Well, you might as well take a deep breath, because the tumult and uncertainty of the 2016 presidential race is finally over. Donald Trump is headed to the White House, and will serve as the 45th commander-in-chief of the United States. But in the event you didn't get to watch the returns roll in, or still haven't laid your eyes on an electoral map, you might nonetheless be wondering: How many electors did Donald Trump win, and how did it stack up to the final tally of previous GOP presidential aspirants?
Fortunately, some questions in life are answered pretty simply, and this one definitely qualifies. As of Wednesday at 3:30 p.m., Trump came away with the lead in more than 30 states, good for a combined total of 279 electoral votes so far. Provided all of his electors obey the will of their states — in other words, as long as none of them end up being faithless electors ― that's the number that'll go down in the history books.
And, with 270 being the lowest possible outright majority, that's the whole ballgame. Trump has won the 2016 presidential election, meaning people across America and around the world have at least four years of this guy ahead of them.
As for how faithless electors figure into this equation, it's happened before that despite the official electoral vote tally based on the results in the states, individual electors have refused to back the candidate that they were meant to. This is illegal in a number of states, though nobody has ever been prosecuted for it, likely in part because it's never happened in a close enough race to be consequential to the outcome. But it is worth noting, given the incredibly inflammatory and virulent nature of his campaign, that the electoral vote number could still move a little bit if any electors from red states end up balking at the notion of supporting him.
By comparison, in 2012, Republican nominee and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney won 206 electoral votes. In 2008, Arizona senator John McCain won even fewer, coming in at just 178 electoral votes. The last time a Republican claimed the lion's share of the electors was in 2004, when incumbent president George W. Bush scored 286 to Democratic nominee and former Massachusetts senator John Kerry's 251.