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Win the vote but still lose? Behold the U.S. Electoral College

23 Comments
By Brendan Smialowsk

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The author and editors of this article ought to be ashamed for not doing basic fact checks.

It is untrue that no constitutional amendment has ever succeeded in modifying the electoral college. The 12th Amendment modified the electoral college. It is untrue that electors' names do not appear on ballots. States set rules for their own ballots, and the names of electors are printed below the presidential and vice-presidential candidates' names in many states. The notion of a "national popular vote" is a fiction. Each state sets its own rules about voter eligibility and registration. While the federal government has passed some laws relating to voting, there is no uniform national voting system. A person eligible to vote in one state might not be eligible under the rules of another state. As such, it's mixing apples and oranges when compiling all of the votes into a national total. That number is meaningless.

American presidential voting is a state-by-state contest. The only numbers that matter are the votinga results within each state. This is by design. America is not a populist wonderland, but a union of states. The people retain extensive rights, but the states select the president.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

but the states select the president.

And that must eventually change.

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This is by design. America is not a populist wonderland, but a union of states.

Exactly.

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"Beautiful" is how U.S. political outsider Donald Trump described his shock presidential win against rival Hillary Clinton on the night of November 8, 2016.

I breathed a huge sigh of relief and then partied hardy that night.

Why an Electoral College?

For one thing, it allowed us to overcome the 4 million plus vote advantage Clinton had in nutty California thus giving her the total popular vote nationwide, and dodge the Clinton bullet that would have been an unmitigated disaster of epic proportions for the U.S. and the world.

Here's a good explanation of why we have the Electoral College -

Why the Electoral College is Essential

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFGhX0hLy6E&t=176s

Three Reasons Why We Need the Electoral College

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K80msVnqaHE

Professor makes case for the Electoral College

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIPt0oZuYFU

Debate was rekindled with Trump's victory. If 2020's race is a nail-biter, then the Electoral College will surely return to the spotlight.

Trump's going to win in a landslide. But the spotlight won't be on the Electoral College this time, it'll be on all these unrequested universal mail-in ballots, some coming in 3 days after election day for crying out loud.

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A system designed by the (wealthy, land owning, elitist) founding fathers to ensure democracy had no say in it and power remained in the hands of the “right” sort of people, that is the wealthy elite.

To this day, money buys the election.

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A candidate who lost the election by 2.9 million votes, and then got sworn in as president.

A majority party in the Senate who got 15 million fewer votes than the minority party.

A Supreme Court nominee who has views out of the 19th century, whose views the people overwhelmingly reject, who will almost certainly win confirmation.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Considering how most democracies choose the prime minister by back room deals, I think the US system is rather straightforward. I voted for HRC and thought she would win. She is a smart woman and knew beforehand that she needed electoral votes, NOT just votes, but she chose to focus on left wing extremist issues like transgender bathrooms that are not of major concern to hard working middle class voters in the less liberal states.

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That was due to nutty California giving Clinton over 4 million more votes than Trump.

Of course, but if you take out the votes of the redneck flyover states, Clinton won by over 20 million. Which blows away your removal of California as being people who deserve a fair and equal vote.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The electoral college is a foundational pillar of democratic principles established by the states in a republic, as in the -united states-. It ensures, to the degree possible, that there is a fairness of equal say in government by a wide spectrum citizens; thus, an election is not decided by states with dense populations nor by city states, such as Atlanta, Ga, Chicago, il, and NYC, NY with politic-centric views, be they left or right.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The best thing about the EC as Serrano has stated

A candidate who lost the election by 2.9 million votes

That was due to nutty California giving Clinton over 4 million more votes than Trump.

Thankfully we have the Electoral College. Our Forefathers were wise indeed.

California and New York don’t get to decide the election for nation, we all get equally represented.

“The idea being that the average citizen wasn’t qualified to choose political leadership. So the political elite, created sort of fire wall against what they saw as excessive democracy. Thomas Jefferson was especially skeptical of direct democracy referring to it as ‘mob rule.’

“We also see the Electoral College serving to protect the interests of smaller, less populous states. This dis-proportionality is based on the fact that each state–regardless of population–maintains two senate seats. So states with a small population, like Wyoming, have a disproportional amount of representation when compared to large states like California.”

“Each state may have different rules for selecting electors. There are a total of 538 votes in the Electoral College. A candidate must win 270 of the 538 votes. State legislatures decide the allocation of Electoral College votes. Most states maintain a ‘winner-takes-all’ system in which all Electoral College votes are awarded to the candidate winning the popular vote.

“However, there are two examples of states where Electoral College votes are distributed on a more proportional basis. Maine and Nebraska grant two Electoral College votes to the candidate with the highest number of votes statewide, then they grant an Electoral College vote to the candidate winning the most votes in congressional districts (two in Maine, three in Nebraska). In these states, then, we can actually see the Electoral College votes being split between Republicans and Democrats.”

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It is interesting how some people will give lip service to the idea of democracy, or "fiscal responsibility," or "family values," until it is not in their personal interest to do so. At that point, principles go out the window, and hypocrisy comes front and center.

Which brings us to the issue of this article. Democracy is all well and good, until implementing democracy means the other party wins the election.

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California and New York don’t get to decide the election for nation, we all get equally represented.

The quotes you posted make it clear that, under the EC system, the people are not all equally represented. A vote in Wyoming is worth much more than a vote in California.

One advocates that a small group of elites only should be allowed to vote. This is in line with the Founders' belief that only wealthy, white, male landowners should be allowed to vote. Do you think we should return to that system?

