Harrison in 1888, and Bush in 2000. Only Bush was reelected, but Trump has shown the rules simply do not apply to him.