state of pennsylvania

These two maps show the exact same thing - results of the 2016 presidential election in the lower United States. The upper map seems dire to people like me, who believe Donald Trump is a bad person in general and a horrible person for this most important office in the world. It looks like almost the entire nation choose Trump over other candidates. 

However, if you look at the lower map, things change a bit. Blue color is more present and although some places seem clearly red, others are more mixed. This is because circles, which represent counties, were scaled to total number of votes casted in a given county rather than geographical area of such county (as in the upper map). 

Nevertheless, Donald Trump won, even though more people voted for Hillary Clinton. This is because of a very strange U.S. presidential election system, where there is an intermediate body between popular vote results and election results - the electoral college. In effect, even though difference in votes in key states such as Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin was very slim, Trump got all electoral votes from those states. This electoral college system is also why third-party candidates rarely get much attention - people fear if they vote for a third party candidate, they risk the candidate they strongly oppose could win. 

As a person living in Europe, I find it surprising that the Americans have not changed their system to be up with times. Even if they want the electoral college to stay, there is still a matter of second turn. In Poland and many other democracies, presidential elections are often unresolved in first turn because no candidate has gained more than 50% of all votes. A second turn is then called, in which two candidates who got most votes in first turn can compete. 

It’s best to explain it on an example. Suppose you have 100 voters and three candidates. Candidate A got 32 votes, candidate B got 33 votes and candidate C got 35 votes. In the U.S., candidate C wins even though 65% of voters did not for this candidate! In Poland or France, since no candidate got 50%+1 of all votes, candidates B and C are invited to second turn. It might happen that candidates A and B had similar views and candidate C is someone like Trump. So in second turn, all candidate A voters casted their vote to candidate B and that candidate won with 65% of the vote. Clearly more democratic than the American system in my opinion.