As states continue counting ballots, Joe Biden’s lead in the popular vote has grown to 4,102,314 votes—a margin of 2.7 percentage points over Donald Trump.
As I wrote yesterday:
The United States does not determine its president through a direct popular vote, but through an electoral system that weighs votes differently depending on which state they come from. And since the candidate with the most votes in a state wins all of that state’s electors (in most cases), there’s no difference between winning 51 percent of a state’s vote and winning 70 percent of the vote. This makes it possible to win the presidency while losing the popular vote.
Cries for abolishing the Electoral College have grown stronger following the recent elections of two presidents who lost the popular vote: In 2000, Al Gore won the popular vote by a margin of 543,895, and in 2016, Hillary Clinton won it by a stunning 2,868,686 votes. Sixteen states—most recently, Colorado—and the District of Columbia have already joined the National Interstate Popular Vote Compact, which is intended to essentially nullify the Electoral College if more states eventually sign on. Still, it remains unclear how exactly the compact would go into effect without congressional approval.
Biden’s popular vote lead is expected to continue to grow as election officials tally votes from mail-in ballots and urban centers. Of course, Biden is also leading in the Electoral College and appears to be on course to secure more than the 270 electoral votes needed for victory.