Donald Trump Exceeded All Expectations

It finally happened — Hellection 2016 is finally over. As the nation scrambles to figure out exactly what comes next, political analysts are hard at work compiling data about electoral college votes and trends among voters in one of the most unprecedented elections in American history. While the electoral college data is important, the popular vote still matters too, and in the end, Republican nominee Donald Trump managed to get the most votes, earning more than 59,600,000 votes.

In the days leading up to the election, Trump was reportedly carrying key swing states like Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Iowa, and Arizona. A few weeks before the election, FiveThirtyEight reported that Trump had a number of "must-win" states he needed to address — states that he "must win" in order to win the election. Less than a week before the election, he began leading in Ohio, and Hillary Clinton's lead in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Florida began to shrink. All the same, Clinton reportedly carried 28 percent of Republican early voters in Florida leading up to Nov. 8 — evidence of the unpredictable nature of this election.

When it comes to the popular vote, Trump supporters surely showed out, perhaps thanks to his unconventional approach to campaigning, which included a major fundraising cutoff in late October and little-to-no traditional "get out the vote" program, a cornerstone of Democratic campaigns that was perfected by both of Barack Obama's campaigns.

The notion of "swing" or "battleground" states perhaps mattered more to Republicans in this election than ever before. Traditionally, states in the Mid- and Southwest are more likely to vote Republican, for instance, less than a week before the election. FiveThirtyEight put Trump up a whopping 96 percent in Texas, a state with 55 electoral college votes (among the highest in the country). The east and west coasts, which are more densely populated, almost always swing Democrat, with a few exceptions in important "battleground" states like Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Hence the importance for Trump to carry those states in this election that, ahead of Nov. 8, put Clinton up leaps and bounds in most states with higher numbers of electoral votes.

These major voter turnout numbers imply that Trump's campaigning strategy, which relied almost exclusively upon press coverage, may have worked. Trump won the election, and the massive numbers he got in the popular vote are telling.

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