Should or should we not have an Electoral College?
This post was inspired by three videos CPG Grey made.
First, a video explaining the electoral college.
Second, an update to the first video.
Finally, an expansion on the first video.
So what really sparked this post is when he says the electoral college had elected a president against the popular vote three times in the past and then four after this election. Which gives it a failure rate of 5% in the past and 7% currently. My first issue is in the word choice. The electoral college has never failed, the president has always been elected by its rules.
If however you believe that the electoral college should elect the winner of the popular vote than yes I can see why you say it failed. That’s the thing though, the electoral college doesn’t need to pick the most popular candidate.
The question we should be asking is “does the electoral college need to be changed?”
Let’s quickly review the Electoral College’s workings. The current population of the United States is 320 million and we have 50 states. The number of electoral votes a state gets is equal to its House of Representatives members plus its senate members. So every state gets 2 votes because of the senate and at least 1 vote from the House. The exact number from the house is proportional to size of a state so the biggest state, California, has 53, the next biggest, Texas, has 36 and so on. Running the math you get 535 plus 3 for DC so 538 total. Finally all but 2 states have a winner take all system where all electoral votes from a state go to the winner of that state.
So let’s do a thought experiment.
Let’s say 500,000 people live in every state except California where 295 million live. Running through the math California gets 388 votes and every other state gets 3 votes. Since California has 72% of the total votes you can only win by winning California.
Now does that seem fair?
Of course not. The needs of people in the Rust Belt will be different then those of the highly urbanized California. California is a small area of the United States and should not get to control all of it.
Now what if it was determined by the popular vote. Well states, especially California, tend to vote the same way. So even if only 80% of California voted for the same candidate they’d still win. In fact if 55% of California, in this scenario, voted the same way it’d still be enough for the candidate to win the popular vote. Meaning you still only need to win California.
So is that fair?
Not in my opinion. This would still favor the highly populated urban areas where people are more likely to vote the same way and it is easier to campaign. This give the urbanized votes of California control over the entire country. Even the rural parts which may not be in their best interest.
What if we did proportional electoral college votes. Assuming that one candidate gets all 49 other states and DC they would only need 31% of California to take the presidency. This may be the method I am most happy with. It ensures that the smaller states like Idaho, Nebraska, the Dakota’s, Wyoming, Iowa, who have a large portion of the natural resources of the United States are’d put under the chains of the larger urbanized states. Doing proportional votes also prevents someone from winning with only 22% of the popular vote, which CPG Grey pointed out was possible in his first video with the winner take all system.
So those are my thoughts on this system and how it can change.
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