THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE IS HERE TO STAY

The electoral college was created by the founders of this country as part of the constitution. It’s not a recent law we can change or rescind. To remove it would require an amendment to the Constitution. Which is not happening. The assigned electors per state can be (and are) adjusted to make the college more representative and reflective of the U.S. population. But eliminated? I doubt it.

The electoral college was created to balance the power and interests of populous, industrial states and make sure agricultural, rural states with lower populations don’t get trampled in national elections. 

That is exactly what it did. Although Hillary Clinton (my preferred candidate) won more popular votes, she won all her votes in the big, urban, industrial states. Trump got fewer votes, but won far more states. You and I may not like it, but the electoral college was designed to make sure that popularity and population are not the only things that factor into electing a president.

constitution_1_of_4_630

Is it fair? I think it’s rather like the referee’s call in a football game. It depends on whether the call favors you or the other team.


THE U.S. IS NOT A DEMOCRACY. 


The United States is a constitutional republic and popularity is not the only factor that counts in a presidential election.

The electoral college is an integral part of the structure of our government and its presence is exactly what makes us a republic rather than a democracy. Before you start howling about abolishing it, recognize that it was put in place for a reason, even if you don’t like the reason. If you lived in Wyoming, you would feel it was protecting your interests … and you’d be right.

If you live in a big, blue state, do you really believe you are entitled to enforce your will on the entire country? Does it mean you always get to pick the winner?  I don’t like Trump, but our system works the way it is supposed to. It isn’t a cheat or a scam or something that’s been overlooked and needs fixing. It was designed and included intentionally so you don’t get disenfranchised because you live in the country or on a farm.

I’m surprised how many people apparently don’t understand how the Constitution or our government works. Didn’t we all learn this in school?


If you are interesting in learning more, you can start here at History.com ELECTORAL COLLEGE. Or, just Google “electoral college” and poke around. There’s plenty of information easily available.

32 thoughts on “THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE IS HERE TO STAY

  1. I live in one America now. Many people don’t understand that the reason THIS America leans right is because we don’t need government very much. We need our local government. Yesterday I went to Alamosa (the big city in the San Luis Valley with 10,000 people) to take stuffed animals to a Domestic Violence Counseling center and shelter for their Christmas party. I put a gift list on Amazon for this as well and invited my friends to buy a toy and send it to the shelter. Our movie theater is run by volunteers. People in my valley advertise on Facebook during the holidays that they are looking for a family to host for Thanksgiving and Christmas. When the City needs to raise rates on water or sewer, it tells us and then asks if it’s OK and if it ISN’T each individual is invited to city hall to talk about it. We have a drug problem but we think it’s OUR drug problem and (including my art co-op) lots of businesses form basically by donation and hire people to help people find purpose in life. My valley doesn’t need — or even know about — a lot of the government aid that’s available to them. Many are too pride to accept it.

    I moved here two years ago from the OTHER America where people really NEED Federal government help and involvement. I lived in a “barrio” a poor neighborhood and also one where new immigrants were usually housed in Section 8 housing. The make up of my neighborhood changed constantly as these immigrants found communities and located themselves near each other or moved up and out. Many families depended on all the subsidy they could get. Many of the people in my hood worked 3 jobs to make ends meet (I did too, much of the time). My values changed a lot after 30 years there. I moved there from Colorado which was, at the time, pretty sparsely populated and decidedly conservative.

    The reason places like this don’t want their taxes raised because they are already helping each other AND many places like this one are economically depressed. People feel they are taxed twice. First through the grace of their own generosity and second by the government.

    And I understand the rationale behind the Electoral College as you’ve explained it, but your argument makes as presented here doesn’t hold for me because the electoral college is tied to population not to the number of states. That means (IMO) that states with large populations have more electoral votes, which, obviously, they do. That means states like CA, with many large urban centers, have a bigger say in who’s elected president.

    You might be right about the intent of the founding fathers, but the electoral college does not favor rural America. And, in this election, the main story — I think — is not that The Donald “won” (he really didn’t, though he was “elected”) or that HRC “lost” (she really didn’t) but that nearly 50% of registered voters did not vote for president and for THAT the Constitution offers NOTHING and I think that’s a huge problem. Jefferson wrote that if fewer than 50% of the eligible population votes, it constitutes a revolution. I would say that we are in the midst of a revolution right now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The electoral college is tied to both population AND number of states because regardless of population (or lack of it), every state has electoral college votes. There is no minimum population required so in theory, a state with zero population would still have at least 3 votes. So yes, it IS based on BOTH.

      Many of us in and out of rural American support friends and family. We can’t claim it on our taxes, but we don’t do it as a tax deduction. I get tired of hearing how much nicer people are in small towns than in big cities. I too live in a small town and there are a lot of nasty assholes here, just as there were a lot of wonderful caring people in Boston.

