by Max Brantley
“We probably have about 7 million votes left to count,” said David Wasserman, an editor at Cook Political Report who is tracking turnout. “A majority of them are on the coasts, in New York, California, and Washington. She should be able to win those votes, probably 2-1.” By mid-December, when the Electoral College officially casts its ballots, Wasserman estimates that Clinton could be ahead by 2 percentage points in the popular vote.Narrow margins in three critical states — Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan — carried the day for Trump. Only 107,000 votes in all. A victory is a victory. But this one was close.
...This has happened before. David Leip is the one-man band behind The Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections, a website cataloging vote totals all the way back to the early days of the Republic. He remembers seeing much of the same vote-counting hysteria after Election Day in 2012, when it appeared Obama would fall far short of his 2008 total. “They did the same thing—‘Oh my goodness, look at all those missing votes,’” he said. From the numbers he’s seeing, California is due for a record turnout, and possibly other states are as well. It’s too soon to tell, he cautions, if Clinton’s total haul, which currently sits at 60.6 million, will match or surpass the 66 million votes Obama received in 2012.
But let’s be clear: While these uncounted votes may grow Clinton’s popular lead, they absolutely will not change the course of the election. That math is settled; Trump holds an insurmountable lead in swing states, which turned his popular defeat into a sizable electoral victory. All the votes in liberal-leaning New York and California will not change that.
However, these ballots will knock the legs out beneath the argument that Clinton failed to mobilize Democrats. Yes, she’s no Obama in 2008. (Neither was Obama in 2012.) But county-by-county results indicate Democratic voters flipped for Trump, not that they stayed home.