Monday, January 9, 2017

The Brilliance of the Electoral College

Residents of less populous states like Rhode Island were leary of signing the Constitution because they feared they would be controlled by more populous states like New York. So, in order to make sure that each state had an equal say in who would be President, the founding fathers created the Electoral College.  It was essentially devised as a means of getting the smaller states to sign the U.S. Constitution.

Look at it this way. When the 13 American colonies were a part of Britain, the most populous part of the British Empire was in Britain. So it was people who lived in the most populous area of the British Empire (mainly the King), who decided how the government was going to be run. The colonies had no say. They essentially had to give into the whims of the King.

The electoral college is based on the idea of Federalism, or the idea that states are sovereign and the Federal Government can't control them. According to the 10th amendment, the Federal Government has certain powers, but anything not mentioned in the Constitution is relegated to the States to decide.

So, to protect Federalism, to protect state sovereignty, the founders created the electoral college. It essentially made it so the most populous could not gain control of the Federal Government in such a way that would essentially turn the rest of states into colonies. That's the system the founders wanted to get away from; it's the reason for the American Revolution.

They understood that there were areas of the United States that were highly populated. They also understood that people tend to gravitate to certain populations centers, so they understood that the population centers change over time. They understood that ideas change over time.

They wanted to make sure that regardless of where the population centers were that they maintained the integrity of Federalism. They wanted to maintain the power of the states. It's to support the idea that elections are decided by the States and not by the population.

A perfect example here is California and New York. California and New York are run by a bunch of liberals and progressives. Most of the people in these states are inculcated to believe in liberal and progressive ideals. They are also high population centers. So, imagine if these two states decided how the government was run. All the rest of the states would lose their sovereignty and become no more significant than colonies.

This idea turned out to be ingenious.

It was never even questioned until the progressive Al Gore won the popular vote in 2000 and George Bush won the electoral vote. It wasn't questioned again until progressive Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in 2016 and Donald Trump won the electoral vote.

Progressives essentially are claiming that Hillary should have won and that Donald Trumps presidency is illegitimate. But they are incorrect in their assertions. They are incorrect to assert that Hillary would have won if the rules were different. They fail to understand why the electoral college was created, and also what the reason for it is.

What they fail to tell you is that the rules at the present time make it so that Electoral Votes matter and the Popular Vote doesn't matter. For this reason, campaign strategies revolve around winning the electoral vote, not the popular vote.

There are some states that have lots of democrats, such as New York and California. Groupings of these states are called the blue wall, meaning that republicans in these states can vote, but their votes don't matter. There really isn't much point in Donald Trump spending much time there.

On the other hand, there are some states that have a lot of republicans, such as Texas. Groupings of these states are called the red wall, meaning that democrats in these states can vote, but their votes don't matter. There really isn't much point in Donald Trump spending much time there.

With the system the way it is, swing states are all that matters. Donald Trump and Hillary will spend most of their time in states like Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin. With the electoral college, voters in these swing states are usually what determine who wins elections.

With the rules as they are, Trump gave up in New York and it's 28 electoral votes, and California and its 55 electoral votes. Instead, he spent a lot of time in Wyoming to capture its 3 electoral votes, Michigan to capture its 16 electoral votes, and Ohio to capture its 18 electoral votes. This strategy paid off, as all these swing states gave Trump their electoral votes.

Now, for the sake of argument, let's assume, that prior to the 2016 election cycle, the electoral college was abolished. This would have changed the strategy. Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton would have spent hardly any time in less populous states, so that would take most of the swing states off the table. It would essentially take 80% of states off the table. Instead, they'd spend their time in New York and California.

If this happened, Trump and Clinton would have spent all their time campaigning in these two states. The campaigns would focus only on the issues that were relevant to the people in these population centers, which would probably include advancing the progressive agenda. The issues relevant to the rest of the nation would be irrelevant as the candidates would ignore those states.

Why, you ask, would Trump spend time in blue states like California and New York? Well, because there are a lot of republicans who do not vote in New York because they feel it is a waste of time. If they knew their vote counted, they would be more likely to vote. So Trump would be after these voters. Since there are a ton more potential voters in New York than New Hampshire, he would spend most of his time in New York and California, and maybe Florida and Texas.

This strategy would have made 80% of states irrelevant. The people living in these states would have no say in who becomes President, and they would essentially become slaves to the five largest states. These states would essentially be colonies rather than states.

So, with a different strategy, it is highly likely that Donald Trump would have been able to accrue the votes necessary to win the popular vote and still defeated Hillary.

Now, let us bring back the electoral college.

I would now like to use a simile that Rush Limbaugh used to put this into perspective. Let's use the 1960 world series, which had the New York Yankees playing the Pittsburgh Pirates. Over the course of four games, the Yankees scored a total of 55 runs and the Pirates scored a total of 27 runs. So, in essence, the Yankees scored the most runs, so they won the popular vote and should have won the world series.

But the total number of runs is not what determines the winner of the World Series. The winner of the world series is not who scores the most runs, it's who wins the most games. The Pirates won four of the seven games, so they won the world series. The Yankees won the popular vote, but the Pirates won the electoral vote, meaning the Pirates won and the Yankees lost.

The strategy to win the Presidency is not to get the most popular votes, it's to get at least 270 electoral votes. Trump accomplished this, and so he is our President-elect.

The way it is now, with the rules as they are set by the Constitution, talks between people from populous and non-populous states do occur, because we are a united nation where all states have a say in how the Federal government is run. Such talks are important to change minds, especially if the people of one state have a better way of running the Federal government.

In the United States, there's a vast amount of land that is divided into States. The Federal government is controlled by the people through the states. The Constitution was ratified by the states. The Bill of Rights was ratified by the states. And every President has been elected by the states. This is the same way the states controls the House and the Senate. This gives every person in every state a voice in how the country is run.

Another way to think of it is to think of America as a Democracy. This is what many young people think we are. This is what liberals think we are. So, when they see that Hillary won the popular vote, and she did not win, they see this as non-democratic.

You see? The problem is that we are not a democracy. The founding fathers did not like democracies. We are a republic, and so we elect people to represent us. That's what the premise of the electoral college is: we vote for electors. The electors then vote the way the people of the state want them to.

So, by having an Electoral College, the entire country gets represented, not just the most populous areas. This was because of the great foresight of the founders of this country.

Further reading:
  1. Conservative Tribune: Here's What The Media Won't Tell You About The Popular Vote