Federalists, Fences and Fascists – Part 2 of 4
[Editor’s Note: This is the second of a four part series on the Electoral College and its meaning and its effect on the national psyche following the Election of 2016. This is likely the best explanation of this institution you will ever find.]
First let’s look at how many states were needed to shoot Hillary Clinton past Donald Trump in the popular vote by the current (daily changing) margin of 2.8 million votes. The total number of states that were needed is one. Mrs. Clinton beat Mr. Trump in California by around 4.2 million votes. In Los Angeles County alone, she won by over 1.2 million votes.
Our electoral process changed after the first few presidencies due to the impact of the unforeseen evolution of political parties. It makes for interesting reading, but we can jump to the post-1804 process we have today.
The easiest way to grasp the reasoning behind the Electoral College is to forget about your individual presidential vote and instead think of your state’s vote. Actually, if no candidate wins a majority of electoral votes (greater than 269), then the states literally each get one vote. When there is not a majority winner in the Electoral College, the House of Representatives selects the president by each state casting one vote, Wyoming and California each casting one vote for the president despite the disparity between populations.
So, back to it being the states voting and not you. If states cast their votes for the president like the Senate casts its votes for all our federal legislation (and presidential appointees), then each state would get the exact same number of electoral votes. Again Wyoming and California would get the same number of votes.
Many would argue that the above situation would be unfair. Wyoming would have an unfair influence on the selection of president. The opposite situation is what is being cried for, the popular vote. That would give the entire state of Wyoming less votes than some individual counties. California has seven counties that cast more votes than the entire population (including children) of Wyoming.
With a popular national election, the large cities and populace states would dominate. There would be no state vote, just one big mob vote. I’m sure that the leftists, whose party flourishes in the urban areas where people flock for government handouts, love this idea. But try a little empathy for the more rural states. The idea of every law being written and passed by city dwellers must be pretty scary to ranchers and farmers.
So, we have two possible extremes regarding presidential elections. One vote from each state and one vote from each man (I know women vote, please get over my traditional use of the term “man.”)
In between those two extremes is our Electoral College. Each state gets a number of electors equal to their representation in Congress. The smallest number possible is three – one representative and two senators. The largest currently is California with 55 total electors.
Including two electors for each senator skews things a bit to aid the smaller states. Representatives are assigned proportional to population, but that is not the case for senators. By the way, the District of Columbia gets three electors despite no senatorial representation due to a constitutional amendment in the 1960’s.
[Editor’s Post Note: In the next installment, Mr. Kellar examines another feature of the Electoral College that may seem strange to some.]