The Constitution of the United States went into effect March 4, 1789. The Electoral College, as prescribed in Article II, Section 1, elected George Washington president that same year, with 69 votes. Washington was re-elected with 132 votes in 1792. John Adams received the second-most votes, thus winning the vice-presidency, both times.
Presidential elections worked smoothly all the way up to the vote in 1800. Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr each received 73 votes, sending the election to the House of Representatives. (Jefferson thought he was running against John Adams; Burr was Jefferson’s intended vice-president.) The Constitution had not foreseen the possibility of a tie. After thirty-six votes, the House named Jefferson president and Burr vice-president.
What does the current occupant of the White House have in common with John Quincy Adams, Rutherford B. Hayes, Benjamin Harrison and George W. Bush? They all were elected president after having lost the popular vote. In the 2000 election, Al Gore received over a half-million more votes than Bush. In 2016, nearly three-million more votes were cast for Hillary Clinton than the winner. As we all know, the only votes that count are those cast by the Electoral College.
Fun fact: According to the Brookings Institute, the fewer-than-five-hundred counties that Clinton won nationwide combined to generate sixty-four percent of America’s economic activity in 2015. The more-than-twenty-six-hundred counties that Trump won combined to generate thirty-six percent of the country’s economic activity last year.
Gore lost the Electoral College vote when the Supreme Court stopped vote counting in Florida, giving the state’s decisive electoral votes to George W. Bush.
Unhappy because your vote in California counted for less than a Nebraska resident’s vote? Think the Electoral College is unfair because a candidate who garners fewer votes still wins the Presidency – twice so far in this century? Imagine how you would feel had you voted for Andrew Jackson.