One More Voice Calling For The End Of The Electoral College
by Carl Kruse
For whatever reasons it was established way back when, and whatever benefits it might have today, that the Electoral College in the U.S. contravenes the will of the people is a great blow to Democracy.
The winner of the votes in any election should win.
If the Electoral College contravenes this, as it has done in two of the last five U.S. elections, then it’s time for the Electoral College to go. Fairness calls for it.
The benefit argued for the Electoral College today: smaller states will not be forgotten by candidates who in theory would only target large population centers because that is where all the votes are. But, it’s a complete failure in this regard. Because of modern U.S. demographics — as opposed to those in 1787 when the Electoral College was instituted — many states vote predictably- for example, California and New York always vote Democratic, Texas and Utah always vote Republican, and so forth. What this means is that every U.S. election comes down to the SWING STATES – those states that are not predictable, such as Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia and a few others. What we now see today is a tyranny of the swing state. California and Texas, the two largest and arguably most important states in the USA, receive precisely zero presidential visits or attention, while the 50,000 residents of Cayuga County, Ohio are showered with money and visits. Does this make sense?
By the way, not only are the big states short-changed by the Electoral College, the small ones, which the Electoral College was designed to shelter get screwed as well. You see, few small or rural areas get attention either- Montana, Alabama, the Dakotas, Idaho, Alabama, Mississippi. They get nothing also. So who gets attention? Only the swing states. Insanity, And why? Because of the Electoral College.
Why would a politician campaign anywhere where the vote of that state was predictable? Why would either side waste time in California? Or New York? Or Alabama? Or in any of the states where they had no chance? They wouldn’t. And they don’t. Because of the Electoral College.
And so the fate of the entire nation is often held in check by benighted areas of Ohio or Florida all because of the Electoral College.
This institution was hatched in 1787. Back then there were 13 states. And these included New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Delaware — today some of the smallest (the smallest?) in the union. There was slavery. A black person was legally counted as 3/5 of a person. Women could not vote. And in 1787 the USA did not even have a president. George Washington was voted in on 1789. We are in 2016. A few things have changed since 1787. Let’s change too.
UPDATED: 4 December 2020. I found Kevin’s M. Kruse take right on target here.
I’ve received two private messages agreeing with me and one disagreeing. If you are not overly shy, post here and perhaps we could get a discussion going.
Reviewing the site almost two years later and no commentary. Ok, onwards.
Carl Kruse Secondary Blog
I maintain a more whimsical blog over on the Tumblr network. Stop by and say hi.
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A Republic is a government run by representatives democratically elected by the people. Any system that subverts the will of the people is not a good system, independent of its reasons as it questions the legitimacy of those in power. Why vote if your vote won’t matter?
And that was the case the last time Trump got elected and would have been the case again this time if some 100,000 votes in a handful of states had gone for Trump versus 7+ million votes of fellow citizens that went against him in the totality of the citizens who voted. That is insane and ultimately can’t possibly survive. How can we be squabbling about 20,000 votes in Georgia or 80,000 votes in Pennsylvania when 7+ million votes went the other way? Nutty. And if you are one of those 7 million voters your franchise effectively means nothing. This is tyranny by the minority, or more rightfully said, tyranny of the battleground states. We squabble about some county in Wisconsin or Georgia while all the while no one considers the economic powerhouses of Texas, California or New York for example. Kentucky by all measures is a backwater in education, innovation and economy yet one of its representatives is one of the most powerful men in the country because he’s been elected a lot in Kentucky for a long time. Mississippi — the most primitive of all states — wields the same senatorial power as California, which if it were a separate country would have the 5th largest economy in the world. Heh?
The way the US runs itself is not suitable for the challenges of the 21st century and my guess is it won’t change until something really messed up happens but let’s see.
I suspect you’re right Lenny. That perhaps the governmental structures of the 18th, 19th and even 20th century might not serve the USA well going into the 21st century.