The Electoral College Must Go

20 Mar 2019
Al Gore, Hillary Clinton (labeled for re-use)

While I’m far from deciding on a Democratic candidate, I agree with Senator Elizabeth Warren in her support for “getting rid of the electoral college,” and having the presidency decided by a national popular vote.  Per Matthew Dowd’s ABC NEWS article, Warren was “quickly attacked by many who think this is a “radical idea.” Yet that assessment is incorrect.  Per a new CBS News poll, about 60% of Americans are in favor of abolishing the Electoral College.

As Mr. Dowd notes, “support for the popular vote has risen as Americans have witnessed, in the last 20 years, two presidents win the Oval Office while losing the national popular vote.” In 2000, despite Gore receiving 543,895 more votes than George W. Bush, he lost the election.  In 2016, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 3 million, yet was still declared the “loser.” That is unprecedented and speaks to the outdated Electoral College model.

Per Memphis Representative Steve Cohen:

“The Electoral College is a relic of slavery; the 3/5 compromise. It let slave states wield more influence than their voting population merited. We need to move toward a “1 person, 1 vote” standard. That’s why I introduced an amendment to eliminate the Electoral College.”

Beyond the inherent unfairness of the Electoral College, the current model dictates that candidates spend an inordinate amount of time and energy on a few battleground states. As Mr. Dowd noted:

“If the 2020 election were to be decided by a national popular vote instead of the Electoral College, candidates and campaigns in the general election would have to completely refashion their strategies…[t]o reallocate resources, the campaigns would have to put time and effort into at least 40 states, representing 90 percent of the country’s voters.”

“In a national popular vote effort, campaigns would have to spend time in places like Texas, California, New York, Louisiana, Washington, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, George, North Carolina, etc. Under the current system, candidates only go to those states to fundraise.”

I’m tired of living in one of our most populous and diverse states and having our votes be an afterthought. Which brings me to another point – news networks should shut the hell up about all the prognosticating while people go to the polls – to actually vote.  Stop polling in advance to manipulate and steer the race; stop exit polling. Just stop.

If rich talking heads wish to remain in their cloistered circles, they need to keep their opinions to themselves until after we have had our say – and that say will surely be diminished if the Electoral College is allowed to remain in place.

Candidates have an obligation to appeal to as many voters as possible across this nation, whether urban, rural or anything in between.  As it stands now, many feel their votes matter less because if they live in a typically Red or Blue state, their votes won’t change the outcome – but a national popular vote determining the winner may make a difference.  That may very well encourage those otherwise (rightly) frustrated or apathetic to be more involved in the process.

Also remember that in the last 7 presidential election cycles (1992-2016), a Republican only won the popular vote once — GWBush’s re-election campaign in 2004. So who does the Electoral College advantage? It keeps what is increasingly a minority Party in power.

Former Attorney General Eric Holder tweeted the following:

“Abolish the Electoral College. Have the direct vote of the people choose the President.  To ensure national support – if one candidate doesn’t get 50% of the vote have a runoff 4 weeks after the election between the top two vote recipients. More fair.  Better for true democracy.”

Show me a Representative who is against that and I will show you someone who wants to suppress your vote for their own selfish reasons.

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Comments

  1. Buffy Pribble Says: March 20, 2019 at 9:11 pm

    I Agree That The Electoral College Should Go Away Completely as I live in CA and I felt that my Vote didn’t Count and my National Vote was Decided by the Electoral College Over my VOTE MATTERS At the End it’s Didn’t Matter And I was MISSED LEAD That My Vote Count overall!! Anyone Agree with my Theory??

  2. I think the present system is remarkably consistent with how our Government is run. The House of Representatives is population driven, the Senate is two Senators per State regardless of Population.
    The Presidential Election is based on Popular vote wins a State’s Electoral College, but the Overall Winner is still determined by the majority of Electoral Colleges votes. Seems like a very clever and consistent methodology.
    Trump’s campaign people did Facebook ads targeted to the Micro Level, Hillary Clinton did no Facebook Advertising. If Hillary Clinton had done Facebook Targeted Micro Ads, she probably would have won the popular vote by 5 to 6 million and also won the Electoral College Vote.

