The big day has finally come and gone, and the votes are in ― Donald Trump is president-elect of the United States, and will be sworn in on Jan. 20 to be the 45th commander-in-chief in American history. But going forward, much will be made of what the winning margin was, because that'll surely be used to spin how much political capital and national mandate the victor has ― so, how many electoral votes did Hillary Clinton win on Election Day?
Well, here are the basic facts: Clinton won a minority of the 50 states, and only three swing states to Trump's eight. As of Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. ET, she had notched a total of more than 228 electoral votes. By contrast, the Republican candidate Donald Trump clocked in with 279 electoral votes. There are 538 total electoral votes in play, which means that the candidate who lands at or above 270 claims an outright majority, and thus, the White House. Which is precisely why America's looking at no less than four years of Donald Trump on the horizon.
Of course, it's worth noting that the final electoral vote tally could still change, unlikely though it may be. That's because of the potential for faithless electors, which is when an elector bucks the will of the state they represent and votes the other way.
There are, indeed, many states in the union where it's legally prohibited to be a faithless elector, though it's never resulted in a serious legal prosecution. There's never been an instance where a faithless elector has actually altered the outcome of a presidential race, which probably explains why the practice hasn't been punished in the past. But it is relevant to keep in mind ― the tally right now might not be where it officially ends up after the electors cast their votes in December. It's rare that this happens, though, so you can probably feel comfortable taking this number to the bank.
If you're curious how Clinton's electoral votes stack up against recent Democratic presidential aspirants, President Obama notched 332 of them in his 2012 race against Republican nominee and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, compared to Romney's 206. In 2008, in his first presidential race, Obama toppled Arizona senator John McCain with 365 electoral votes to McCain's 173. The widest margin of victory for a Democrat in the last 30 years, however, was when Clinton's husband Bill defeated then-Kansas senator Bob Dole in 1996, by a margin of 379 to 159.