There is a lot of discussion about abolishing the electoral college. Of course, Clinton supporters want it that way, because without it, Clinton would have won by over 2 percentage points. Even Trump, a couple of days before the election, was on a rampage against the electoral system:
There were several other tweets ridiculing the electoral system.
However, after he won the election, due to the electoral college, he quickly asserted that it was actually genius.
As everything with Trump, a man who does not seem to have any convictions or beliefs, other than what makes him look good at the moment or serves his own purpose, obviously flip-flopped from one day to the next.
And so did many Clinton supporters, after the devastating surprise of November 8 hit them.
So let’s look at the electoral college. Obviously, it was devised over 240 years ago and is rooted in our constitution. It was meant to force politicians to campaign in all states, in all areas, so everyone has a somewhat equal chance to meet the candidates.
There are some serious disadvantages related to the electoral system. For instance, if you are a Republican in a deep blue state, like California, or a Democrat in a deep red state, like Texas, your vote for the president in the general election is pretty meaningless. It gets drowned out, and it has no chance of making any difference in the election. The respective state isn’t going to fall because of your choice.
As of the last census in 2010, our nation has 318 million people.
California, with its population of 38.8 million, is larger than the 20 smallest states combined.
California, Texas, New York and Florida combined have a population of 105.4 million, or about one third of the total United States.
The largest nine states combined comprise half of the United States population.
This means that if we had a general popular election, the candidates would hang out in the biggest states and those states would, by and large, decide the election every time. Nobody would ever campaign in New Hampshire, Iowa, Wyoming, Vermont, and the list goes on. Campaigning would be limited to the large population centers, which happen to be clustered around the cities, which of course are (at least in the last election) for the most part blue. So yes, if it had been a popular election, Clinton would have won.
There is a big difference between a farm community in Iowa or Kansas, and the upper east side in Manhattan. The two types of people are likely very different, but the farmer in Iowa or Kansas would never see any politicians.
Following this train of thought, I do not think that the country should change the system of elections, no matter how arcane it seems. Europeans often criticize our system, but then again, they don’t have the kind of diversity and hugely different types of populations we have in the United States.
And finally, to change the system would require a constitutional amendment, regardless of what some activists are trying to tell us right now. To do it legally, the constitution needs to be changed, and in a country divided, this isn’t going to happen anytime soon.
Trump is trumpeting from his victory lap speeches that he won in a landslide.
Nonsense. Trump won very narrowly with some 80,000 votes in four swing states. But he won, and that’s that. The country elected president Trump, because the Democratic party, in its eight years of holding on to the presidency, did not unify the people enough to hold on to the gains of the Obama elections.
It’s the failure of the Democratic party, and Clinton’s shortfalls, that allowed this to happen.
Trump didn’t win this election. Clinton lost it.
And killing the electoral college for it makes no sense whatsoever.
2 thoughts on “To Kill or Not to Kill the Electoral College”
What about retaining the electoral college but replacing the winners-takes-all system by proportional assignment?
It might be a dampening effect, but since the smaller states have more impact per vote, it would simply magnify the vote of the voter in a small state. Each voter would simply count more. It’s akin to making votes not linear.