Ep 7. Screwed By the Electoral College
We don’t know about you, but we feel totally SCREWED by the electoral college. Every election cycle brings new calls to abolish the Electoral College. However, modeling by brilliant researchers have shown that we should EXPECT that we will end up with the person who did NOT get the most votes to win the presidency. This is not an accident. This leads many people to become disenfranchised, which literally means to deprive a person of their right to vote or have a vote that counts.
The Electoral College is racist in origin. Shocking? I know. I wasn’t shocked either. Our entire history was written by white men who had slave owner friends or were slave owners themselves. All the more reason it does NOT fit our modern society today.
The Electoral College is made up of 538 electors from the all of the states. In most states, the candidate who wins the popular vote in a state wins the electors. It was NOT always this way. When the Electoral College was created there were not even political parties! It was based on the premise that electors would vote their conscience.
…In Maine and Nebraska, however, electoral college votes are distributed based on who won the popular vote in each of the states’ congressional districts.
The Electoral College was never intended to be the “perfect” system for picking the president, says George Edwards III, emeritus political science professor at Texas A&M University.
“It wasn’t like the Founders said, ‘Hey, what a great idea! This is the preferred way to select the chief executive, period,’” says Edwards. “They were tired, impatient, frustrated. They cobbled together this plan because they couldn’t agree on anything else.” – The Atlantic
“Virginian James Madison responded that such a system would prove unacceptable to the South: “The right of suffrage was much more diffusive [i.e., extensive] in the Northern than the Southern States; and the latter could have no influence in the election on the score of Negroes.”
In other words, in a direct election system, the North would outnumber the South, whose many slaves (more than half a million in all) of course could not vote...
The Electoral College—a prototype of which Madison proposed in this same speech—instead let each southern state count its slaves, albeit with a two-fifths discount, in computing its share of the overall count.” – The Atlantic.
The Electoral College skews elections by giving a HUGE advantage to small states. Each state receives a number of electoral votes equal to the number of United States House of Representatives members from that state, plus two. These two additional votes effectively triple the voting power of the smallest states, while having only a negligible impact on the voting power of large states.
Modern-day Democrats are disadvantaged because they “have tended to win large states by large margins and lose them by small margins.” In 2016, for example, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton won California by nearly 3.5 million votes. Meanwhile, she lost the crucial swing states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin by fewer than 80,000 votes combined.
WE ARE ALL IN ON RANKED- CHOICE VOTING AKA: Instant Run-Off Voting
Single-winner elections do a poor job of winnowing a large field of candidates down to one who reflects majority agreement, and encourage bashing of the other candidates because it’s all-or-nothing for each candidate… And the winner of this process can be the choice of as little as 25 or 30 percent of the electorate, which is another way of saying that he or she was not the choice of up to three-quarters of voters.
This is no way to pick the person who will challenge a president — one who was himself nominated first by a minority within his party, then elected by a minority nationwide.
It’s ideal for making sense of a large and fractured pool of candidates.
HOW RANKED VOTING WORKS:
Ranked-choice voting works on a simple premise: Instead of being forced to choose a single candidate, voters rank some or all of the candidates in order of preference — they rank their favorite candidate first, their next-favorite candidate second, and so on. If one candidate wins a majority of the vote outright, he or she is the winner.
→ If not, the ballots are tallied in a series of rounds. In each round, the candidate with the fewest first-place votes is eliminated. Each ballot ranking that candidate first is then transferred to the candidate whom it ranked second. The process repeats, eliminating the lowest-scoring candidate and redistributing his or her ballots, until one candidate has more than 50 percent of the vote. THIS YEAR! – Wyoming, Alaska, Hawaii and Kansas.
EXAMPLE: Say a Wyoming voter is partial to Elizabeth Warren, but feels she doesn’t have much of a chance at hitting 15 percent. He could list Ms. Warren first and, perhaps, Mr. Sanders second. If Ms. Warren fails to get 15 percent of first-place votes in the first round, but Mr. Sanders does, that voter’s ballot would be transferred to him. Millions of votes in the Democratic primaries this year will be cast for candidates who don’t reach the 15-percent cutoff.
All this and more on episode 7 of Midwest Misfits. Wonder what your electoral college allocation is, check out this link for further reading.
Side bar…we also talked a little about the 27th amendment, which was ratified in 1992 and talks about congressional pay. Dig in a little deeper with this link below: