Minority Rule

It is often said that nearly half of Americans voted for Trump. For instance, Ami from Portland, Oregon, commented in the Times:

Clearly something has gone wrong in America for 46% of the country to have voted for this man.

- Ami, Comment on America in Retreat, an editorial by THE EDITORIAL BOARD, NYT, JUNE 3, 2017

But nowhere near half of Americans voted for Trump. Of those who voted, roughly 46% voted for Trump and roughly 48% for Clinton.

The Democrat outpaced President-elect Donald Trump by almost 2.9 million votes, with 65,844,954 (48.2%) to his 62,979,879 (46.1%), according to revised and certified final election results from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
- Gregory Krieg, It's official: Clinton swamps Trump in popular vote, CNN, December 22, 2016

But the 128,824,833 who voted for Clinton or Trump were only about 56% of the estimated 231,556,000 Americans eligible to vote. So only about 27.2% of eligible voters voted for Trump.

Americans eligible to vote, however, were only about 71% of the 2016 American population of 324,118,787. Thus Trump was voted into office by about 19% of Americans. Perhaps it makes sense to consider the percentage of those eligible to vote, rather than the percentage of all Americans, but even then the percentage who voted for him is approximately one quarter, rather than nearly one half.

(Though the figures above not entirely precise, they are in the ballpark. According to the Pew Research Center, in 2016 there were only 225,778,000 eligible voters, which would make the percentage of eligible voters who voted for Trump 27.9% rather than 27.2%.)

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