Donald Trump Falsely Claims He Won The Electoral Vote By A Landslide

Donald Trump claims he won an Electoral College landslide. This is a bald-faced lie.

2016 Presidential Election Electoral College Map

In addition to his seemingly baseless claim that the November 8th vote in several states that he lost was tainted by the fact that illegal immigrants were permitted to vote, Donald Trump claimed during his Sunday Tweetstorm that he won the Electoral College by a ‘landslide.”

In addition to Trump, others have claimed that Trump’s November 8th win, the first by a Republican candidate for President since President George W. Bush won re-election over John Kerry in what amounted to an Electoral College nail-biter, others have made similar claims in the three weeeks since the election. For example, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus, who will become White House Chief of Staff on Inauguration Day, was making the claim just days after the election on all three three network television shows:On Good Morning America, for example, Preibus put it this way; “And look what happened on Tuesday. I mean, it was an electoral landslide and the American people agreed that Donald Trump’s vision for America is what this country has been waiting for.”

As things presently stand, Trump won 306 Electoral Votes to 232 for Hillary Clinton, for a difference of 74 Electoral Votes. This is smaller than the 126 Electoral Votes that separated President Obama and Mitt Romney in 2012, and the 173 Electoral Votes that separated Obama and Senator John McCain in 2008. Rather than being a landslide, Trump’s Electoral College win was the closest since George W. Bush won re-election with a 35 Electoral Vote margin over then Senator John Kerry. That hardly qualifies as a ‘landslide,’ of course and is a reflection of the fact that Trump lost the Popular Vote and only won many states, such as Wisconsin, by less than one percent of the vote.. The last true landslide in the United States occurred in the 1984 Presidential Election, when President Reagan overwhelmed former Vice-President Walter Mondale with 525 Electoral Votes with wins in 49 of the 50 states, overwhelming former Walter Mondale’s 13 Electoral Votes, which came from winning one state and the District of Columbia, for a margin of 512 Electoral Votes. One could also argue that George H.W. Bush’s 1988 victory over Michael Dukakis, which came via a 315 Electoral Vote win in 40 states (versus Dukakis winning just ten states and the District of Columbia) also qualifies as a landslide, meaning that there would be three landslide wins in a row starting with 1980 and that five of the seven elections between 1964 and 1988 were landslide wins for one party or the other and that the other two, 1968 and 1976, were relatively close by comparison. In the case of 2016, though, it’s fairly clear that the outcome was anything but a landslide win for Trump, his claims to the contrary notwithstanding.

On some level, of course, the margin of victory hardly matters. Whether Trump won by single digits in the Electoral College as George W. Bush did in 2000 or by more than 500 Electoral votes as President Reagan did in 1984, they will still become President of the United States and will still have the same power and authority granted to that office by Article II of the Constitution and Federal Law. Indeed, one could make the argument that Trump will have more power than Reagan did after his re-election because he will have a Congress completely controlled by his party rather than just control of the U.S. Senate as Reagan did in 1984. On the other hand, a President who comes into Washington with a large election win under their belt will arguably have a better chance at trying to persuade Congress to vote their way than one who won by their skin of their teeth. Of course, the mere fact that Trump won is in and of itself such a surprise given how the election was looking just days prior to November 8th that the fact that he won provides a boost that may be as much of a boost as a bigger Electoral College would have had. In the end, the question is not how big the victory is, though, it’s what the candidate does with that win and that’s something that we can’t know at this point.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, Donald Trump, Politicians, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. James Pearce says:

    I expected nothing less from this dude. That’s why I voted for the other lady.

  2. CSK says:

    It’s Trump, Doug. He’d have claimed a landslide if he’d won with 270.

  3. To be fair, I think that’s true of any politician. They always claimed a “mandate” when they win even if it’s by the skin of their teeth.

  4. CSK says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    A mandate may be a bit different from a landslide.

    Apparently he’s traded in the MAGA cap for one that reads “45 USA.”

  5. An Interested Party says:

    To be fair, I think that’s true of any politician. They always claimed a “mandate” when they win even if it’s by the skin of their teeth.

    Oh please…nobody lies like Donald Trump…nobody…

  6. Slugger says:

    A “Trump falsely claims” macro may save a lot of keystrokes in the next few years.

    Yes, I know that Hillary is also somewhat short of sainthood. It is important for us citizens to be alert to the deceptions undertaken by whosoever sits on the throne.

  7. Kylopod says:

    Of course his claim is absurd. It should be noted, though, that the word “landslide” has never had any official or technical definition, and like the word “mandate,” it’s been abused for years now to the point of practically losing all meaning. You can find commentators out there who refer to Obama’s 2012 victory as an “electoral college landslide.” Here, I suppose, the trick is that Trump reached that 300-EV threshold.

    Of course it’s an illusion stemming from the winner-take-all nature of the EC as reflected in most states. So, for example, Trump wins 49% of the vote in Florida and Clinton wins 47.8%, but he gets all 29 of Florida’s electors and she gets 0. Then when you look at the final tally where his score is 306-232 and you think “Wow! 74 is fer sher a big number separating the two candidates!”–without recognizing that the number is essentially an artificial construct where tiny differences in the vote can have a profound impact.

  8. C. Clavin says:

    If you are going to be in the business of calling BS on everything Trump tweets…then you are going to be a very busy boy, indeed.
    Which raises the real, much broader, issue here…the normalization of mendacity with the Electoral College vote, and the normalization of conspiracy theories with the Popular Vote results.
    Trump is going to be spending four years lying thru his teeth. And, for the next four years, Trump is going to be making very real policy decisions based upon the nonsensical conspiracy theories of Alex Jones and his ilk.
    Already Trump is refusing briefings from the Intelligence Community, in favor of

    “information as provided to him from a number of sources.”

    Trumps National Security Adviser, Mike Flynn, is well known for his belief in all kinds of conspiracy theories.
    There is an alarming pattern to the way the President-Elect operates.
    Dark days are upon the Republic.

  9. Jenos The Deplorable says:

    I’d say that it’s arguable, but calling it a “bald-faced lie” is letting your bias shine through.

    306 of 538 is about 57%, which leaves Hillary with 43%. That’s arguably a “landslide.”

    Trump won 30.25 of the state races, while Hillary won 20.75. (Counting DC, and Maine split 3/1 for Hillary.) That’s arguably a “landslide.”

    You call it a “lie” because you’re projecting your own definitions to put Trump in the worst light.

    There is exactly one way to win this game, and it doesn’t mean “popular vote” or anything else. It means “most electoral college votes,” and that’s exactly what Trump won — and yes, by a “landslide.”

    Let me put a major spin on it, to counter yours: Hillary would have had to win 10 states that Trump won to beat him. Those states being Alaska, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, West Virginia, and two the following: Utah, Kansas, Iowa, Mississippi, and Arkansas (where she was first lady). And then the electoral college would have been Hillary 273, Trump 265.

    Yes, I cherry-picked the states that Trump won that have the fewest electoral votes. Everyone else is doing their own cherry-picking; I’m just being open about it.

  10. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable:
    It’s the second closest result in 30+ years.
    So you are saying anything other than the closest is a landslide?
    Hahaha…and Doug is biased…Jenos the Adorable.

  11. al-Ameda says:

    For example, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus, who will become White House Chief of Staff on Inauguration Day, was making the claim just days after the election on all three three network television shows:On Good Morning America, for example, Preibus put it this way; “And look what happened on Tuesday. I mean, it was an electoral landslide and the American people agreed that Donald Trump’s vision for America is what this country has been waiting for.”

    It’s always Kool-Aid time over the RNC.

  12. C. Clavin says:

    BTW…I see that Jenos the Adorable was flying Delta this past holiday weekend.
    https://www.facebook.com/emma.baum.73/videos/10210862995628402/

  13. Jenos The Deplorable says:

    From the beginning, “winning” was defined as “getting at least half the electoral votes.”

    Trump won 57% of the electoral votes, beating Hillary by more than 70 votes.

    All this is whining from the butt-hurt mewling quims.

