Donald Trump branded Electoral College system 'disaster for democracy' after 2012 election

The voting system has been criticised as outdated and undemocratic 

Will Worley
Thursday 10 November 2016 15:00 GMT
Donald Trump speaking after he won the 2016 US election
Donald Trump speaking after he won the 2016 US election

Democratic Party supporters in the US have expressed dismay that Donald Trump won the election despite it appearing, with not all votes counted, that he is on course to lose the popular vote.

The American presidency is decided under the Electoral College system, in which voters choose their president by a system of representative votes based on population.

It means even if a huge proportion of people in one state vote for a certain candidate, it makes no difference to the result past the state’s allocated number of Electoral College votes.

The Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, who has already conceded defeat to Republican candidate Donald Trump, is winning the popular vote, albeit by a slim margin.

As of Thursday morning, Ms Clinton had 59,817,018 votes to Mr Trump’s 59,611,678 votes.

But Mr Trump has actually spoken out against the Electoral College system which has now guaranteed him a place in the Whitehouse.

Following Mitt Romney’s loss in the 2012 election to Barack Obama, Mr Trump wrote on Twitter: "The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy."

Mr Trump's tweet against the Electoral College system, written in 2012 (Twitter/screengrab )

He wrongly believed that Mr Romney, who he supported, had won the popular vote, but this was also won by Mr Obama.

The Electoral College system is seen by many as antiquated, hailing from 1787, a time of a much smaller electorate and mass disenfranchisement.

The 2016 election was not the first time a candidate has lost the popular vote but gone on to win the presidency under the Electoral College system - four candidates have done so.

Most recently, Al Gore won around 500,000 more individual votes than George W Bush in the 2000 general election, but lost the presidency when Mr Bush won five more Electoral College votes than he did.

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