Let the (Electoral College)
Games Begin: The Race To 270
By Mr. E
[ NOTE: The writer is an Independent, "NPA / No Party Affiliation,"
not a Democrat or Republican, and is not supporting any candidate]
When Rick Santorum, the second-to-last Republican left standing in the 2012 primaries, exited the 2012 race for president, the mainstream media quickly and dutifully framed the election story as the two party system, "Romney vs. Obama". This is in no way healthy for the public.
Almost 20 years have passed since the disputed presidential election of 2000, yet the electoral college still has not been abolished.
United States presidential elections in 1824, 1876, 1888, and most recently in 2000 and 2016 have demonstrated that the electoral college system makes it possible for a person to be elected president of the United States without winning the votes of a majority of all of the citizens throughout the nation who voted in that particular election.
The electoral college system defies logic, common sense, and fairness in upholding the equal rights of each individual citizen.
In the electoral college, electors are apportioned to each state based on state population, and using a "winner take all" system, in 48 states (only Maine and Nebraska don't use the "winner take all" system) all electors of the state are pledged to vote for the candidate receiving the most popular votes in that state. Virtually every time, electors have actually voted in the electoral college for the candidate they are pledged to.
The electoral college was created due to the lack of confidence the founding fathers of the United States had in the "common man" to successfully select competent leaders on their own. Even United States senators were not elected by popular vote until 1913, when the 17th amendment to the US constitution went into effect.
Following the disputed presidential election of 2000, it is very surprising that the electoral college has still not been abolished, and how little or no public outcry is heard in support of abolishing the electoral college.
And then on election night 2016 Mr. Trump beat Mrs. Clinton by being the first to get above the minimum 270 electoral votes to become president, instead of counting total citizen votes from all states combined.
To get some idea of the accuracy of this perception of hearing almost nothing about abolishing the electoral college, as far back as mid-October, 2010 I searched for the phrase "abolish electoral college" (without quotes), using [what at that time was] google's very recently released "Instant Search" feature. ( "Bing" also offers that same feature and equal or better quality results ).
When I completed typing the word "abolish", none of the 10 predictions was "electoral college", but as soon as I typed the "e" starting "electoral", the first line said "abolish electoral college". The results said that there were "about 47,500 results" for that search query phrase.
Yes that's not tiny in absolute terms, yet see how that compares to the number of results for very frequently searched-for phrases: 31,200,000 results for "lose weight fast", 53,900,000 results for "cheap car insurance" and 634,000,000 results for "Obama" (all without quotes also in October 2010, now those totals would surely be much higher).
The first page of results for "abolish electoral college" showed that in the past 15 years abolishing the electoral college has had at least two supporters in the Senate and also some in the House of Representatives.
Most commonly this has been brought up in Congress very soon after presidential elections, including in January 2009, yet no further action has been taken.
In fact, none other than The New York Times is on record of supporting the idea years earlier, upon publishing "Abolish the Electoral College" on August 29, 2004. [ This is no endorsement or approval of that publisher ]
In more recent years some progress has been made, as the movement in support of the National Popular Vote to be instituted through an "interstate compact" has gained strength and a successful start of a number of states (representing about one-quarter of the total electoral votes) have given final legislative approval to participate.
This is an encouraging development, since the electoral college is an outdated system that is clearly unfair to presidential candidates and also to citizen voters. It degrades the vote of each individual citizen.
One major benefit of abolishing the electoral college is the possibility that presidential candidates might stop devoting most of their campaigning time to the most populous states that have close to equal sentiment for the two major parties at the expense of states where a large majority of registered voters have indicated a clear preference to vote for a certain candidate, since each individual citizen's vote would carry equal weight.
So instead of the focus being on the "battleground states", "toss-up states" (for example, the presidential election of 2012 was described as going to be decided by seven or fewer states, read full report), or enormous special interest groups of undecided voters (as in the example of senior citizens and health care in the 2008 campaign) to the almost exclusion of everyone else, candidates would have to treat each state and each voter's individual vote as meaningful and valuable.
Political change usually proceeds at a snail's pace, and the electoral college still has not been abolished with less than one year before the next presidential election in 2020. But if enough people support it, it can be done.
It is hypocritical for the United States to present itself as a world leader that demands fair, equal, representative democracy of one vote for every citizen in every country receiving assistance from the United States, while not itself using and following that method in its own presidential elections.
In fairness to both candidates and citizens, the electoral college needs to be abolished as soon as possible.