If presidential elections were popular vote contests, Bush might have spent more than five minutes campaigning in big liberal states like California and New York. But under a winner-take-all regime, close doesn't count. If a Republican doesn't have a chance to actually win a state, he may as well lose in a landslide. Using the same logic, Gore didn't spend a lot of time campaigning in Texas (and Walter Mondale campaigned exclusively in Minnesota).
Consequently, under both the law and common sense, the famed "popular vote" is utterly irrelevant to presidential elections. It would be like the winner of "Miss Congeniality" claiming that title also made her "Miss America." Obviously, Bush might well have won the popular vote, but he would have used a completely different campaign strategy.
By contrast, there are no constitutional rules to follow with party primaries. Primaries are specifically designed by the parties to choose their strongest candidate for the general election.
Hillary's argument that she won the popular vote is manifestly relevant to that determination. Our brave Hillary has every right to take her delegates to the Democratic National Convention and put her case to a vote. She is much closer to B. Hussein Obama than the sainted Teddy Kennedy was to Carter in 1980 when Teddy staged an obviously hopeless rules challenge at the convention. (I mean rules about choosing the candidate, not rules about crushed ice at after-parties.)
And yet every time Hillary breathes a word about her victory in the popular vote, TV hosts respond with sneering contempt at her gaucherie for even mentioning it. (Of course, if popularity mattered, networks like MSNBC wouldn't exist. That's a station that depends entirely on "superviewers.")
After nearly eight years of having to listen to liberals crow that Bush was "selected, not elected," this is a shocking about-face. Apparently unaware of the new party line that the popular vote amounts to nothing more than warm spit, just last week HBO ran its movie "Recount," about the 2000 Florida election, the premise of which is that sneaky Republicans stole the presidency from popular vote champion Al Gore. (Despite massive publicity, the movie bombed, with only about 1 million viewers, so now HBO is demanding a "recount.")
So where is Kevin Spacey from HBO's "Recount," to defend Hillary, shouting: "WHO WON THIS PRIMARY?"
In the Democrats' "1984" world, the popular vote is an unconcept, doubleplusungood verging on crimethink. We have always been at war with Eastasia.