Democratic Presidential hopeful, Elizabeth Warren, made headlines again last week when she tweeted “My goal is to get elected – but I plan to be the last American President elected by the Electoral College. I want my second term to be elected by direct vote.”
This has long been a contention for those that have seen the candidate they support receive the majority of public votes, yet lose an election because they lost the Electoral College.
However, over the years there have only been 5 presidential elections where the winner by the Electoral College did not win the popular vote, those being John Quincy Adams in 1824, Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876, Benjamin Harrison in 1888, George W. Bush in 2000 and Donald J. Trump in 2016.
The argument to abolish the Electoral College began again, directly after the 2016 Presidential election that saw Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton win the popular vote but not the presidency.
The Electoral College consists of 538 electors. Those electors represent the number of representatives plus two electors for senators the state has in the US Congress. The number of representatives is based on the respective population of the state they derive, which is determined every 10 years by the US Census. Basically, when each and every one of us goes to the polls to make our Presidential and Vice Presidential Vote every 4 years, we are actually voting for your candidates preferred electors from your state.
Since there have only been 5 elections where the popular vote was on the losing side of the Electoral vote, it seems highly unlikely that this would ever change when 91% of presidential elections saw the winner attain both the national popular vote and the Electoral College vote.
Yet, there are always people that talk about eliminating the Electoral College process and seek to implement a “Popular Vote” election process instead. Much because the candidate they supported lost the election but won the popular vote. Had the election results been reversed, would this be a topic? I don’t think so.
Under a popular vote concept, cities and counties across the nation with the largest population would carry the most influence over presidential elections, and giving Democrats an advantage nationwide. Why, because Democrats make up the majority of most major cities.
For example, reviewing the 2016 Presidential election data shows that 50.5% of the votes Hillary Clinton received were from the 100 most populous counties across the United States. California had 15, Texas had 10 and Florida and New York each had 9.
How many total counties are there across the United States? 3,007.
So, of her 65,853,516 total votes received during the 2016 election, 33,256,025 votes came from those 100 counties. And less than half of her total votes came from the remaining 2,907 counties. That’s a little scary if you really think about it.
Another issue supporters of the “Popular Vote” movement need to consider is that it’s almost certainly unconstitutional. Article 1, Section 10 of the Constitution states, “No state shall, without the consent of Congress, enter into any agreement or compact with another state.”
Currently, 48 states and the District of Columbia have a winner-take-all voting system. The candidate who wins the most votes in that state wins all the electoral votes. Only Maine and Nebraska have deviated from this. Both give two electoral votes to the winner of the popular vote. The remaining electoral votes are awarded to the winner of each congressional district.
In Nebraska, during the 2016 election Donald Trump won the majority vote as well as all three congressional districts handing him all 5 electoral votes for Nebraska.
Instead of changing our voting system promoting to do away with the Electoral College, I have a better idea. Find better candidates.