Trump wants popular vote to decide President, despite losing the popular vote

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Photo credit: Getty

Donald Trump wants future US Presidents to be elected via the popular vote because it would be "much easier" for him to win.

It's not clear if he understands that if the 2016 election was decided on a popular vote, Hillary Clinton would now be US President.

Mr Trump made the claim during an interview on one of his favourite TV shows, Fox & Friends, which he regularly mentions in his tweets.

"Remember, we won the election and we won it easily," he told the hosts.

"You know, a lot of people say 'Oh, it was close.' And by the way, they also like to always talk about Electoral College. Well, it's an election based on the Electoral College. I would rather have a popular election, but it's a totally different campaign," Mr Trump said.

"It's as though you're running - if you're a runner, you're practicing for the 100-yard dash as opposed to the one mile. The Electoral College is different. I would rather have the popular vote because it's, to me, it's much easier to win the popular vote."

Ms Clinton received 65,853,514 votes in 2016, to Mr Trump's 62,984,828. But Mr Trump became President because the US uses a system known as the Electoral College to choose its President.

Each state is worth a certain number of points. Most states give all their points to whoever gets the most votes, while some split it up.

Mr Trump arguably won because there is a bias in the way Electoral College votes are allocated towards states with small populations - which tend to be rural and vote Republican. Every state gets allocated votes according its population, plus two more. This means a state like California gets 53 votes based on its population, plus two, making 55; while rural Wyoming gets one, plus two more, tripling its allocation.

A Wired analysis showed this meant a vote in Wyoming was four times more powerful than one in Florida.

Mr Trump was able to pick up enough of the smaller states to trounce Ms Clinton in the Electoral College 304-227, despite being behind by almost 3 million votes.

He focused his campaign heavily on swing states across the US midwest, ignoring Democratic-leaning strongholds like New York and California. This is likely why he said he would have run a "totally different campaign" if the election was decided on the popular vote.

Mr Trump is the fifth US President to win despite losing the popular vote. George W Bush lost the 2000 popular vote by more than 500,000 votes, yet went on to serve two terms.