charset=utf-8" />

User Rating: / 0
Written by Barry Kowal   
Nov 20, 2016 at 04:10 PM

   In 40% of the US Presidential elections this century the candidate who won the popular vote lost the election. In the 2000 election Al Gore won the popular vote by having 543,895 more votes than George W. Bush.Had Gore won his home state of Tennessee he also would have won the electoral vote.
  Now in the 2016 US Presidential election Hillary Clinton has won the popular vote by having 1,322,095 more votes than Donald Trump. Hillary was rather elitist and pandered to her donors on Wall Street and the Silicon Valley while ignoring her base like the blue collar workers.This caused states like Pennsylvania,West Virginia, Ohio,Michigan and Wisconsin (which normally vote Democrat) to vote for Donald Trump and it cost Hillary the keys to the White House.
  Now many of Hillary supporters are angry and want to abolish the electoral college.
Proponents of the electoral college would say we have used this system now for over
200 years and it has always worked. Granted the system is skewed more likely to benefit Republicans but the Democratic candidate should know this. Obama knew it and he won. So,really Hillary has no one to blame but herself.
  Slavery had much to do with the creation of the electoral college. Standard civics-class accounts of the Electoral College rarely mention this real demon dooming the direct national elections in 1787 and 1803.
   At the Philadelphia convention,the visionary Pennsylvanian James Wilson proposed direct national election of the president. But the savvy Virginian James Madison responded that such a system would prove unacceptable to the South:"The right of suffrage was much more diffusive [i.e., extensive] in the Northern than the Southern States; and the latter could have no influence in the election on the score of Negroes." In other words,in a direct election system,the North would outnumber the South,whose many slaves (more than half a million in all) of course could not vote. But the Electoral College "a prototype of which Madison proposed in this same speech" instead let each southern state count its slaves,albeit with a two-fifths discount,in computing its share of the overall count.
  There have been many books written on why there shouldn't be an electoral college
and why there should be.
  The Electoral College is widely regarded as an anachronism, a nondemocratic
method of selecting a president that ought to be superseded by declaring the
candidate who receives the most popular votes the winner. The advocates of this position are correct in arguing that the Electoral College method is not democratic in a modern sense. The US Constitution provides that "Each State shall appoint,in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress." And it is the electors who elect the president, not the people.When you vote for a presidential candidate you're actually voting for a slate of electors.
   But each party selects a slate of electors trusted to vote for the party's nominee (and that trust is rarely betrayed). Because virtually all states award all their electoral votes to the winner of the popular vote in the state, and because the Electoral College weights the less populous states more heavily along the lines of the Senate (two Senators and two Electoral College votes for every state, and then
more electoral votes added for each state based on population).
    There are five reasons for retaining the Electoral College despite its lack of democratic pedigree;all are practical reasons, not liberal or conservative reasons.
1) Certainty of Outcome
  A dispute over the outcome of an Electoral College vote is possible-it happened in 2000 and now in 2016-but it's still less likely than a dispute over the popular vote. The reason is that the winning candidate's share of the Electoral College invariably exceeds his share of the popular vote. In the 2012 US Presidential election,for example,Obama received 61.7 percent of the electoral vote compared to only 51.3 percent of the popular votes cast for him and Romney. Because almost all states award electoral votes on a winner-take-all basis, even a very slight plurality in a state creates a landslide electoral-vote victory in that state. A tie in the nationwide electoral vote is possible because the total number of votes "538"is an even number, but it is highly unlikely. 
   Of course a tie in the number of popular votes in a national election in which tens of millions of votes are cast is even more unlikely. But if the difference in the popular vote is small, then if the winner of the popular vote were deemed the winner of the presidential election, candidates would have an incentive to seek a recount in any state (plus the District of Columbia) in which they thought the recount would give them more additional votes than their opponent. The lawyers would go to work in state after state to have the votes recounted, and the result would be debilitating uncertainty, delay,and conflict' look at the turmoil that a dispute limited to one state, Florida, engendered in 2000.
2) Everyone's President
The Electoral College requires a presidential candidate to have transregional appeal. No region (South, Northeast, etc.) has enough electoral votes to elect a president. So a solid regional favorite, such as Trump was in the South, has no incentive to campaign heavily in those states, for he gains no electoral votes by increasing his plurality in states that he knows he will win. This is a desirable result because a candidate with only regional appeal is unlikely to be a successful president. The residents of the other regions are likely to feel disfranchised,to feel that their votes do not count,that the new president will have no regard for their interests, that he really isn't their president.
