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Democrats: the Biggest Losers

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But they're not the only ones.

Since the election, there has been constant ranting from Democrats about how the Electoral College (EC) needs to be abolished. Meanwhile Republicans are smug with satisfaction over the results and feel absolutely no change is needed. Neither camp is completely right but let's review some of the facts and form a more reasonable opinion.

For those that don't know what the Electoral College is:

When you cast your vote for President you're not technically casting a vote for the candidate. You are actually voting for a slate of electors. Whichever party gets the most votes in each State has their appointed electors cast the votes for the President (occurring December 18th this year), and the candidate who receives the most of these votes wins the Presidency.

Here's the tricky part. The number of electors for each State is based on the number of Senators and Representatives the State has in Congress. So if you look at the ratios of population size to number of electors you'll find that some States have a ratio over twice as much as other States. Why was it created like this? That's outside the scope of this article but the common theories are: it was a concession to the slave States (allowing slaves to be counted as 3/5 of a person) to protect them, or that it was to protect the smaller states from being dictated to by larger ones.

The primary question is why does the Electoral College exist to begin with, and is it still relevant today? Many think the EC was created because the founding fathers felt the public couldn't be trusted to elect the President directly. In essence, they thought the public could get it wrong. That may be part of the reason, but they were also afraid of factions that could grow to be a large percentage of the population (remember there was far less population back then at 2.6 million people -- the same number of people in Chicago today) and that they could impose their will on other citizens even if that meant violating their rights.

The way it was initially designed the Electoral College was supposed to "preserve the sense of the people" as the electors could change their votes if they felt the public was not acting reasonably. But now it's become just a formality as the electors almost always vote along their party lines. Some Democrats are lobbying the Electoral College to change their votes (called faithless electors), but for the most part it's falling on deaf ears. Plus in some States the elector is bound by State law or by party pledge to vote along partisan lines.

The Electoral College has its issues, but it does have some advantages over a popular vote. To name a couple:

  1. If the results of a popular vote election were close, many (if not most) States could request recounts which would result in tremendous delays and conflict. With the current setup it only makes sense to recount in an individual State where the results were extremely close and only if the overall Electoral votes were projected to be close.
  2. It avoids issues where no candidate receives the majority of the popular vote. For example Nixon received only 43% of the popular vote in 1968 (due to Independent George Wallace). Similarly, Bill Clinton received only 43% of the popular vote in 1992 (due to Independent Ross Perot). But both won the majority of the electoral votes (the 270+ required). If the USA had been using popular vote there may have been a call for a "run-off" election.

I'll admit there are a host of problems with the electoral process in general, but the existence of the Electoral College is not necessarily one of them. For example, why are we stuck with what is essentially a two-party system? Why do Independents have practically no chance at winning an election? Why are the EC votes an all-or-nothing proposition (except in Maine and Nebraska), even in States that are won by the narrowest of margins? Why are the EC votes mostly carved in stone? Why do we allow the ridiculous redrawing of Congressional districts?

We're all losers.

There is no doubt the election process needs an overhaul but this has been needed for many decades, not just after the 2016 election. Where had all the outrage from Democrats been before Hillary lost? Even recently, when Trump bashed the Electoral College and when he said the elections were rigged, the Democrats said he was a sore loser and just preparing excuses for when he lost. They even mocked him for his continual dialogue about it. Now these same people are protesting the election results, demanding vote recounts, and calling for the complete dismantling of the Electoral College. Who's the sore loser now?

I'm all for change but let's base it on logic, reason, and common sense instead of on sheer emotion. Let's fully assess the system and see what we can do to improve it for all of America long-term, not just what we can do to get "our side" to win in the immediate future. Let's also examine the nomination procedures while we're at it because let's be honest: with the hundreds of millions of people in our great country, it's hard to believe these are the two best candidates we could come up with. It's clear we are all losers with the current system, it just so happens the Democrats are the biggest losers this time. But who will be the biggest losers next?

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Big Ed's picture
Big Ed is the Chief Editor for Bigatorial.
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