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Howard's Commentary - Governing From Electoral Weakness

Donald Trump becomes the official President-Elect today when the electoral college votes are cast (actually it's not "official" until Congress records them on January 6th but the vote is today).

Despite efforts by some to encourage EC members to refuse to support Trump, he will be elected.

He will be President.

But there is nothing even close to a "landslide" or a "mandate" (no matter how many times Trump and his team claim those terms).

For a statesman, for anyone elected with a sense of democracy and history, that fact should have serious impact on how he governs.

He will be President by one of the smallest EC margins in contemporary history and lost the popular vote by staggering numbers.

Political scientist Barry Burden, director of the Elections Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said the Trump margin comes up short in another way. From 1952 to 2012, the winning candidate got an average of 73 percent of the electoral votes, well above Trump's 57 percent. (

Add to the low electoral win the fact that Trump lost stunningly in the popular vote. Hillary Clinton had close to 3 million more total votes than Trump.

Don't let recent history fool you into thinking this has happened a lot. Sure, we saw this in 2000, when George W. Bush received about 500,000 fewer votes than Al Gore but still won the election. But this is only the fourth times in American history that someone has won the Electoral College, but lost the popular vote — and it might not be the last.

(John Quincy Adams also lost the popular vote in 1824, but since none of the four candidates received 50 percent of the electoral vote, the House of Representatives decided who would be president.)

In fact, only one president-elect has lost the popular vote by a wider margin than Trump. The widest margin was in 1876, when Rutherford B. Hayes won a controversial election that took months to settle, even though he lost the popular vote to Samuel Tilden by 3 percentage points. (

Donald Trump will be President of a clearly divided country.

He should be reaching across the aisle to Democrats seeking ways to work together. He should be trying to understand why so many voted against him and why his victory was so small.

He should try to recognize the fear and anxiety his campaign created and seek ways to calm those waters.

In Trump's world it's all about winners and losers. It's all about who came out on top. It's all about HIM.

In a true statesman's world, it's all about the people.

With a compliant House and Senate, Trump CAN push his own ideology through.

But with such a slim electoral win and a huge popular vote loss, he SHOULD attempt to represent all of America.

Donald Trump will officially be elected our next President today.

Legitimately and by the book.

My fear is how the book ends