Los Angeles County is bigger — in population — than at least 40 entire states. Not only does it have a huge population — more than 10 million and counting — it is also physically bigger than the entire Commonwealth of Massachusetts and probably more than a few other states. This is because in California, they can (and do) keep making counties and cities bigger and bigger as the population swells. Other places have a thing called “city and county limits,” but California doesn’t. In California, there are no limits.
Because L.A. County is so big, many people declare that the Electoral College is a scam. This presumes that the only criteria for power ought to be size. Population. The bigger you are, the more you should rule. In the non-Electoral College version of the United States, the largest, most densely populated areas would rule the country. Literally rule it.
I understand people who live the big cities might feel that way. In the U.S., our motto has always been “bigger is better.” Businesses. Cities. Schools. Everything. More is better. Less doesn’t count.
The problem is, I think I should count too, no matter how big Los Angeles County gets.
The electoral college is not a scam. It has been grossly mismanaged and misused, but the concept was sound. It has needed a major overhaul for decades and quite possibly longer. The point of having an Electoral College was to prevent Los Angeles, New York, and Texas from overwhelming Worcester County or for that matter, all of New England from Connecticut to Maine.
Do you want to be managed by only the largest cities? In a town like this where we don’t even have a bus or a taxi — or any part of town which could be considered “densely populated” — how likely are we to have similar requirements to Los Angeles? New York? I’m from New York and I love it … but this town has its own needs. The big cities would barely consider Uxbridge worth noticing. Even in Massachusetts, Boston gets the attention. We who live outside the metro Boston area have to beg for scraps. What if Boston itself becomes one of the scraps?Where do we fit in then?
If only huge cities run the nation, what happens to the rest of us? Will anyone notice we’re here? Would anyone care we’re here?
Before everyone jumps on the “ban the Electoral College” bus, maybe you should wonder if the place you live would fit into a world where only big cities have a say in what gets done.
Does the Electoral College need overhauling? Absolutely. But maybe not elimination. The Electoral College isn’t a scam. It’s one more constitutional issue that badly needs repairing. Like so many other things.