As of Wednesday afternoon, Hillary Clinton had accumulated upward of 200,000 more votes nationally than Donald Trump, yet he is the president-elect because he won the electoral vote, 279 to 228.
Clinton is the fifth candidate to win the popular vote and lose the race. This election has reminded some voters of 2000 when George W. Bush beat Al Gore by five electoral votes yet lost the popular vote.
According to the National Archives and Records Administration, the Electoral College system was established in the Constitution as "a compromise between election of the President by a vote in Congress and election of the President by a popular vote."
Over 700 proposals have been submitted to change or overturn the Electoral College, but none have been passed by Congress and sent to states for ratification as a constitutional amendment. In order to modify the Constitution, an amendment would have to be proposed by a two-thirds majority in Congress and ratified by three-fourths of the states, according to NARA.
With election results coming to light, voters have been discussing the national popular vote, which would guarantee the presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes across the nation.
Bob Shrum, a political science professor at USC, doesn't think the Electoral College will ever go away.
"That's the way the system has worked forever," he said. "That's just the way it is, and it's not going to change."
Shrum does think it makes sense to drop the Electoral College but doesn't foresee it happening.
"You would have to have a single uniform system of voting," he said. "You would have to have a nonpartisan commission to administer it. You might even use paper ballots and have a very secure counting process. But that's not going to happen. States are not going to agree to move away from the Electoral College. It gives small states extra power."
Paul Kovich, an undergraduate student adviser in the department of political science, said the Electoral College gives small states extra power that they deserve.
"If there was no electoral vote, the candidates would just completely ignore the rural areas and just go to the urban areas where the big populations are," he said. "They wouldn't go to the small states. Small states with electoral votes can be very important to the election."
Kovich, like Shrum, doesn't believe America will ever rely solely on the popular vote.
"I don't think there would ever be a change because the small states wouldn't be represented and small states would never vote for it," he said. "It was a very close election on the popular vote, but I don't think we'll ever abolish the Electoral College."
Caroline Reisch, a sophomore studying political science, said she doesn't know whether getting rid of the Electoral College is the right thing to do.
"I think it is easy to say that the popular vote should be all that matters when your candidate wins the popular vote and not the electoral vote, but I am not sure what the long-term consequences of that change would be," she said.
But Reisch argues that perhaps the electoral vote leads to voter apathy, since some people don't believe their vote really counts.
"While using the Electoral College is useful since it simplifies the millions of people in our nation, I think there are significant drawbacks," she said. "In many ways, the Electoral College oversimplifies the vote, making it so that people feel as if their voices aren't being heard even when they go to the polls to cast their vote."
Shrum said there is no evidence that having an Electoral College leads to voter apathy. In fact, USA Today reported that voter turnout, as measured by county, was up in more than half the country this year.
"Voter turnout and interest was extremely high in 2008 and 2012," he said. "It was lower on the Democratic side this year, which I think was a reflection of the lack of enthusiasm that a lot of people felt early on for Hillary Clinton's candidacy."
Reisch is disappointed that, if not for the Electoral College, Clinton would be president-elect.
"It makes me incredibly frustrated that had the popular vote been the deciding factor, Hillary Clinton would have won," she said. "In the end, our democracy is about people having a voice, and it seems counterintuitive that the majority of people voted for her yet she is not going to be our next president. But it also makes me wonder if aspects of the Electoral College process could be improved to prevent this type of discrepancy in the future, especially since it has already happened in elections past."
Kovich, of the political science department, still has hope for America's future.
"I think he'll be very good in unifying the country," he said of Trump. "Now that the election's over, he was elected as a populist president and he certainly knows the art of the compromise. He should be able to work with both the Senate and the House to get things done and reach out to the American people. He's not conservative, he's very pragmatic, and I think we might be surprised about how much will be accomplished during his term."
Reach Staff Reporter Charlotte Scott here.