  3. Kathleen Wynne Says: March 21, 2019 at 6:43 am

    Elections should be about who is the most qualified to be president, not on who best uses Facebook to advertise. How can we trust it any longer since we found out that social media had been hacked into by Russia and who knows else and flooded it with Russian bots who haa an agenda to disparage Hillary and favor Trump (and Sanders while we’re at it) in order to influence who the people would vote for.

    Hillary Clinton did not lose the 2016 election, it was stolen by Russia and based on documented fact, the voting systems can be hacked into in order to manipulate the votes without detection. Anyone who believes that technology is the best way to choose our leaders considering what we know happened in 2016 is simply not paying attention TO THE FACTS AND IS RELYING ON ALTERNATIVE FACTS TO MAKE THEIR DECISION.

    With voting systems vulnerable to manipulation, along with social media being invaded by foreign entities who wish to influence our elections, as they have done in Europe, then we must not keep using the same system of manipulation if we don’t want the same thing that happened in 2016 (and probably other races as well) to happen again. Instead, we have to focus on a more direct way for the people’s voices to be heard.

    Hillary won by 3 million votes because it’s not as easy to manipulate millions of votes nationwide, but it is easy to manipulate the electoral votes in 3 states. Until the government actually takes steps to find out where and how the Russians were able to interfere with the election outcome through technology, the American people have to stay engaged and vote in huge numbers all over the country in order to override the kind of manipulation that put GW Bush in the WH by 500+ votes and trump by 75,000. HARDLY AN EXPRESSION OF THE WILL OF PEOPLE BY ANY STRETCH OF THE IMAGINATION.

    • Part of Electioneering is strategy. The Strategy to not use Facebook to advertise to her own followers and those on the fence was just bad strategy. I donated what I could afford to Hillary’s Campaign several times. What hurt me, and I believe millions of others supporters, was her obtuseness at seeing the importance of some type of direct messaging.
      Disruption is part of our lives now. We can stay the course on certain things, but we need to be aware of disruption. Trump ran a disruptive campaign in the Media and his campaign stops, but Trump did those personalized, localized, Targeted Facebook ads. Facebook actually had their people at Trump headquarters several times a week educating the Trump marketers on how to use the Targeting Ads. I wish Hillary had targeted her people. Make them feel specials. Hillary Clinton relied too much on the major networks to get her message out and it was not enough.

  4. I’m with you, Rep Cohen and the Americans—time to change this and a whole lot more outdated, outmoded, political processes and institutions

  5. Kathleen Wynne Says: March 21, 2019 at 8:54 pm

    Allessandro,

    Ineffective marketing didn’t defeat Hillary, the Russians did, aided and abetted by trump and his campaign. She won by a wider margin than any male candidate before her. She couldn’t have done that if it was all about marketing. Obviously, the people chose Hillary as their president, so, why the focus on her not marketing effectively using social media? She wasn’t an unknown and had been vetted more than any other candidate ever. Her policy proposals were all posted on her campaign’s webpage and she constantly told the media this, but they spent about 25 minutes covering that and the rest of the time complaining ad nauseum about her e-mails! It sounds like you, like so many others, are looking for an excuse to blame her for the loss rather than acknowledging the real reason — the presidency was stolen from her. I guarantee that any male candidate who lost after winning the popular vote to the degree that she did, would have contested the results (trump said he would if he lost) and the media and the public would have understood and allowed it. Hillary would NEVER be allowed to question the results. If she had, the media would have slammed her calling her a power hungry woman and sore loser if she even hinted at questioning the results.

