When I got into writing this article, it became so cumbersome and long that it would not be appropriate for this venue…..far too lengthy and confusing….so, I went onto several sites, both right and left, to see what the main arguments were and I have reduced it down to four bullet points each. However, with everyone’s permission, I think it appropriate to tackle the four MAIN issues one at a time for debate purposes and to keep individual responses focused. So here goes.
Sometime back, or, back yonder a ways, Buck and I had some discussions on the electoral college process. I had actually come down on the side of “perhaps we need a change but I am against the popular vote”. Since then, I have thought about it a lot (too much actually) and have changed my position to the electoral college is still the best way to go. Consequently, I went through over 50 different sites and basically “boiled ‘er down” to the following four bullet points.
Arguments Against the Electoral College
Those who object to the Electoral College system and favor a direct popular election of the president generally do so on four grounds:
- the possibility of electing a minority president
- the risk of so-called “faithless” Electors,
- the possible role of the Electoral College in depressing voter turnout, and
- its failure to accurately reflect the national popular will.
Arguments for the Electoral College
Proponents of the Electoral College system normally defend it on the philosophical grounds that it:
- contributes to the cohesiveness of the country by requiring a distribution of popular support to be elected president
- enhances the status of minority interests,
- contributes to the political stability of the nation by encouraging a two-party system, and
- maintains a federal system of government and representation.
As you can readily see, each topic (and there are many more) could become very cumbersome…. so, let us start with the most basic argument first. However, there is one thing that needs to be recognized in the annals of political history……THE USE OF THE TERM MINORITY DOES NOT REFER TO RACE. Now, let us move on.
The first major argument against the electoral process is the possibility of electing a minority POTUS. This means that the opponents of the electoral process want “One Person, One Vote”, winner take all. The argument for the electoral process is “Not fair…..if one person, one vote were the rule, then population centers would control the POTUS and the rest of the country be damned.”
All of us remember on the school grounds growing up…well, us old codgers remember well…. trying to pick baseball or football teams during recess. In trying to make the selection fair, the two best players would then become team captains and each captain took turns selecting their teams….one at a time…. all the way down usually from best to worse. As kids on the play-ground, we figured out real quick the most fair way to choose. Kids usually do. The choices were across the spectrum and everyone got to play and each team was as close to equal as possible. And, often times, it was discovered that a kid that was not a jock or popular actually had a chance to shine when it was his time to catch the pass or get up to bat or field a pitch.
So, I think I have taken a very logical approach….I have researched each individual state by popular vote. My sources were across the Spectrum as well….MSNBC, CNN, FOX NEWS, Politico, Huffpo, and the National Archives. As you can readily see, I picked only one conservative source. Here is what I have found. Every single state’s electoral votes went in accordance with the popular vote…less one. The State of Maine had one electoral vote that went for Trump even though the popular vote went for Clinton. Ms. Clinton won 20 States and Washington DC while Mr. Trump won 30 States. Each state has electors on the basis of population. Each State has two Senators and a mathematical number of representatives based on population. Each state elects their own electoral college representatives. So each state has a say. And since the electoral college process is based on population, I can see no logical repudiation of this process. This country was founded upon state representation. Each state has a voice. Each state has an amount of electors in accordance with its population. Hence, California has 55 electoral votes to Wyoming’s 3. The reason the founders wanted this type of representation was to keep certain population centers from controlling any election. Pretty smart actually. So the electors are divided and assigned according to population in any event. That seems to me that both issues are handled.
So, here is some math to consider. Trump wins 30 states in population and in electoral votes to equal 306. Clinton wins 20 States and Washington DC in population and electoral votes to equal 232. No population center or centers should ever control a country. California and New York do not a country make. But every state…… a country is made.
I think that another way to look at this are the key states that voted in Trump’s direction. Most of these states did not even reach a 50% popular vote in either direction. For example: Arizona 49.5% went Trump and 45.4 % went to Clinton. But the greater popular vote went to Trump and so goes the electoral vote. The same went for Michigan, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Utah…………….all these states did not make 50% of the popular vote but Trump still pulled the popular vote in these states and so goes the electoral votes. This is a great argument to make for the electoral college because each state had a say.
A fun math exercise to prove the point of the proponents of the electoral process…..Trump had a national total vote of 62,979,879…and Clinton had a total 65,844,954. In California, Clinton beats Trump…. 7,362,490 to 3,916,209 and in New York, Clinton beats Trump 4,143,874 to 2,640,570. Two population centers with impact….however, let us take the total of California and New York and subtract BOTH Trump and Clinton out of the picture. When you do that, Trump wins the popular vote 56,423,100 to Clinton 54,338,590 in 48 states. This paints a pretty hard picture of how two states could control the POTUS. This also points out how policy directed at population centers can also control votes….I will not publish the numbers here because it is a different subject but look at the welfare and food stamp roles in each state and compare them to the rest of the country even in percentage of population.
Ok, this is long enough…..who wants to join in?