Michael Moore has warned Donald Trump could lose the popular vote by 5 million but still win the 2020 election, given the Electoral College system. In 2016, Mr Trump won almost 3 million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton but comfortably won the election by winning key states.
Mr Moore, who correctly predicted Mr Trump’s first election victory, has warned that the same thing could happen in 2020, even with a bigger victory for the Democratic candidate in the popular vote.
“I believe whoever the Democrat is next year is going to win by 4 to 5 million popular votes,” Michael Moore, the filmmaker told Democracy Now.
“The problem is… if the vote were today, I believe, he [Mr Trump] would win the electoral states that he would need because living out there, I will tell you, his level of support has not gone down one inch.”
“In fact, I’d say it’s even more rabid than it was before, because they’re afraid now,” he added.
“They’re afraid he could lose, because they watched his behaviour. So they are voracious in their appetite for Donald Trump.”
Mr Moore also warned Democrats against picking a so-called moderate candidate and giving voters “another Hillary Clinton” if they want to win in 2020.
“If we go that route, it’s guaranteed we will lose the Electoral College. We will win when we put somebody on that ballot that excites the base – women, people of colour, young people,” he said.
Joe Biden, the former vice president, is currently leading the Democratic nomination contest, with senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren in second and third place.
Recent polls have shown all three candidates could beat Mr Trump in the popular vote but it is unclear how they would do in the Electoral College system.
Mr Moore has backed Mr Sanders for the Democratic nomination, but added he would also be satisfied with Ms Warren as the candidate.
Hours after the interview, Mr Trump appeared to endorse the filmmaker’s prediction by tweeting: “He made same prediction in 2016. Nobody ever said Michael was stupid!”
Mr Moore was one of the early mainstream commentators who called Mr Trump’s victory in 2016.
He also predicted that the Democrats would win in 2008 but wrongly predicted Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate, would win in 2012.
In US presidential elections, each state gets a number of electors based on its total number of representatives in Congress.
For example, Wyoming gets 3 electoral votes, while California gets 55 votes.
The system means it can be more useful for a candidate to win many states by small margins rather than win big majorities in large states.
In 2016, Ms Clinton won some populous states, such as New York and California, by more than 20 percentage points but lost swing states, such as Michigan and Pennsylvania, by less than one percentage point.
This allowed Mr Trump to win the election without winning the popular vote.