If you’ve been listening to the President’s defenders, you’ve probably noticed a common theme. Trump’s supporters say – over and over – the Democrats are trying to reverse the will of the people. To undo the vote. To overturn the election.
But here’s the thing: Trump didn’t win the election. He won the Electoral College. And that’s something very different.
In real terms, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by nearly 3 million. In other words, Americans elected Clinton President… and the system overruled the election results.
Which is exactly how the last two Republican presidents came into office. Not by the will of the people… but by the will of an outmoded system.
That’s why the GOP doesn’t want to mess with the Electoral College. But here’s why we should…
A (Sort of) Good Idea Gone Bad
It’s the end of the 18thcentury. A new Republic is getting its first footing. But there are challenges. According to some sources, election logistics were the major issue.
The 13 colonies covered a vast territory in a time when traveling 20 miles a day was admirable. There were no phones… no telegraph… no mass communication. How could you get election results from New Hampshire or South Carolina to the Capital in short order?
The simple answer: Consolidate. Don’t deliver results from every podunk town and village to the capital. Just deliver the state results.
Meet the Electoral College.
The Electoral College boiled every hamlet and village’s votes into a state-by-state result. Which made the final tally quick and simple.
Other sources say the College began as a compromise. Some Founding Fathers felt Congress should choose the President – instead of the average bumpkin landowner. Others felt it should be left entirely to the will of the people. The Electoral College system gave something to both sides.
For those who didn’t trust the average farmer or craftsman to make good decisions, the College diluted the bad choices of individuals. But it would still ensure – usually – that the candidate with the greatest overall support would win.
Still others point to concerns over big state advantages. Just three colonies – Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts – had nearly half the population of the original colonies. These three could have effectively decided any presidential election… mooting the votes of most of the other colonies.
The thing is, we’re not in the 18thcentury any more. None of these arguments hold water in today’s world. The Electoral College has become more hinderance than help. Because the person with the most votes doesn’t win… the person with the most Electors does.
And, as the last two Republican victories show, this means America may choose one candidate, but their opponent wins the election.
The Electoral College Is Anti-Democratic… and Anti-American
The Electoral College effectively negates the “one-person, one-vote” concept. With electors awarded on a winner-take-all basis in 48 states, narrow victories for one party in key states can easily hand the election over to the loser of the popular vote.
That’s how Donald Trump and George W. Bush both wound up in the Oval Office.
The College has become little more than a way to legally steal elections. Now it’s time for it to go away. Because Democracy matters.
Of course, you won’t get much support for this idea from the GOP. They’ve learned how to twist Electoral College results to their benefit. To ensure the will of the majority of voters doesn’t count.
Which has led to handing the Oval Office over to a dangerous clown like Donald Trump.
Trump, who’s alienated most of our key allies… aligned himself with dictators and oligarchs… used his office to enrich himself… and altered tax laws to favor his cronies.
Trump, who’s elevated crooks and incompetents to Cabinet-level positions… promoted white nationalism… and dismantled environmental protections.
Trump, who’s lied to voters over 16,000 times in just 3 years… used his office to damage political rivals… and spent 20% of his time in office golfing.
All accomplished with 3 million fewer votes than Hillary.
It’s Time to Bid the Electoral College Good-Bye
The Electoral College doesn’t serve America’s best interests. It’s become little more than a tool for cynical politicians to “game” the system.
Narrow victories in swing states, like Florida, can hand an election to the popular vote’s loser. And overrulethe will of the people.
Far more voters identify with the Democrats’ platform. Yet manipulation of a flawed system hands elections to the minority party. And our government has begun to look less and less like the one voters say they want.
Trump’s tax breaks for the rich come with calls for cuts to programs that support Americas poorest and most vulnerable citizens.
“Give me your tired, your poor,” Emma Lazarus wrote in The New Colossus, “Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…” Today’s GOP leadership complains about immigration from “sh*thole nations,” and wonders why more Norwegians don’t move here.
Republicans use “massive voter fraud” as an excuse to enact laws making voting harder for minorities and the poor. Yet the only cases of large-scale voter fraud in recent years have been perpetrated by pro-GOP forces.
This is why every eligible voter must exercise their rights. Why every election matters. And why the Electoral College has to go.
Every office in the land is filled by direct election… except the most important one. And the Right is using that exception to pervert Democracy. This must stop.
It’s time to end the Electoral College. To end what’s become a perversion of Democracy. And to hand our most important election over to the people.