    MoveOn, already.

  14. Kylopod says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable: @C. Clavin: Let’s put it this way. According to Jenos’ definition of landslide (57% of the electoral vote), out of the 30 elections since 1900, 25 were landslides, including 1960. Like I said the term has always been pretty elastic but it’s safe to say this reaches new, ah, heights.

  15. Liberal Capitalist says:

    .

    Today’s special snowflake spotlight deplorable:

    ‘I voted for Trump — so there’: White shopper melts down after black workers ask her to pay for bag

    A shopper erupted in fury and claimed anti-white discrimination after she was asked to purchase a $1 reusable bag at a Chicago-area arts and crafts store.

    Another customer began recording when she overheard the woman insulting the store’s black employees and shouting about Donald Trump, reported Patch.

    “I voted for Trump — so there,” the woman shouted. “You want to kick me out for that? And look who won.”

    Here’s to an interesting four years.

  16. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable:

    Trump won 57% of the electoral votes, beating Hillary by more than 70 votes.
    All this is whining from the butt-hurt mewling quims.

    Actually, butt-hurt describes the seemingly permanent condition of low-DNA Trump voters

  17. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable:
    Jenos is an expert at moving the goalposts.

  18. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable:

    306 of 538 is about 57%, which leaves Hillary with 43%. That’s arguably a “landslide.”

    I could argue that the 2010-2014 Giants are the greatest dynasty in baseball history. Hey, they have three trophies to show for their efforts.

    Of course it would be a nonsense argument, but a gullible person – such as yourself – might buy it.

  19. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:
  20. Paul Hooson says:

    I seldom expect this liar-in-thief-elect will level with and tell Americans the truth as president. The same sort of gullible persons who send their life saving off to some corrupt televangelist wanted this hokey real estate con man in office, So we’re stuck with the least intelligent and least honest man ever to hold the office for at least four years, or until he’s impeached…

  21. bill says:

    @An Interested Party: um, i can think of someone who exceeds him- but she lost…..
    there’s a difference between “exaggerating” and flat out “lying”. trump does the former more than the latter. of course it’s all subjective to some of you, to be lied to with “sincerity”…..

    @anjin-san: if the popular vote was 57-43 that would be a landslide. but heck, someone could win 57% of the vote and still lose in the ec.

  22. Jenos The Deplorable says:

    I see the reading comprehension of the commentariat here is as exceptional as ever.

    “Exceptional,” of course, simply means outside the average.

    I stated that Trump’s claim of a landslide is “arguable.” I didn’t say that I bought into it, merely that a plausible case could be made for it.

    What I think happened is that Trump looked at the actual rules of the game and worked up a plan that would get him the victory, then carried it out successfully. Meanwhile, Hillary… hell, I don’t know what she was thinking, if at all. It was like she took for granted that Trump would be rejected, and goddammit she was owed the presidency after all those years of putting up with Bill’s crap, covering up his philandering, and then having Obama stomp her, then throw her the SecState post as a sop. She’d been the good soldier, goddammit, she was owed the top job.

    That’s the best theory I can come up with for Hillary’s campaign, that fits what actually happened.

    As far as Trump claiming a landslide? He’s a bullshitter. We know it, he knows it. To repeat the oft-proven wisdom, “Trump supporters take him seriously, Trump haters take him literally but not seriously.”

    As I see it, this is Trump firing a warning shot at Stein and Hillary and those pushing for a recount. If they keep pushing this, he’s going to fight back — and Trump has no use for “proportional response.”

    When Hillary conceded, Trump got to play the gracious winner, and said nice things about her. Now she’s walking it back, and Trump is signaling that he’s more than willing to go back on the warpath.

    And the last time he did that, he beat her quite thoroughly.

  23. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Could there be anything more akin to a train wreck than this clown being goaded into alleging fraud in an election that he ostensibly won? Whatever communications staff he eventually manages to select is going to need anti-ulcer medication by the truckload. Thank you Twitter 🙂

    They’ve figured him out at this point – cue up the forced errors. The next four years are going to be highly entertaining.

