|2016 County Map|
Trump / Hillary
In the light of the recent election results some have advocated the abolishment of the Electoral College in favor of electing candidates based solely on the popular vote. Here is one such effort from the Daily Kos...actionsprout.io/39C3FE/initial. It is interesting to note that the Daily Kos and others had no problem with the results of the last two Presidential election cycles.
Trump seems to have taken 30 out of 50 states winning 306 Electoral votes to Clinton's 232 (Trump's win in Michigan was made official on 11/12/16.). Clinton seems to have won New Hampshire by a razor thin margin while Trump took Michigan and Arizona in close contests. Even without AZ and MI Trump won 279 electoral votes to win the election.
Some have falsely claimed that Hillary actually won a majority of the popular votes. She did not. Final results are not yet in but she seems to be on track to have won about 47.8% of votes cast slightly ahead of Trump's 47.3.
This is the fifth time in US history that one candidate won the Electoral college while another won the popular vote. The winning candidate had fewer popular votes than their opponent in 1824, 1876, 1888, 2000 and, apparently, in 2016.
Before you sign the petition to "save American democracy" by abolishing the Electoral College you may want to consider the following...
1) The USA has never been a pure democracy. Our system of government is a Federal Republic. It is the states (and DC) that are empowered to select a President every four years. For many years US Senators were selected by state legislatures. The 17th Amendment to the Constitution only changed this in 1913. This means that instead of winning one big election candidates are forced to compete in 51 smaller contests.
2) The Electoral College is an old fashioned system. It may be a bit creaky but it has proven to work for hundreds of years. A popular vote system would be new and unproven. The Electoral college is a bit like champagne. A popular vote system would be more like Red Bull.
3) Because the Electoral College has many component parts (the states) it is also much harder to create a fraudulent result. This should be critical to anyone who cares about preserving fair elections.
4) But the Electoral College system is difficult for foreigners to understand? Chalk up another advantage for the Electoral College!
|American Samoa..Life is Unfair!|
JFK famously said, "Life is unfair". He was right about that. Is it unfair that residents of American Samoa do not have a voice in quadrennial presidential general elections? Yes, get over it. Is it unfair that residents of American Samoa do not have dig out their driveways from six feet of snow every January. Yes, Life is unfair. Get over it.
6) Do some Americans votes count more than others? Yes the ratio of electoral votes per voter is higher in a small state with 3 electoral votes like Montana than it is in a big state like California. Again, life is unfair. Get over it.
6) But isn't the US popular vote a better reflection of the popular will of the American people? No, not really. Due to the nature of the US system voter participation is suppressed in non-battleground states. Republican leaning voters in the blue states of New York or California are more likely to not vote assuming that their vote is irrelevant. Likewise, Democratic leaning voters in red state Wyoming are less likely to show up at the polls as well. These distortions imply that the total popular vote cannot really be taken as a reliable guide to the political will of the American people.
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