The Math: Trump 2016 Would’ve Beaten Obama 2012, by Tim Alberta.
It’s easy to glance at Tuesday’s popular vote — which, with 92 percent of all precincts reporting, shows Hillary Clinton with six million fewer votes than Barack Obama won in 2012 — and reach the conclusion that Clinton lost the White House because she failed to turn out the Democratic base. But the truth is much more complicated.
While she underperformed relative to Obama’s 2012 totals in several Midwestern states — Ohio, Michigan, Iowa, and Wisconsin — Clinton ran virtually even with Obama in the battlegrounds of Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia, Nevada, and New Hampshire. What’s more, she far surpassed Obama’s 2012 vote total in Florida, the country’s biggest swing state. Yet somehow, while Obama carried Florida, Clinton lost it. …
A review of vote totals in the past two elections reveals that Trump 2016 would have defeated Obama 2012 in the electoral college. …
Obama won nearly 66 million votes in 2012; Trump is currently at 59.5 million and should finish around 60 million, which will actually be one million fewer votes than Mitt Romney won. How, then, could Trump have topped Obama in the electoral college? The answer: Republican turnout lagged in certain parts of the country but shot through the roof in the nation’s most critical battleground states.
So the Trump victory was more due to the distribution of votes, not the total number.
Note that this is not a “Republican victory” so much, because Trump had to battle both the Democrats and much of the Republican establishment — who openly sided with Hillary. This was a Tea Party victory, against the establishment and corruption. If Sanders had been the Democrat nominee, he might well now be the President-elect.