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The Electoral College was hacked by Russian cyberhacking in 2016. I witnessed online myself. The USA had better take precautions and rein in the militia scum too.

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The quotes you posted make it clear that, under the EC system, the people are not all equally represented. A vote in Wyoming is worth much more than a vote in California. 

Yes and without it, California (Democrat State) would win every single time, add NY to that as well, I get it, the Dems want a one party rule, but the ECC keeps that from happening, levels the playing field and when the Dems win by it, never bothered them before, Trump wins it, now we have to abolish it. Smh...

Now if the Dems want to be stupid (again) and eliminate the EC just like they did with the Senate filibuster and it’s the Republicans time around they’re not going to like what they’ve done, so they really need to tread lightly on this.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

So you’re opposed to equality. You think that Democratic votes should be worth less (or, indeed, worthless). Great. That’s what I thought you believed. Good to have it in writing.

You also posted a quote in support of only wealthy white land owners being allowed to vote. Do you support that? This is the second time I’ve had to ask. Please don’t dodge again.

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So you’re opposed to equality.

No, that’s the reason why I support the electoral college. No dodge, never.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Without the economic engine that is California the US economy is greatly diminished. Without their highly productive agricultural sector and a with a climate that permits three crops per year you would not have fresh greens and many fruits in the middle of winter to early spring. There is a reason why the tech sector is centered in California and it isn't just the weather. Those weirdos you like to disparage invent things people all over the world want to buy and it is California's love of free thinking that allows this to flourish where other states are much more rigid and repressive. The way other states disparage California more or less guarantees the free thinkers will move there and build the California economy, and shun your backward little state.

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It is not equal representation when states with small populations have proportionally more Electoral College votes per voter in their states than the more populous states have. The current design of the Electoral College combined with the winner take all system for electoral votes used by most states guarantees the voters in the most populous states are under represented. That is wrong and must change.

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Now if the Dems want to be stupid (again) and eliminate the EC just like they did with the Senate filibuster and it’s the Republicans time around they’re not going to like what they’ve done, so they really need to tread lightly on this.

The Senate Filibuster has not been eliminated. It should be in my opinion but it has not been. Just yesterday the Senate voted on a Republican proposal for a "skinny stimulus" that failed because the Republicans could not get enough Democrats to vote for it to overcome their filibuster.

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Without the economic engine that is California the US economy is greatly diminished.

And that just might happen, given the dire economic situation of the state in the excessive high taxes in the standard of living for the middle class is going down, people can’t leave the state fast enough in the only people that will be left be a growing illegal immigrant population, so you will have the super powerful elite and a growing poverty underclass of illegals and the poor that can’t afford to move. This is a direct result of a one party system that exploits the poor for political gain.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

And that just might happen, given the dire economic situation of the state in the excessive high taxes in the standard of living for the middle class is going down, people can’t leave the state fast enough in the only people that will be left be a growing illegal immigrant population, so you will have the super powerful elite and a growing poverty underclass of illegals and the poor that can’t afford to move. This is a direct result of a one party system that exploits the poor for political gain.

Goodness the lies you post! Since 2008 California has posted GDP growth rates 50% greater than the national average (the state has posted higher GDP growth rates than Texas since 1996). In that time period the state went from the worlds 8th largest economy to the worlds 5th largest economy, eclipsing UK two years ago. Every year since 2008 the state has run budget surpluses and now has a $20 billion rainy day fund to tap into for a recession. That rainy day fund is the result of Jerry Brown browbeating the State Legislature. Of all the risk capital invested in the US fully half is invested in California. No other state receives more than 5%.

The other lie is that California is a high tax state. California's tax burden and a percent of income is number 16 in the nation and within less than 1% of the national average. Why? While states have varied menus of taxes, in the end they all manage to collect about the same percent of their residents incomes. Most states apply sales taxes labor and services. California does not. California's top income tax rate is high, but the state exemptions mean low income workers pay very little. California has the lowest property tax rates as a percent of market value in the nation and old Prop 13 prevents property taxes from rising for long term home owners.

California's big weakness are high home prices and rents. The tech sector that makes California so wealthy also pays their workers a lot of money. Those high wages bid up home prices and rents to the point that lower income workers are often priced out of the market. Aside from paving more of the state, which has multiple problems not easily solved like access to water and problems building homes in high fire danger areas, nobody sees a simple solution to that problem. Every suggestion of building denser housing is attacked by existing home owners. I don't really want to see California cities look like Asian ones so I guess that makes me part of the problem too. Some of the places we played as kids, creeks and such, are now just another subdivision. I doubt the current residents have any idea how beautiful it once was there before their homes were built and the creek we played in was boxed in and a street built over top of it. Just me but I wouldn't mind it if a few million people moved out.

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More like the Marxist Socialist party that needs getting rid of and fast before the US becomes Venezuela on steroids.

Sigh. Socialism isn't happening in the US. It is a non-existent problem in the US. But by focusing on a non problem you ignore a big problem that is sucking the life out of the US economy is oligopoly. The real wealth transfer in the US is from consumers to producers due to lack of effective competition in many major consumer markets. For decades the Republicans have refused to block mergers and acquisitions that allowed the resulting firms to extract monopoly rents from consumers. Please read the definition of monopoly rents as an economist uses the term.  Those monopoly rents represent the largest wealth transfer occurring in the US today.

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No, that’s the reason why I support the electoral college.

You said you support the electoral college because it gives smaller states more powerful votes than larger ones, i.e. unequal.

No dodge, never.

Then I'll ask for a third time: you posted a quote in support of only wealthy white land owners being allowed to vote. Do you support that? Answer the question.

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