By Mike Wilcox, Publisher
It’s nearly September and in two months voters will decide who will lead the United States for the next four years. We may choose Clinton, or Trump or a third party candidate like Johnson.
That’s popular opinion, anyways. In reality the next president like the previous forty-three, will actually be chosen by an archaic institution called the Electoral College. The vote of the people means very little.
Here’s how it works. In 48 states the Electoral College is chosen in the same manner (Maine and Nebraska have slight variations. After the vote of the people in each state is counted, the political party whose candidate received a majority in a particular state is allowed to choose a slate of electors who will cast the real votes for President.
One might say, “big deal.” Electors still must follow the wishes of the popular vote. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way. Presidential elections lately have been extremely close when it comes to popular vote. Not so within the Electoral College because it is an all or nothing situation. This means if a candidate wins a state by 50.1% (assuming there are only two candidates) of the popular vote, his slate of Electors will cast the real votes for president.
Another problem with the Electoral College is that smaller states get more electoral votes per person than larger states. According to fairvote.org this essentially means that “each individual vote in Wyoming counts nearly four times as much in the Electoral College as each individual vote in Texas.”
Because of this disparity between small states and large states, and the winner take all system, it becomes possible to win the presidency by winning just 21.8% of the popular vote.
“In other words,” according to a study by Jesse Ruderman, “a candidate could lose with 78.2% of the popular vote by getting just under 50% in small states and 100% in large states.”
In actuality, just 16 years ago, George Bush defeated Al Gore with only 47.9% of the popular vote. However when it came down to the Electoral College, Bush won 271 to 266, thus was declared president, despite you and millions of others tipping the popular vote scale for Gore.
I have long been an advocate for the abolishment of the Electoral College. I believe you and I should elect our president, not the so-called representatives of the candidate that wins a particular state. After all every other representative of the people- senators, congressmen, state officials, local officials, etc are elected by popular vote. Why is the most important position, the U.S. Presidency left up to the Electoral College?
Can you imagine if two months from now the presidential candidate with less than a majority were to win the presidency? All hell would break lose. Whether the loser by Clinton or Trump, either would create a huge fuss and the top office would be in a state of chaos.
Furthermore, there is always the possibility that the Electoral College may end in a tie vote. That did happen in 1800 when Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr tied. It could happen again, and in that case the election would be decided by the House of Representatives where each state would get one vote.
If this were to happen, Wyoming with a population of 563,000 would have an equal vote as California, which sports a population of 31 million. This is essentially the same problem inherent with the Electoral College.
Let’s end this disparity now. An election should be based on popular vote. Your vote should hold equal weight and significance as does John Doe’s vote in Wyoming. We shouldn’t be voting only to instruct a bunch of electors in our state how to vote. Which of my representatives in Congress is going to lead an effort to abolish the Electoral College? I’m watching!