President-elect Donald Trump lost the popular vote, by millions of votes. Although he won the Electoral College, and thus the presidency, he is losing by every other metric.
Donald Trump won the presidency in a very curious way. The Washington Post’s Philip Bump observes: “More Republicans voted for someone besides Trump than voted for him in the primary, but he won. More Americans voted for Trump’s opponent in the general, but he won.”
And it is more than just winning with fewer votes: Nate Silver points out that Trump “will soon become the first president who failed to win a majority of the vote either in the general election or in his primary.”
That is to say: Trump is the losing-est winner to be elected to the presidency.
His supporters say that does not matter. As does his campaign manager and key advisor Kellyanne Conway.
"Road to 270" all those fancy maps and graphics said…don't recall any that said, "Road to Popular Vote"
— Kellyanne Conway (@KellyannePolls) November 30, 2016
But it does matter that Trump lost the popular vote, by millions of votes. It matters that he did not even emerge from his party’s primary with a clear mandate for his agenda.
And all the other things the Loser President has lost matter, too.
He has lost any semblance of confidence in his competency, already telegraphing his indifference to doing the job by eschewing press conferences and intelligence briefings, and by skipping town on an ego-flattering glory tour.
He has clearly lost power within his own administration, before he has even been inaugurated: Trump reportedly wanted a vice president who “would be in charge of domestic and foreign policy,” leaving him free to “make America great again,” and it is evident that Mike Pence is now running the show, as the Cabinet so far has Pence (and his agenda) written all over it.
Trump has thus lost status, because, the truth is, he is not delegating to free himself up for loftier strategy, but because he is feckless and cannot do the job himself.
He has lost, through his reprehensible campaigning, every shred of good will, trust, or faith among those who did not vote for him — people who cannot afford to give him a chance, because he has used every chance he has ever been given to harm people like them.
He has lost even a baseline level of respect, entering office with the lowest favorability ratings of any incoming president since Gallup began that measure.
From Gallup… Trump still isn't popular or close to it. pic.twitter.com/No8gcXIL6b
— (((Harry Enten))) (@ForecasterEnten) November 17, 2016
He has lost what vanishingly little credibility he had left, in delegitimizing his own victory by lying about voting fraud.
He has lost the debate, such as it was, about his fitness for the presidency, utterly failing his first diplomatic test.
And he has lost the argument about his temperament, unable to rein himself in from reactionary tweetstorming.
Losing the popular vote was only the beginning. And if, in some alternate reality, that does not matter, every other battle he has lost certainly does.