It’s official: Donald Trump has set a new popular vote record for the Republican Party following his big wins in West Virginia and Nebraska on May 1. As of Wednesday morning, according to the PPD Popular Vote Tracker, Mr. Trump has received more than 10,912,988 million popular votes. That tops the former record-holder George W. Bush, who received more than 10.8 million votes in 2000.
In April, Mr. Trump surpassed former 2012 Republican nominee and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and it became pretty clear he was going to break the record. Worth noting, the Bush family, to include both former presidents and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who was defeated by Mr. Trump and suspended his campaign after losing South Carolina, all have decided to skip the Republican National Convention this summer.
Interestingly, President Bush also set the record for the least number of votes in 2004. But that was his reelection bid and wasn’t opposed by any serious candidate. The previous no-vote record was held by President Ronald Reagan, won around 7.7 million votes in 1980 (don’t forget about population growth people).
The feat is actually understated by the raw numbers because, unlike the prior two primary cycles, the fields weren’t as large and the votes weren’t split by so much for such a long period of time. For example, Mr. Trump lost the Ohio Republican Primary to home state Gov. John Kasich with more votes than Hillary Clinton received when she won the Buckeye State. So, in a nutshell, there are still some in the Republican Party who want to stop the one candidate who excites voting and non-voting Americans from earning the nomination.
The voters behind these totals reside in several states Republicans have been unable to carry in a general election since 1988, to include Pennsylvania and other Rust Belt states. With the disproportional backing of working class voters, truly at levels we haven’t ever seen, recent polls show Mr. Trump can overwhelm Hillary Clinton in the Keystone State, where Gov. Romney lost to President Barack Obama by roughly 5 points.
To be sure, we are still very early in the cycle to be concerned with head-to-head polls. But these voters are the very voters the party will need if they hope to compete amid changing demographics in the U.S. And yet, the party has largely failed to heed the message.