Trump was elected by only a quarter of Americans


Look around you. Only one of every four adults you see voted to make Donald Trump president.

Of course, your mileage will vary depending on where you live, but a quick analysis of popular vote figures compared to newly released Census figures shows Trump received votes from only 25.3 percent of the nation’s eligible voters.

And don’t get too worked up about Hillary Clinton’s popular vote lead. She received votes from only 26.4 percent of eligible voters.

The Census Bureau this week released new national and state population estimates. The report received a lot of attention in Utah because it showed the Beehive State was the nation’s fastest growing state last year, in terms of percentage.

But the report also said the number of eligible voters, defined as people over the age of 18, grew to 249.5 million nationwide.

According to the latest CNN election figures, Clinton is leading the popular vote with 65.8 million votes. Although he won the election because he garnered more electoral votes, Trump has only 63 million votes. Divide each of those figures by 249.5 million and you see just how few eligible people affected the election of the most powerful leader in the free world.

Of course, not all eligible voters were registered, but they ought to be factored in when taking the temperature of any democracy.

While figures are hard to find on third party candidates, they were trending toward about 5 million votes or so combined. That would put voter turnout somewhere around 53 percent nationwide.

That puts the outcome in a little different light. Of course, some people may decide to deliberately not vote as a protest, in which case their lack of action may be considered a use of their franchise. But that’s a distinction that has little relevant meaning.

It’s a harsh reality that the eligible voters who stayed home might have had a profound effect on this year’s election.

It’s also clear that Mr. Trump was brought to power by a tiny portion of the people you see around you each day.

And it’s equally clear that all the noise about the need for a more democratic system should be kept in context. A lot of Americans just don’t care.

Categories: Politics, Washington

About the Author

Jay Evensen

Jay Evensen is the Senior Editorial Columnist for the Deseret News. He has 32 years of journalism experience covering politics and a variety of other assignments at news organizations ranging from United Press International in New York City to the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Deseret News, where he has worked since 1986. During that time, he has won numerous local, regional and national awards. Most recently, he was given the Cameron Duncan Media Award, given annually in Washington, D.C., by the advocacy group RESULTS, to the journalist judged to have done the most to further the cause of the world's poorest people.


  1. Lew E Jeppson

    ” A lot of Americans just don’t care.”

    Yes, because most people do not understand how important government is, in determining economic policy and economic outcomes. This reflects the sorry state of social studies education, especially economics.

    I was hired to teach economics full time at Salt Lake Community College in 2008. That year saw the greatest collapse of capitalism since 1929. I was asked by the student association that year to address the student body regarding what was going on in the economy. Most did not know, and most do not know the circumstances of that collapse even now.

    I began an intensive search for information. I focused intently on the crisis as it unfolded, identifying the players and the guilty. If people knew what I know about the role Barack Obama played in preventing another Great Depression, they would have a whole lot more appreciation for that great man.

    I shudder to think what might have happened had a different politician been in charge. They might have succeeded, but they might not have, in which case many of us would be living in poverty today. Who is in the Oval Office can make a big difference.

  2. Lew E Jeppson

    I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there. And she was married,” Trump says. “Then all of a sudden I see her, she’s now got the big phony tits and everything. She’s totally changed her look.”

  3. John Jackson

    The argument can be made that the system is working fine if everyone who wants to vote is able to, and if everyone who doesn’t want to is not required to. Part of freedom is being free to not vote.

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