    To show how much white male privilege still controls the media, as well as social media, despite having a clumsy roll out filled with gaffs and no real positions to offer, Beto O’Rourke was welcomed by the media as an “Obama-esque” candidate! Wow! The majority of the country knows very little about the guy because he did not distinguishe himself with any major legislation during his 6 years in the House, but they are already treating him like a media darling, just like they did Obama who was only in the senate for a year before announcing his run for the presidency.

    I’m from Texas and know about O’Rourke and while he is a nice guy and is relatively young and good looking, he doesn’t have the qualifications to be president. On the other hand, despite having more experience and offering policies with specifics on how they could be achieved, who was going to pay and why – NONE of the women were given such treatment. Kamala Harris had a flawless roll out when she announced and she was treated like a mediocre candidate. The media and their pundits have already started trying to find something, anything to find fault with the women, such as Amy Klobuchar focusing on her being a “mean boss”; Harris did not do enough for social justice when she was a prosecutor in California; Warren is going to have trouble with claiming she had Native American heritage! If the men were held to the same standard imposed on these women, none of them would even make it past the first couple of debates, and they know it. OBVIOUSLY, WE ARE STILL FIGHTING WHITE MALE PRIVILEGE.

    NO CANDIDATE IS PERFECT, but that was what was expected of Hillary. I’m sick of the lame excuses made about why she lost. It just proves that the double standard is still alive and well because without it, men could no longer claim the lion’s share of power and that is their biggest fear about women gaining more power. Trump is the result of that unfounded fear because the media, the Russians, the republicans, and the Bernie bros did everything they could to bring down Hillary and they put her through hell trying, but she still won by millions of votes.

    What will it take for men to stop destroying the village in order to keep a woman from being in charge of it?

  6. If the electoral collage is changed the country will be run by California Illinois and New York these are bankrupt state. Is this good for the use

  7. Kathleen Says: April 25, 2019 at 4:13 am

    It won’t just be getting rid of the electoral college that will help a woman become president! It will be the eradicating the sweeping and pervasive sexism/misogyny that will win the day for women!

    The latest proof of how pervasive sexism still remains an inherent part of our culture is when Biden FINALLY decided to run for president a third time, the media is already giving him the most positive coverage despite many missteps in Biden’s past. The media has totally forgotten about age as being an issue (as they did with Hillary), nor the fact that he lost both primaries he ran in by huge margins, nor the fact that he did nothing to protect Anita Hill when he was the Chairman of that Committee (and never apologized to her as he implied that he would), nor understands the personal space of women until he was FINALLY called out about it. All forgotten and now they are saying he can beat trump!

    The ONLY way a woman can have a fair chance of winning the presidency is if the majority of women support them. Far too many men are still having a problem with accepting a woman as Commander-in-Chief. The reason is just as Hillary said at the Time 100 Conference – That many men don’t even realize that they are sexist in how they view women. I wonder how long that syndrome will be used as an excuse to ignore a more qualified woman in favor of a mediocre/incompetent male for the most powerful position in the world.

    Ironically, the biggest misogynist who ran, Trump, was able to steal the election with the help of Russia because men were willfully blind to his close relationship with Russia, total incompetence, corruption, misogyny, racism, homophobia, not to mention, sheer unfitness for the job because they couldn’t accept that a highly qualified woman should get the job. What?

    I no longer accept that we are the “greatest country in the world” when you see how pervasive misogyny still prevails, despite the clear evidence that women have proven to be extraordinary leaders when given the chance and our country is the better for it. They will bring a different perspective to the table of which this country has been deprived since Abigail Adams asked her husband, John, when he was off to write the Constitution to “not forget the ladies”. This sad truth is all because the hatred/fear of women still exists in the American male psyche since 1776.

    I hope women will stand up for each other this time around. We lost the most qualified person to run – Hillary – because of sexism and our own lack of confidence in our own abilities and our conditioning to support a man over a woman. Let’s not let that happen gain, PLEASE!

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