      Taxed twice? Really? I don’t keep score.

      As for people not voting? In my opinion, apathy is about as far from revolution as you can get. Jefferson was a hypocrite who gets a lot of credit he doesn’t deserve. When Jefferson wrote that, did his “not voting 50%” include slaves … like the ones he owned? If this is revolution, it’s pathetic.

      Liked by 1 person

      • We have to agree to disagree. I don’t think Jefferson was a hypocrite; I think he was a man of his time and his time had some serious failings as does ours. Of course he didn’t include slaves and he didn’t include women, obviously. Personally, I don’t care that Jefferson had slaves; we don’t have them now. Progress, right?

        As for taxation, it’s not about keeping score. It’s about how much money is in your pocket at the end of the month. Higher taxes means less money with which to offer generosity because you WANT to. Personally, I believe in very high taxation and social welfare programs on Sweden’s model. I just get why people here DON’T. Where I live has one of the lowest standards of living in the US.

        I don’t think I said people in small towns are nicer than people in cities; in my town they happen to be, overall, nicer than people in San Diego were just because they have more time to be nice (I think), but there are plenty of A-holes, scary people and effed up folks.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’m with you on the Scandinavian model, but I doubt it would work as well in a country this big and diverse. Social welfare has proved most successful in relatively small, homogeneous countries. It works pretty well in Massachusetts, if you wanted to view it as a country and is doing well in Maine, too. Where individual states have implemented progressive policies, the seem to be thriving. But I’m not sure you really can do that on a national level because how to you create a program that will make sense in Washington DC and Very Small Town North Dakota?

          In theory, the Federal government is supposed to control stuff that needs to be implemented on a national level … like the military, but many states have not shown they can or want to care for their people. I think it was that Big Depression that was the game changer.

          We want more democracy and more services without more taxes or government oversight. We want jobs that will never come back and other things which would be impossible regardless of government. And one point in there is obviously true: we are not really “one nation.” We aren’t two, either. We are a bunch of nations, bundled together by a set of common laws, currency, and infrastructure. And of course, lines on a map and history.

          And I think Jefferson really WAS a big hypocrite on many levels. He was also personally a vindictive son of a bitch and not really the hero of freedom he professed to be. But you do not have to agree with me. He’s dead, so I don’t really care enough to make it an issue.

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  2. This paragraph should say: The reason places like where I live now don’t want their taxes raised because they are already helping each other AND many places like this one are economically depressed. People feel they are taxed twice. First through the grace of their own generosity and second by the government.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think this is the best that’s happened in this world in the last hundred years. The pot needed to be stirred. Big time. The US government and it’s system was stagnant, stalemated, and corrupted. It’s long past time to wake up and change things. Before it’s too late. And The People want change. Urgently. That’s why he got in. That’s why those who voted for him don’t care about anything else he might be. They just want to blow the system up.

    Yes, it’s a massive demonstration of how desperate people have become.

    So … Fight, Yell, and Scream … then get on to fixing that thing. It’s going to take everybody.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thanks for the explanation as I forgot the whys of the electoral college- but I still don;t see its purpose- whoever gets the most votes wins- I don;t care the size of the state, the amount of people, just count up the votes and whoever has more wins. Seems so simple to me 😀

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    • Yes, and maybe that’s the way we SHOULD do it, but it isn’t the way we have ever actually done it. The point is not what we would like, but reality, the constitution, and the law. Until they pass a constitutional amendment, this is the system. Like it or not, warts and all.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. The most important line in your excellent post is “… government and its presence is exactly what makes us a republic rather than a democracy”.

    In Canada our democracy states that all votes are equal. If more people live in urban areas they wield more clout by dint of numbers.

    Liked by 2 people

    • And that changes everything. We don’t actually vote directly for a president or vice-president. We vote for electors — whose names we don’t even know — and THEY vote. There’s a long, complicated history of all the things that have gone wrong with this plan and how many times the system has been ‘tweaked’. I understand what it’s intended to do. Probably it’s outmoded and perhaps should be eliminated, but that’s not going to happen. It’s very difficult to get a constitutional amendment passed in the U.S. In recent decades, impossible, regardless of which party is in control. So we are stuck with it.

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  6. Before the election, some conservative friends asked me, a historian, how we could get rid of the Electoral College. They were afraid that growing cities like Washington DC and Charlotte would change the vote totals in states like VA and NC. They believed that Trump would win the popular and Clinton would win the electoral. If it had happened they would be howling about it.

