Today everyone is looking around and asking: how did this happen?
The answer, numerically speaking at least, is actually not that complicated. This happened because while both candidates underperformed their predecessors from 2012, Democrats underperformed much, much worse.
Read that again. That's right. Donald Trump did not even get as many total votes as Mitt Romney did in 2012, and Hillary Clinton is ahead in the popular vote count. Yet, Donald Trump is now the President-Elect. Because over six million of Obama voters (likely more, since the population is larger this year) nationwide went missing from Hillary Clinton's column. Hillary Clinton currently has about 59.8 million votes to Donald Trumps 59.6 million. In 2012, Barack Obama received 65.9 million votes.
It is also true that with our fucked-up electoral college system that has for the second time this century handed the presidency to a man who failed to earn the support of more Americans than his opponent, these numbers have to be examined in the context of battleground states. Well, let's have a look.
I have compiled data from Wikipedia's information on the 2012 elections and the current vote tallies for this election. With 99% of the vote in, the numbers may change, but not much. So here is where we stand (click for a bigger image, or see the full spreadsheet here):
If you can't make that all out (again, click to expand), if the same number of voters turned out for Hillary Clinton in 2016 as did for Barack Obama in 2012, Hillary Clinton would have won Iowa (by 23,621 votes), New Hampshire (by 24,182 votes), Ohio (by 55,637 votes), Pennsylvania (by 77,333 votes), Wisconsin (by 211,000 votes) and Michigan (by 285,000 votes), for an additional 76 electoral votes. Add that to her current tally of 228, and she would have won the electoral college decisively with at least 304 votes, not to mention the almost 6.5 million vote margin she would have over Trump nationally, worth about 5 points.
Donald Trump won no great victory. He won no mandate. Yet, there will be people - ironically, the GOP and media "establishment" - that will act like he has. But the numbers are clear. Donald Trump is president-elect today because one in ten voters who voted Democratic four years ago refused to consider the fate of the world this time.
So who are these missing voters? They did not go to Trump, given Trump's own lackluster numbers. They either did not vote or voted third party. At least in the battlegrounds, given the location an makeup of the states as well as Latino (FL) and Black turnout data (the black vote once again saved Virginia for Democrats), I would guess that it would not be a misstatement to say that the vast majority of these voters are white voters who believed their civic duty would be better performed by casting a "protest" vote or not voting at all.
This is why we must first transform voting into the civic duty that it is rather than the boner pill that we are led to believe it should be. We are voting for the future of our country, not for our personal gratification, and the level of our 'excitement', while nice, should not be the reason we vote. If you cannot get excited by the most qualified person ever to run for an office, it's your problem; stop making it everyone else's.
Let me repeat something that's gained traction on Twitter. If you voted for Donald Trump, you voted for Donald Trump. If you voted third party, you voted for Donald Trump. If you could have voted but did not, you voted for Donald Trump. I hope you are happy with your "win."