America as a country has been subjected in recent weeks to talk about President-elect Donald Trump's historic Electoral College win. A "historic electoral landslide," he calls it. Well, now that the electoral votes have officially been cast, one thing is clear: the electoral vote was historic, but not in the way that Donald Trump probably wishes it were.
First of all, now that the Electoral College votes are in, Trump's win wasn't a landslide. Out of the 58 presidential elections in U.S. history, his was the 46th biggest win. That also makes it the 13th smallest win. He's shown in the past that things like numbers and facts don't matter all that much to him, though, so he's almost certainly not paying attention to this. If Trump was involved, it was historic, period and end of story.
In this case, at least, he was right about something. The Electoral College vote on Monday was historic, but not because of the number of votes that the President-elect got. For starters, faithless electors played a much bigger role than usual, giving votes to the most people since 1796. It goes without saying, of course, that the electoral landscape and system was quite a bit different back then. Now, 220 years later, seven people received at least one electoral vote: Trump, Hillary Clinton, Colin Powell, John Kasich, Bernie Sanders, Ron Paul, and Faith Spotted Eagle, a prominent protestor at Standing Rock and the first Native American to win an electoral vote for president.
So that, at least, is historic, as is the fact that Clinton and Spotted Eagle were the first two women to receive at least one electoral vote for president. Clinton actually won more electoral votes than George Washington did in his two elections combined — which is at least a fun thing to say, even if it doesn't actually mean anything, given the historical circumstances.
You might even say that Trump's electoral win of 304 votes is actually historically low. There have been a few presidents in the modern era who won with fewer, like John F. Kennedy in 1960 with 303 votes, Jimmy Carter with 297 in 1976, and, of course, George W. Bush in 2000 with 271. However, it's far easier to find presidents who cruised through with a bigger electoral victory. Herbert Hoover, considered one of the country's worst presidents, got a landslide victory of 444 electoral votes to his opponent's 87 in his first election in 1928. William Howard Taft got 321 votes in 1908, and there weren't even as many states in 1908.
There's one bottom line: this was a historic election in many ways. Children will surely have to read about it in their history books for decades to come — but don't listen to Trump when he says it was a historic landslide victory, because that's one thing that it most certainly was not. Period. End of story.