But Martosko is probably more aware than most of how Trump is feeling, having had the opportunity to meet with him one on one at Trump Tower after the election. That meeting was reportedly focused on the possibility of Martosko joining Trump's administration as his press secretary. This isn't confirmed — few rumors that trickle down from the upper floors of the tower are — but if the conversation was an interview, Martosko has yet to publish one. Business Insider, among others, questioned whether Martosko should still cover Trump, given that possible conflict.
Martosko is still covering Trump, and then some. On Wednesday, he wrote an article for the site that picks up on a well-worn theme among supporters of the president-elect: Trump won the popular vote easily if you simply ignore the votes from California and New York. The article quickly got the Drudge Report's stamp of approval, and it rapidly filtered out across social media.
Martosko's point is absolutely true. Ignore the votes in California alone and Trump, the Republican nominee, wins the popular vote by 1.4 million. Erase the margin in New York, and he wins by 3.1 million. (Martosko's numbers for New York are actually a little low, for some reason.)
But look at this! [waves magic wand] Count up every state except Alabama and Indiana, and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton won by 3.8 million votes! Tally every state except the conservative strongholds of Tennessee and Texas, and Clinton's popular vote margin swells to 4.3 million! Whoa! Wow! What?!?
As it turns out — and bear with me here — if you slice away a large part of the tally from either candidate, the margin shifts strongly toward the other candidate. I've done some math to prove this, but it's probably too complex for the purposes of this article. This doesn't actually tell us anything about the result, of course, except that Californians preferred Clinton and Texans preferred Trump. It's not even a new argument; The Fix wrote about it Monday and Tuesday after it cropped up.
Martosko goes on to quote former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) to make the case for why the popular vote doesn't even matter anyway. “This is football season,” Gingrich said, contrasting the popular vote with the electoral vote. “A team can have more yards and lose the game. What matters is how many points you put on the board.”
It's true that Trump won the metric that mattered — electoral votes — and it is why he is the president-elect. But as I pointed out Monday, the analogy isn't quite right. It's more like if the Super Bowl measured its winner by offensive yardage totals after regular-season and playoff winners were determined by points. Strategies would indeed change, and the team with more yardage would win — but you might expect a bit of grumbling by the team that scored more points. Defenders of the yardage winners might even argue that you should ignore all the points that were scored off interceptions returned for touchdowns.
As The Washington Post's Dave Weigel noted on Twitter, there's a particularly weird subtext to Martosko's inclusion of New York in his tally. New York is a blue state — that's also the birthplace of and home to Trump. If it's a liberal bastion whose votes should be discounted, that means throwing out the vote of Trump himself, which seems like an odd argument to make.
A word of suggestion for Martosko, should he indeed be in the mix for a job at the White House: Don't tell your new boss that you once argued for ignoring his vote. Probably wouldn't go over well.