Two bits, Four bits, Six bits a Dollar! All for <insert your favorite political party/candidate here> Stand up and holler!
Nearly a week after the General Election there are numerous groups across the country calling for the disbanding of the Electoral College system. Many present day voters today seem stunned that when they cast their ballot for a Presidential Candidate, they are actually casting their vote for an Elector. Now that one side has lost, they feel that the system is unfair and needs fixing. It always seems to be the losing side wishing for the repair, especially if their candidate wins the popular vote but loses the Electoral College. This has actually only happened four times in our history, 1824, 1876, 1888 and 2000. But why do we need this system? Why not let the popular vote simply choose?
As the Founding Fathers were wrestling with this issue, fresh on their minds was the subjugating history of the monarch that ruled them. They also feared a pure democracy that had brought down the great republics of the past. So a compromise was reached. The Article II Section 1 of the US Constitution states 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.” Not only does this system protect the rights of the individual but it was also their attempt of allowing most of the policymaking power to remain in the states.
The argument that the Electoral College is outdated and favors only a handful of “Swing States” is flawed as well. States can change from election to election based off of shifting demographics or a variety of reasons. Proof of that is in California being a Republican stronghold until the late 1980’s as well as Texas being solidly controlled by Democrats in the past. One would need to look no further than the 2016 election to see the shift in “swing states” when President-Elect Trump was able to win the states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, all of which had voted solid Democrat for well over a decade.
Without the Electoral College, smaller states and communities would be held hostage by large metropolitan areas along both coasts with very little to no representation in the “fly-over States”. As it stands now, a farmer in Iowa has different needs than an actor in Los Angeles or am attorney in New York. However, to do away with the College robs the farmer of his voice and representation. That might seem like an ideal scenario, unless you do not reside in either location. Let’s see if we can put this into easier to understand terms: As it stands at this moment (all votes aren’t completely tallied), Hillary Clinton won the popular vote with 61,039,676 votes to Trump’s 60,371,193, a difference of 668,483 votes. Since we’ve already mentioned Los Angeles, lets just take Los Angeles County to understand it better. In Los Angeles County, Clinton won the county with 1,654,626 votes to Trump’s 542,591, a difference of 1,112,035 votes. That’s one county, one! The major metropolitan areas of the United States would speak for the country as a whole without the Electoral College and states would lose even more power to the Federal Government, as well as their voice.
The Electoral College has served us well for over two-hundred years. Wishing to toss it aside or “fix” it without possessing the working knowledge of why it came into being and what it protects us against is foolish and overtly destructive to the nation. I can’t speak for you, but I don’t have a enough in common with everyone in the major metropolitan areas of this nation for them to speak for me. What say you?