Author Topic: The Electoral College: Should it be abolished?  (Read 9370 times)

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Offline Jim Nunziato

The Electoral College: Should it be abolished?
« on: November 23, 2016, 08:19:07 PM »
In the 2016 presidential election, the Democratic nominee received a majority of the popular vote, but lost the election to the Republican candidate, because of the Electoral College. The same thing happened in the 2000 Presidential election. This is the 5th time it has happened in the nation's 56 Presidential elections. How can the Electoral College allow this to happen? Shouldn't it go without a second thought that whomever wins the popular vote should win the Presidency?  Why do we have this Electoral Collage, who started it, and why is it set up the way it is?

A lot of people mistakenly believe that the United States is a democracy. It isn't. It is a Constitutional, Representative Republic. Our Founding Fathers did everything in their power to ensure we were NOT a democracy. In a pure democracy, simple majority (51%) rules.  That means 51% control the other 49%. In a republic, LAWS rule, not majority.

I suspect one would be hard pressed to find anyone who would not agree that every legitimate vote cast should count. With that concept in mind, let's look at a few numbers. I will use estimated numbers, based on various websites. They are not exact, but will serve to illustrate the concept.

According to estimates on various websites, total eligible voters in the 2016 Presidential election was somewhere around 231,556,622. Voter turnout is estimated to be around 58.4%, or somewhere around 135,228,196. If we divide the number of legitimate votes cast by two, 67,614,098 would equal 50%. Anything more than that would be the majority of the popular vote, and would elect the president. Since there were more than two candidates in the race for President, it would be very possible for none of the candidates to receive more than half of the legitimately cast votes, so whomever received the most votes, would be considered to have received the majority of all legitimately cast votes.

If the Nov 8th. Presidential election was one, large, national election, then the number of popular votes could very easily be accumulated by winning only the four most populated states, California, Texas, New York, and Florida. The total number of voters in just those four states alone, total around 100,578,929. But remember the concept of, "every legitimate vote should count?" If a candidate only needed to win four or five of the most populated states, how much of a voice would the lesser populated states have in the overall election? They would be rendered totally insignificant.

The Presidential election, is, in fact, fifty-one completely separate, and totally independent elections. There is a "Presidential election" in each of the fifty states, plus one more in the District of Columbia. Simple majority rules in each of those individual elections, and whichever candidate wins each state election, dictates how the ELECTORS in that state must vote.  The people do not directly elect the President of the United States. They never have, and hopefully, never will. Each state receives a number of ELECTORS determined by the total number of representatives it has in both houses of Congress. For example, if a state has 5 representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives, and 2 senators in the U.S. Senate, that state will carry 7 electoral votes in the Electoral College. With our current fifty states, there are a total of 538 electoral votes. When the Electoral College convenes, it takes a simple majority, (269 + 1 = 270 electoral votes) to win the Presidency. In order to win enough electoral votes to become President, a candidate must win a majority of the STATES. Remember the concept of every legitimate vote counting? If a simple "majority" win of the popular votes in the 4 most populated states were all that were needed to elect the President, then all the remaining votes in the remaining 46 states would be rendered insignificant.

This system of electing the President was established by our Founding Fathers, in our U.S. Constitution. It has once again come under scrutiny, by those who say it should be abolished. To do so would require a Constitutional amendment.

What do you think?

(Federalist Paper 68 and Anti-Federalist Paper 68 both deal with how we elect the President.) 

This is the Electoral College map for the 2016 Presidential election. The Democratic nominee may have won more popular votes in many fewer states, but note how many more STATES the Republican candidate won! If the popular vote directly elected the President, all of the votes in those smaller, less populated states would have been rendered irrelevant.

Now look at the all of the states by COUNTIES won by each candidate. If the popular vote alone (from just the most populated COUNTIES) directly elected the President, note how many MORE votes from the less populated counties would be rendered irrelevant.

The Electoral College ensures that in order to win the presidency, the winning candidate must win a majority of the STATES, not the popular vote in just the most populated counties and cities.
"I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend."  Thomas Jefferson

If Hillary was the answer, then it must have been a really stupid question!

Offline Janet Nunziato

Re: The Electoral College: Should it be abolished?
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2016, 09:23:53 PM »
Very well stated, Jim.  You've explained the purpose and effect of the  Electoral Collage very precisely.  I hope those who read this and participate in this poll will, also, grasp the importance of the EC as an integral part of our electoral process.

Offline Jim Nunziato

Re: The Electoral College: Should it be abolished?
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2016, 09:51:51 PM »
And here are a few more facts about why we have (and need to keep) the electoral college.

There are 3,141 counties in the United States. Trump won 3,084 of them, and Clinton won only 57.

There are 62 counties in the state of New York. Trump won 46 of them, and Clinton won only 16.

Clinton won the national popular vote by approx. 1.5 million votes.

In the 5 counties that encompass NYC, (Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Richmond & Queens) Clinton won 4 of them- Trump won Richmond.  With only 4 of those 5 counties, Clinton received well over 2 million more votes than Trump. Therefore, these 4 counties alone, more than accounted for Clinton winning the national popular vote of the entire country.

These 4 counties comprise 319 square miles. The United States is comprised of 3,797,000 square miles.

When you have a country that encompasses almost 4 million square miles of territory, it is ludicrous to even suggest that the votes of those who inhabit a mere 319 square miles should dictate the outcome of a national election.
"I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend."  Thomas Jefferson

If Hillary was the answer, then it must have been a really stupid question!