The Seven Million Vote Margin of Victory



Joseph Biden: 81,283,670 — Percentage of popular vote: 51.3
Donald Trump: 74,222,383.– Percentage of popular vote: 46.8

MARGIN OF VICTORY: 7,061,287 (Seven million, 61 thousand, two hundred and eighty-seven votes)

(POST-SCRIPT: One month later, on January 9, 2020, I consulted the vote tallies once again for any update in the final vote count. With the affirmation of the Electoral College early Thursday morning, the totals now read: Joseph Biden 81,268,757; and Donald Trump 74,216,722. The margin of victory is still over seven million votes.)

It is now five weeks since the last legal ballot was on its way to a vote counting center and the tabulation of the presidential contest is more or less wrapped up. Joseph Biden won the popular vote by more than seven million votes. On November 20th, the margin of victory was more than six million, and by November 24th, over 80 million voters had said that they would prefer someone else – anyone else, in fact – to be president of this country. During the first week of December, Joseph Biden’s popular vote increased to over 81 million. Nothing is going to change Biden’s margin of victory.

Let me emphasize again that the polls of the past four years seem to be have been very accurate, within the margin of error. Trump’s approval rating held fairly steady at 44 percent over the past four years. If one allots for the standard margin of error, then the percentage of the popular vote for Trump reflects the accuracy of those thousands and thousands of surveys. If the polling of individual states in the Fall, 2020 proved to be inaccurate, that reflects how polls can vary in relatively short periods of assessment.

On the other, the disapproval rating for Trump over a four year period hovered around 52 percent. Biden received 51.3 percent of the popular vote, while others who disapproved of Trump chose third party candidates, most of them opting for the Libertarian candidate. One can hardly compare the poll numbers and Biden’s vote and claim that the polls were wrong. The disapproval numbers over four years correlate with the votes that have been counted during the past five weeks.

As for Trump’s dismayed supporters, I would remind them that one should entertain very little hope of winning an election with less than 47 percent of the popular vote. I know it must be hard for those who supported him to accept that their hero is intensely loathed, so I ask them to remember how much they disliked Hillary Clinton; and then I ask them to imagine disliking someone two or three times more intensely than that. Only then will they be able to comprehend why over 81 million people said that they were fed up with a twitter shit-storm of prevarications. It’s not just policies, though they are often loathed, too. It is the very quality of the person we object to, and this time the majority should rule.

For the second election in a row, Trump has not broken the 47 percent ceiling of the popular vote. Take a hint, folks. He is never going to break the 47 percent mark and if you think that someone deserves to be reelected who receives less than 47 percent, then you should move to a country in which its version of democracy functions with the perverse mathematics of tyranny.

The unfortunate political reality in the United States right now was summed up by Michelle Goldberg in a recent article: “only one of our political parties needs to win an overwhelming national majority in order to govern.”

This is not to say that the Republican party cannot win a majority of the popular vote in a presidential election. George W. Bush won such a majority in 2004, but that is the only time that the GOP has won the majority in the past eight elections.

The next eight elections will take us to mid-century’s living room. I am not optimistic that this country will realize that it needs to have political leaders capable of being renovating architects. I fear that all we will get is interior decorators. Perhaps, though, the best that we can hope for is the popular vote winner does gain legitimate access to the power of lawmaking.

The voters of the United States have chosen to affirm the constitution of the United States and rejected a candidate who represents an attempt to dismantle the social contract implicit in that constitution.


Here are the percentages of the popular vote that GOP presidential candidates received in this century’s elections:

Bush (2000): 47.9 percent
Bush (2004): 50.7 percent
McCain (2008): 45.7 percent
Romney: (2012): 47.2 percent
Trump (2016): 46.1 percent
Trump (2020): 46.8 percent

The Republican average is 47.4 percent of the popular vote.

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