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A Divided Nation: As Trump Wins Electoral College, Clinton Wins Popular Vote

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John Nichols, political writer for The Nation, argues Donald Trump’s upset victory to win at least 270 Electoral College votes and become U.S. president is the result of an election process that does not reflect the popular will, as his rival Hillary Clinton appears set to win the popular vote. “America has a lousy, messed-up election system, and we count votes really slow,” he notes. “What will turn out to be the reality … is that Hillary Clinton will actually beat Donald Trump by perhaps the largest margin that any loser beat a winner by in the popular vote. It will grow quite a bit.” Nichols notes President Obama’s popular vote tally grew from 225,000 on election night to 5 million, and says he expects mass protests. His new article is titled “These Election Results Will Define America.”

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Transcript
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman. Yes, Donald Trump has been elected the 45th president of the United States, defeating Hillary Clinton in a stunning upset that reverberated around the world. Trump carried at least 279 Electoral College votes to Clinton’s 218, although Trump appears to have narrowly lost the popular vote.

To talk more about Donald Trump’s triumph, we’re joined now by a number of guests.

John Nichols is with us, political writer for The Nation. His new article, “These Election Results Will Define America.”

Linda Sarsour is joining us, director of the first Muslim online organizing platform, MPower Change, co-founder of Muslim Democratic Club of New York.

Jose Antonio Vargas is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and filmmaker. He’s the founder and editor of #EmergingUS and founder of Define American. He famously came out of the shadows in 2011 in The New York Times Magazine with his story, “My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant.”

Nikole Hannah-Jones is with us, award-winning reporter covering racial injustice at The New York Times Magazine.

And joining us on the phone, longtime investigative journalist Wayne Barrett, who’s been reporting on Donald Trump for decades. His 1991 biography of Donald Trump was just republished in paperback with the title Trump: The Greatest Show on Earth: The Deals, the Downfall, the Reinvention.

John Nichols, let’s begin with you.

JOHN NICHOLS: Well, let me offer a minor corrective to one of the things you said. You said that Hillary Clinton is narrowly ahead in the popular vote. America has a lousy, messed-up election system, and we count votes really slow. What will turn out to be the reality, because at least a third of the California vote is still uncounted—it looks to be, when I look at those numbers—is that Hillary Clinton will actually beat Donald Trump by perhaps the largest margin that any loser beat a winner by in the popular vote. It will grow quite a bit. And I followed this in 2012. Barack Obama’s win grew from the night of victory from 225,000 to 5 million. And so, what we have in our country today is a reality that we have a new president, who in most countries in the world would not be president, because in most countries in the world the person who wins the popular vote becomes president. We should begin with that, not to comfort ourselves overly much, but to recognize that we have had a result that is a product of an election system that is a mess and that was designed a very long time ago to produce results that didn’t necessarily reflect the popular will. For those of us who are unsettled by Donald Trump’s election, that’s an important beginning point.

One other element I would throw in, though. I’ve covered the new Republican Party. This is the Republican Party that came into existence after Barack Obama’s election. This Republican Party understands that when it gets power, it uses it quickly. And this is an important thing. Donald Trump will assume the presidency with a Republican House and Senate. If we look at the pattern from the states from 2011, they will move very rapidly on elements of their agenda. And I would counsel that Donald Trump was elected on the most right-wing platform in the history of the Republican Party, a platform that is filled with economic and social proposals that are more strongly backed by his congressional caucuses than by him. So, I would simply suggest that we are at a radical pivot point in this country. And on the eve of the election, Newt Gingrich said that he anticipated, if Donald Trump was elected, there would be mass protests and a great division in this country. I would suggest that that is very likely to be the case and, frankly, very necessary, because we cannot say to a man who lost the popular vote that we accept your radical agenda.

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