It is hardly a novel line of attack that President-Elect Donald Trump lacks a mandate to implement his agenda because he lost the popular vote, but a CNN commentator on Monday took that argument to new — and inaccurate — heights.
Sally Kohn, who also is a Daily Beast columnist, said on “CNN Newsroom” that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton not only edged Trump in the national popular vote but outperformed many other recent presidents.
“Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by a greater margin than most presidents in recent history, so his credibility is already questioned.”
“Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by a greater margin than most presidents in recent history, so his credibility is already questioned,” she said. “Now we have the issue of the Russian hacking.”
“CNN Newsroom” host Carol Costello offered no resistance to the claim, but it simply is not true.
According to information collected by Dave Wasserman of the Cook Political Report, Clinton won 48.2 percent of the popular vote, compared to 46.1 percent for Trump. Since Ronald Reagan’s landslide victory in 1980, the only president ever to perform worse in the popular vote was George W. Bush in 2000. Like Trump, Bush lost the popular vote — by half a percentage point — but won the Electoral College.
Clinton’s popular vote margin is smaller than the 2.4-point victory by Bush in 2004, the second-closest margin since 1980.
But to Kohn, Trump’s loss in the popular vote taints him just as much as allegations that Russia hacked into Democratic emails in order to help the Republican candidate. She said “unlike Barack Obama,” Trump has failed to reach out to Americans who voted against him — again no pushback from Costello, despite the fact the president-elect has repeatedly promised to be a “president for all Americans” and held meetings with public figures from far across the ideological spectrum, like former Vice President Al Gore.
Instead, Kohn insisted, Trump has appointed “far-right, conservative autocratic business leaders, instead of looking to represent the broad interests of the American people.”
[lz_table title=”Popular Vote Margins” source=”Roper Center”]Year,Winner,Margin
*Lost Electoral College
Kohn contrasted Obama’s high post-election approval rating in 2008 with Trump’s, which she pegged at 40 percent. In fact, Tump’s approval ratings have steadily climbed since his election, ranging from a low of 37 percent in a Pew Research Center survey taken at the end of November and beginning of December, to a high of 52 percent in a Reuters/Ipsos poll.
Presidential approval rating go up and down. On the question of the popular vote, as has been repeatedly pointed out to despondent liberals, presidential elections in the United States are decided by a state-by-state outcome of elections as candidates try to amass a majority of 270 electoral votes.
Both candidates played by the same rules, which is why Clinton and Trump both ignored states like New York and California, where the Democratic nominee ran up massive margins. Both candidates concentrated on the same 15 or so competitive states they knew mean the difference between victory and defeat.
Don’t tell that to Kohn, though.
“Trust isn’t something you just get, de facto,” she said. “Trust is something you earn.”