Conservatives' Special Revisionist Math: Trump Won Popular Vote If You Nix CA!

Saul Loeb

Some conservative publications have taken to arguing this week that the President-elect did much better on Election Day than his nearly 3 million-vote deficit suggests—if only certain liberal cities and states were completely discounted from the popular vote total.

By far, the most popular target for wholesale disenfranchisement in these thought experiments is California. Clinton won the state’s popular vote by more than 4.2 million, according to a tally by the Cook Political Report, which is an even larger margin than her nationwide popular vote lead, which was nearly 2.9 million.

The Daily Mail headlined an article which was later featured on the Drudge Report Wednesday: “Final tally shows Trump lost popular vote by 2.8 million – but he BEAT Clinton by 3 million votes outside of California and New York.”

Such a feat of revisionism belies the fact that California is the nation’s most populous state (New York is fourth) and is home to more than one in eight Americans who voted for president in 2016, per the Cook Political Report.

Other outlets took a similar tack: “It's Official: Clinton's Popular Vote Win Came Entirely From California,” Investors Business Daily declared on Saturday. Joe Walsh, the former Republican congressman-turned-shock jock, amplified the IBD article Sunday on Twitter and wrote “I know California is a state & we have to count it, but if you remove CA, Trump won the popular vote by 1.4 million.”

World Net Daily echoed that IBD claim, as did The Federalist Papers, TownHall, InfoWars and others.

Just a week after the election, Breitbart News blared that Trump won a “7.5 Million Popular Vote Landslide In Heartland.” The "Heartland," by Breitbart’s definition, was the tally of “3,084 of the country’s 3,141 counties or county equivalents” that voted in larger numbers for Trump, thereby excluding most of America's most populous areas.

The American Thinker even tried to make the case that Clinton didn’t actually win the popular vote because “[s]tates don’t count their absentee ballots unless the number of outstanding absentee ballots is larger than the state margin of difference,” which is simply not true.

Trump himself pitched in Wednesday, arguing that Clinton won the popular vote but lost in the electoral college because she "focused on the wrong states":

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