When you have a presidential election you really don’t have one election. What you have are some 50 elections in the states. Each state determines how its electoral votes are to be allocated.
We should remember that until the passage of the Twelfth Amendment after the election of 1800 the person with the most electoral votes was the President and the runner up was the Vice President. In 1796 this had produced the situation where John Adams was elected President and Thomas Jefferson was the Vice President .Having the rivals as President and Vice President was cumbersome at best and led to the Twelfth Amendment.
There have been several Presidents who have been plurality Presidents, that is they received the most votes in the election but they did not achieve a majority of the popular vote.
Who were these Presidents? Woodrow Wilson received 42% of the popular vote in 1912 and 49% in 1916. Harry Truman in 10948 and John F. Kennedy in 1960 both failed to receive a majority vote. In 1968 a victorious Richard Nixon attracted 43% of the vote and the popular Bill Clinton achieved only 43% in 1992. Vice President Al Gore and Governor George W. Bush attracted 48% in the hotly contested election of 2000.
It wasn’t until after the election of 1824 that candidates began to be chosen by party conventions. The standard procedure was for members of congress and other notables to pick a candidate as the result of a meeting called the caucus .In the cases of Rutherford B. Hayes, Benjamin Harrison, George W. Bush and Donald Trump these men were elected to the presidency despite the fact that each lost in the popular vote.
And what of the act of voting itself? Voting in the United States is a privilege and not a legal requirement as it is in some democracies. At times voter turnout has been less than enthusiastic. In 1980 only 53% of registered voters voted. In 1984, again only 53%. In 1988 the figure was 57% and in 1992, 55%. Only 51% of the registered voters went to the polls in 2000. Figures for more recent election are a little better. Turnout in 2004 was 62% followed by 64% in 2008 but the election in 2012 attracted only 58% of the voters and the same thing happened in 2012.
Some say that the House of Representatives is the saucer and the Senate is the cup. Tumult in the 435 member House and reflection in the 100 member Senate. In the House the states with large populations like California, New York, Florida and Illinois hold sway while in the Senate a state like North Dakota which until the oil boom of recent years actually had fewer people than it had before it became a state is the equal of California and New York as all state regardless of size or population have two senators.
I am a citizen of the city of Roswell and Fulton County and the State of Georgia and the United States. It is important to remember that the first ten amendments to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, are fundamentally a listing of things that government and particularly the federal government cannot do to the states or the citizenry.