  24. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @HarvardLaw92: I personally think DT won’t finish out his first term. Either he’ll go so far that the Repubs in Congress impeach him, or he dies in office. He’s a walking collection of poor health habits. He’s physically in the lousiest shape of any president since FDR – who died well short of reaching 70.

  25. michael reynolds says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Fun for you, you’ll be in Paris. At my house we are at a two-two deadlock on GTFO of the US. As a sop to myself I’m creating an adult mystery series (book) set in various expat communities. Should give me an excuse to take lots of tax-deductible travel.

  26. CSK says:

    @SC_Birdflyte:

    But..but..didn’t Trump’s very own doctor write a letter attesting that Trump was the healthiest person ever to run for the presidency????? That all Trump’s tests came back positive????

  27. An Interested Party says:

    Hmm…

    306 of 538 is about 57%, which leaves Hillary with 43%. That’s arguably a “landslide.”

    Trump won 30.25 of the state races, while Hillary won 20.75. (Counting DC, and Maine split 3/1 for Hillary.) That’s arguably a “landslide.”

    …to be followed up later with…

    As far as Trump claiming a landslide? He’s a bullshitter. We know it, he knows it. To repeat the oft-proven wisdom, “Trump supporters take him seriously, Trump haters take him literally but not seriously.”

    Yes, bullshitter is definitely the right term, and it doesn’t just apply to Trump…

    As I see it, this is Trump firing a warning shot at Stein and Hillary and those pushing for a recount. If they keep pushing this, he’s going to fight back — and Trump has no use for “proportional response.”

    Uh huh, I’m sure that Stein and Hillary are just so very terrified of Trump…

    @bill:

    Hey, feel free to be delusional if you like…hell, you probably voted for Trump, so your delusions are to be expected…

  28. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @SC_Birdflyte:

    I tend to agree, but realistically that works in our favor. Trump is just incompetent. We can count on him to generally screw-up, but Pence knows what he’s doing and his agenda would alienate people across the spectrum.

  29. rachel says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Whatever communications staff he eventually manages to select is going to need anti-ulcer medication by the truckload.

    Naw, they’ll be at least as obtuse as he is.

  30. Liberal Capitalist says:

    .

    From FiveThirtyEight:

    War Is Peace. Freedom Is Slavery. Trump Won In A Landslide.

    Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway — perhaps seeking to push back on the increasing attention to Hillary Clinton’s widening lead in the national popular vote — has been touting her boss’s margin of victory in the Electoral College. With Trump officially declared the winner in Michigan on Monday, he’s got 306 electoral votes — 56.9 percent of the available total of 538 and nothing to sneeze at. That’s more than George W. Bush got in either of his Electoral College victories, making it the highest total for a Republican since 1988.

    But in a historical context, Trump’s Electoral College performance is decidedly below-average. So it’s a bit Orwellian to call it a “landslide” or a “blowout.” There have been 54 presidential elections since the ratification of the 12th Amendment in 1804. (Before that, presidential electors cast two votes each, making it hard to compare them to present-day elections.) Of those 54 cases, Trump’s share of the electoral vote — assuming there are no faithless electors or results overturned by recounts — ranks 44th.

  31. C. Clavin says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Uh huh, I’m sure that Stein and Hillary are just so very terrified of Trump

    Um…they probably should be. Imagine the IRS under the thin-skinned, childish, and vindictive Trump. A man-child like him in a position of authority is a truly fwcking scary thing.
    Already today, after some kids in MA burned a flag in protest of his election, he is calling to abridge the 1st and 14th Amendments. Trump has made it clear throughought his candicy that he will not stand for critique or dissent and will do anything he can to silence it.
    The imagined scandals and conspiracy theory’s of the Obama Presidency will become real. He’s already made it crystal clear he has no intention of hewing to traditions and norms. He’s already made it clear conflicts of interest and unethical practices will be the new normal.
    We should all be very scared of this man. Normalizing him and under-estimating him is a yuuge mistake. He has a feckless Republican Congress and will soon have a Republican SCOTUS. He is unstoppable.