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Weighing the importance of the 2016 Popular Vote

by AirTalk®

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Local residents learn about the history of African-American voting in the US, review issues that will be on the ballot and register to vote during the 5th annual Power Fest Music and Art Festival in Martin Luther King Jr. Park on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016. Susanica Tam for KPCC

While it is a near certainty that California's Electoral College votes all will go to Hillary Clinton, the state's popular vote is not without power.

Republicans, Democrats, and Independents in Congress will have to gauge the popularity of the next president - and her or his mandate to govern - based partially on the popular vote. Considering the gridlock and rancor in Washington in recent years, is there an argument to be made that left-leaning voters should unify their support for the Democratic candidate and right-leaning voters should all support the Republican -- third-party candidates be damned?

In California, with Hillary Clinton's commanding lead in the polls, some voters are casting “protest votes” for either Jill Stein or Gary Johnson. Will that net the result they want? How much weight should federal lawmakers give to the popular vote?


Julian Zelizer, Professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University and a fellow at the New America Foundation. His latest book is, “The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress, and the Battle for the Great Society.” (Penguin Press, 2015)

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