A reflection on the presidential election.

updated on Nov 23rd.
If it were up to me here’s how I think the election results should be communicated:

Historical Perspective
Biden received 51.0% of the vote, the highest percentage for a challenger since FDR in 1932, and the highest share of eligible voters voted (65.4%) since 1972.

Popular Vote Margin in Context
The margin of victory is greater than 6.01 million votes. That’s more than the total number of votes cast in 11 states (WY, AK, ND, VT, SD, DE, RI, HI, MT, ME, and WV). Combined these states account for 38 electoral votes (EVs). If voters were distributed in the most efficient way possible to collect EVs, i.e., each state was won by 1 vote until Biden’s margin of victory was fully allocated, Biden would obtain 499 EVs (winning every state except TN, AL, ID, KY, and OK). Biden’s margin of victory is more than double the total number of votes for third party candidates* (2.85 million).

State Margins in Context
The combined margin of victory in AZ, GA, WI, and NE EV-2 was 66,024 votes. If those went to Trump it would result in a 269-269 EV tie. Jorgensen received more votes than Biden’s margin of victory in AZ, GA, WI without which Biden would have reached exactly 270 EVs. Jorgensen vote total in PA was 1,094 votes less than the margin of victory, which would prevent Biden from 270 EVs. Jorgensen obtained 1.85 million votes nation wide (1.2%). Trump’s margin of victory in NC (74k) was smaller than the combined vote for third party candidates (82k).

Votes Received in Context

CandidatePercentage of eligible vote received
None – did not vote34.62%
All others0.26%
Rather than percentage of votes cast, percentage of votes received relative to the total number of eligible voters (239,247,182).

The Electoral College in Context
What if an alternative metric, other than population, was used to allocate congressional districts and those 435 EVs? If Q4 2019 income or 2019 GDP by state was used Biden would have received 321 EVs or 324 EVs respectively. In those scenarios Trump would need to have flipped PA, or NV and PA, in addition to AZ, GA, WI, and NE EV-2.

What if the all 538 EVs were allocated by population to avoid skewing representation toward rural states? Biden would have received 312 EVs but Trump would still need to have flipped both NV and PA in addition to AZ, GA, WI, and NE EV-2.

The Youth Vote in Context

*Defining third party as any vote not for Biden or Trump, including write-in votes and votes for independent candidates.


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