    I happen to like the Electoral College because it protects the small states. However, everyone should know that the rules are set, and the candidates know what those rules are. That is why I have never paid attention to polls that show who is most popular nationwide. It does not matter. Is it a good system? I do not know. I know that the parties know the system and should establish their strategies accordingly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have mixed feelings about it. I think it makes sense, but it also makes a lot of people feel their votes don’t count. And to a degree, they are right. Your vote counts less if you live in New York or California than if you live in Montana or Maine. I’m not sure there is a perfect system. I’m not even sure that every vote should count equally, whether or not direct election would be more or less fair. What I do know is that what happened this election, distasteful as I find Trump, was the electoral college working exactly the way it is designed to work. And, since I see absolutely zero likelihood of a constitutional amendment to eliminate the college, I’m not going to make myself crazy about it. It’s part of the system and, as you said, the candidates fully understand how it works even if the voters don’t.

      Like the referee’s call, whether you think it’s good or bad probably depends on whose team gets the goal.

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      • How in the world does your vote count less when you live in a state with 20 electoral votes vs one with 3? That bit of logic absolutely escapes me. Trump “won” because he got more electoral votes and they came from states like Florida with MANY electoral votes and states like Montana and Wyoming which, in many elections, don’t even count. It wasn’t just all the little states. It was many of the little states and quite a few of the populous ones.

        But the bottom line (for me) is that half the people who could have voted for the president did not. Many have chalked that up to apathy, but I think it’s disaffection, the same disaffection that led many people to vote for Trump.

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        • They count less because the system is weighted slightly in favor of small states. A state like Montana with a very sparse population still gets three votes, even if they have a lot less population than, say South Dakota (or any state you care to name), but still below the threshold for more than the basic 3 electoral votes. That’s what I mean by weighted. it isn’t a big weight, but in a close election, a bit goes a long way.

          Regardless, it doesn’t matter what you or I or anyone thinks of the electoral college system. It is what it is and isn’t going away. Sometimes, the effect is insignificant, sometimes it makes a bigger difference, although really, in my opinion, Hillary was not going to win … not under the current system.

          Apathy, disaffection, ignorance, whatever. Does it really make a difference what you call it? A lot of people didn’t vote in this election, but in this country, a lot of people don’t vote in every election. We have a lot of non-participating citizens and it isn’t because of this election and these candidates. They just don’t vote because they can’t be bothered. They are busy, disinterested, uninvolved, think politics is someone else’s business. In this country, there are always a big percentage of people who won’t vote.

          And Rick made a good point: WE may not understand how the system works, but the candidates do. They knew before they stood for election.

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    • Rick, you’ve nailed what the media blew. The NBC folks admitted their mistake in taking the polls as gospel. It’s happened before.
      Cue up the Kingston Trio and the last line from “Where Have All The Flowers Gone?”

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  7. Pingback: THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE IS HERE TO STAY | SERENDIPITY – Sarah's Attic Of Treasures

  8. Explained very well. I am not a Hillary Clinton support, first and foremost a protector of the constitution. I was fully ready for Hillary to win and actually was already accepting it well before the election day. It pains me to see violence in our streets over something like this. These kids don’t seem to see the hypocrisy in their own actions. They are small number of democratic leaning young people. They don’t represent anybody, and the only thing they are proving is that they don’t get it, and they are unreasonable.
    President Obama and Hillary Clinton aren’t complaining about the results. They get it, a majority of people in a majority of states voted for Trump.

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    • Actually, a minority of people in a majority of states voted for Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote and got in excess of a million more votes Donald Trump. Which is what those kids are objecting to.

      But which also, as you put it, proves they don’t understand how the system works and has always worked since we have been a country at all. In this country, whether or not we think it’s a good idea, the winner is the candidate who gets the majority of electoral college votes, regardless of popular vote. We are NOT a direct democracy, but are a constitutional republic. These kids may not understand how the system works, but the candidates — both Clinton and Trump — understood just fine. I’ll bet that half (more?) of these protesters didn’t even bother to vote. They REALLY don’t get it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think we are agreeing here. But when you say “a minority of people in a majority of states,” do you mean because he didn’t get over 50% of votes? If so then I suppose I see that argument. But he had more votes than Hillary Clinton in a majority of states. He won 30 states plus the congressional district in Maine. That’s me counting. But I’m pretty sure that’s accurate.If Hillary would have won PA, MI, and WI then she would have won a majority of votes in less states but still won.

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        • Yes, we are agreeing. She won the overall popular vote, but he won the majority vote in more states. And that’s exactly the purpose of the electoral college: to give the smaller, less populous states a bit more clout. Is it fair? I’m inclined to say yes, even though a lot of people disagree with me and even though my candidate lost because of it. The college doesn’t give a huge advantage to those small states, but it does somewhat level the playing field. I don’t like the way it went, but it wasn’t rigged and it wasn’t unfair.

          That has always been our system and it worked the way it’s designed to work, whether or not I like the outcome. Sometimes, you lose and this time, my team lost. If we’d run a more popular candidate and/or a better campaign, we could have won.

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