Donald Trump won the presidential election on Tuesday as millions of people were prevented from voting this year by rules that root back to the Civil War and were made to maintain white male political dominance. About 6.1 million people who were convicted of breaking laws could not cast ballots because of policies that keep felons off voter rolls, according to justice reform organization The Sentencing Project. And according to the most recent numbers from Florida, Wisconsin and Michigan, which is still counting, Hillary Clinton lost by a margin smaller than those banned from voting — many of whom are poor or black or both, which are groups that tend to vote Democrat. At the same time, Clinton garnered at least half a million more votes than Trump, but lost the Electoral College. This system gives each state a number of votes roughly proportioned to population — 538 in total — and the candidate who wins the majority of them, which will be officially counted in January, wins the election. The last time such an anomaly happened was during the hotly-contested 2000 presidential election, when Republican George W. Bush won the Electoral College, defeating Democrat Al Gore, who won the popular vote.
In 1787 James Madison introduced the Electoral College as an alternative to a popular vote system because, “Negroes” in the South presented a “difficulty … of a serious nature.”
A constitutional scholar says that these historical laws may have helped elect Trump, who is lauded by the Ku Klux Klan, an endorsement he renounced this month.
“To the extent that people are surprised by this result, it is because liberal whites have underestimated the past and continuing importance of racism and sexism as founding principles of the country,” said Juan Perea, a law professor at Loyola University Chicago.