Despite losing the 2016 presidential election (at least barring a recount), Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton is currently winning the popular vote by approximately 2.2 million, with more votes still to be tallied, according to the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. However, Donald Trump is disputing this finding, tweeting today that “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.”
In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 27, 2016
It is not known what, if any, evidence Trump is referring to with the figure “millions of people who vote illegally.”
The dispute, whether which of the candidates won more votes, is not immaterial, though it is not as evidentially consequential as the electoral count, which literally determines the presidency. Rather, it’s about a “mandate” and whether Trump can effectively enforce policy when the majority of Americans voted against him.
Trump went on to clarify, not who the illegal voters were, but what his strategy would have been to win the popular vote instead of the electoral college. “It would have been much easier for me to win the so-called popular vote than the Electoral College in that I would only campaign in 3 or 4 states instead of the 15 states that I visited. I would have won even more easily and convincingly (but smaller states are forgotten)!” Trump wrote.
Update 11/27 5:00 pm: CBS reporter Sopan Deb speculates that Trump may have gotten his claim about millions of illegal voters from Info Wars, the website of media personality and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. Politifact ruled the figure “false” on Nov. 23.
— Sopan Deb (@SopanDeb) November 27, 2016