Electoral College confirms Trump as next US president

The president-elect promised to "work hard to unite the country and be the president of all Americans."

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Trump garnered more than the 270 electoral votes required to win, even as at least half a dozen U.S. electors broke with tradition to vote against their own state's directives.

America's Electoral College confirmed Donald Trump's election as the 45th president of the United States on Monday, easily dashing long-shot hopes by a small movement of detractors to block him from winning the presidency, six weeks after his upset victory over his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

With all states voting, Trump finished with 304 votes and Clinton had 227. It takes 270 Electoral College votes to win the presidency. Texas put Trump over the top, despite two Republican electors casting protest votes.

Trump hailed his victory on Twitter. 

In a statement released by his team, the president-elect welcomed the "overwhelming vote" in his favour, while reaching out to the Democrats who sought against odds to block him.

The divisive nature of the campaign, Trump's provocative personality, and Clinton's lead of nearly three million votes in the popular tally combined to raise the stakes and resentment over what many Democrats thought was an illegitimate win by Trump. In recent weeks, revelations by the US intelligence community pointing to purposeful Russian meddling in the election brought politicians on both the left and right to condemn Trump as a tool of the Kremlin. 

The president-elect welcomed the "overwhelming vote" in his favour. (Reuters)

The Electoral College vote works like this: when US voters cast ballots on November 8, they did not directly elect the president but rather 538 electors charged with translating their wishes into reality.

A core of Democratic activists around the country had hoped to convince Republicans to cross lines and vote for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, who won the nationwide popular vote on November 8. Clinton won the popular vote by almost 3 million votes, but she won those votes in the wrong states, states that Democrats were bound to win anyway, like New York and California. Presidential candidates win each states' electors on a winner-takes all basis, a system meant to offset the power of populous states. 

She lost in crucial battleground states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, where Trump's message of economic populism and white nationalism resonated with citizens in rural areas. The enthusiasm of those voters, some of them casting ballots for the first time, put Trump over the top and confounded predictions of pollsters.

The result of the Electoral College vote led to calls from some Americans for reform of the system, in place since 1789 and intended to overrule the will of voters if the electors, most of them low level politicians and party representatives, thought the candidate who won was the wrong choice or the result of foreign intervention. At the time, the drafters of the Constitution thought British or French meddling would be responsible. 

Former contender for the Democratic nomination, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, added his voice to these on Twitter.

TRTWorld and agencies