When President George W. Bush ran for re-election, his campaign prioritized the popular vote to vanquish doubts about his legitimacy after becoming the first president since 1888 to win the White House without it. Bush succeeded, winning the popular vote by 3 million in 2004. Fifteen years later, Republicans, lately confident about Trump’s re-election, are downplaying the symbolism of the popular vote.

“The popular vote is irrelevant because it’s not how our system works,” said Dan Eberhart, an energy executive and Republican donor in Arizona who supports Trump. “The president is right to focus on voters in states with the biggest number of electoral votes.”

Trump concurs. “The brilliance of the Electoral College is that you must go to many States to win,” he said in a Twitter post. “I used to like the idea of the Popular Vote, but now realize the Electoral College is far better for the U.S.A.”