Hillary Clinton not only won the popular vote in Tuesday’s election. When all the votes are counted, it is likely that she will have won it by a margin larger than two candidates who went on to win the presidency.
Votes are still being counted, however, with the outstanding ballots overwhelmingly concentrated in Democratic bastions like California, Washington state and New York.
The Times’ Nate Cohn estimated on Saturday that there were a total of 7 million votes left to be counted nationwide. As of Thursday, more than 4 million votes had yet to be counted in California alone.
That means that Clinton’s lead will almost certainly grow in the coming days.
David Leonhardt, a columnist for The New York Times, noted on Friday that if current trends hold, Clinton will have a 1.7-percentage-point popular vote lead over Trump. That means Clinton will have a larger margin of victory than Richard Nixon had over Hubert Humphrey in 1968 or John F. Kennedy had over Nixon in 1960. (Her edge is also larger than Al Gore’s popular vote victory over George W. Bush in 2000, though he too was stymied by an electoral college loss.)
A larger popular vote lead will not change the electoral college math and thus the election’s fundamental outcome.
But it comes as welcome news for progressives eager to cast aspersions on President-elect Trump’s political mandate ― and gives fodder to a nascent campaign to abolish the electoral college, which has defied the will of the voters twice in the past two decades.
CORRECTION: This article initially said Clinton’s lead was 1.8 million votes; in fact, that number is a projection. Language has also been updated to indicate that Clinton’s popular vote lead of 1.7 percentage points is projected, not current.