3) Swing States
The winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes induces the candidates to focus their campaign efforts on the battle ground states; that follows directly from the candidates' lack of inducement to campaign in states they are sure to win. Voters in toss-up states are more likely to pay close attention to the campaign "to really listen to the competing candidates" knowing that they are going to decide the election. They are likely to be the most thoughtful voters, on average (and for the further reason that they will have received the most information and attention from the candidates), and the most thoughtful voters should be the ones to decide the election.
4) Big States
The Electoral College restores some of the weight in the political balance that large states (by population) lose by virtue of the mal-apportionment of the Senate decreed in the Constitution. This may seem paradoxical, given that electoral votes are weighted in favor of less populous states. But, all things being equal,a large state gets more attention from presidential candidates in a campaign than a small states does. And since presidents and senators are often presidential candidates, large states are likely to get additional consideration in appropriations and appointments from presidents and senators before as well as during campaigns, offsetting to some extent the effects of the malapportioned Senate on the political influence of less populous states.
5) Avoid Run-Off Elections
The Electoral College avoids the problem of elections in which no candidate receives a majority of the votes cast. For example, Nixon in 1968 ,Clinton in 1992 and Trump in 2016 all had less than 50 percent plurality of the popular votes, while winning a majority in the Electoral College (301,370 and 306 electoral votes, respectively). There is pressure for run-off elections when no candidate wins a majority of the votes cast; that pressure, which would greatly complicate the presidential election process, is reduced by the Electoral College, which invariably produces a clear winner.
Against these reasons to retain the Electoral College the argument that it is undemocratic falls flat. No form of representative democracy, as distinct from direct democracy, is or aspires to be perfectly democratic. Certainly not our federal government. In the entire executive and judicial branches, only two officials are elected-the president and vice president. All the rest are appointed.
   It can be argued that the Electoral College method of selecting the president may turn off potential voters for a candidate who has no hope of carrying their state-Democrats in Texas, for example, or Republicans in California. Knowing their vote will have no effect, they have less incentive to pay attention to the campaign than they would have if the president were picked by popular vote, for then the state of a voter's residence would be irrelevant to the weight of his vote. But of course no voter's vote swings a national election, and in spite of that, about one-half the eligible American population did vote in the last election. Voters in presidential elections are people who want to express a political preference rather than people who think that a single vote may decide an election. Even in one-sided states, there are plenty of votes in favor of the candidate who is sure not to carry the state. So I doubt that the Electoral College has much of a turn-off effect. And if it does, that is outweighed by the reasons for retaining this seemingly archaic institution. Further, in all states there are other races besides the presidential race on the ballot.
  So, when Hillary supporters make an argument to abolish the electoral college they sound like sour grapes. Especially now with a Republican controlled Congress they more than likely won't get any mileage. However, if the Democrats were to gain control of congress a better alternative would be to retain the electoral college but adjust the delegate count to be more reflective of the people. Allow me to articulate.
    Wyoming has a population of  584,153 people (probably more cows than people) and it receives three (3) electoral votes. Which means one electoral vote equals about 194,718 people. While California is estimated to have a population of 39,144,818 and it receives fifty-five (55) electoral votes. Which means one electoral vote equals about 711,724 people in California. This means that one person's vote in Wyoming equals the vote of 3.66 people in California. In other words some cow hands voice in Wyoming's is almost four (4) times stronger than some billionaire living in Beverly Hills. There should be delegates in California proportional to the delegates in Wyoming. That would be more reflective of the American public.This is the argument that Democrats should be putting forward.


Last Updated ( Nov 20, 2016 at 06:58 PM )

Who Is The Most Influential Artist Of The 2020's?
Who Is The Most Influential Artist Of The 2010's?
Who Is The Most Influential Artist Of The 2000's?
Who Is The Most Influential Artist Of The 1990's?
Who Is The Most Influential Artist Of The 1980's?
Who Is The Most Influential Artist Of The 1970's?
Who Is The Most Influential Artist Of The 1960's?
Who Is The Most Influential Artist Of The 1950's?
Who Is The Most Influential Artist Of The 1940's?
Who Is The Most Influential Artist Of The 1930's?
Who Is The Most Influential Artist Of The 1920's?
Who Is The Most Influential Artist Of The 1910's?
Who Is The Most Influential Artist Of The 1900's?
Who Is The Most Influential Artist Of The 1890's?