Deminski: Sore loser Sen. Boxer’s Hail Mary to eliminate Electoral College
Lots of luck on this one. U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer has filed legislation to get rid of the Electoral College after Trump's stunning victory over Hillary Clinton. We know Hillary won the popular vote by at least 800,000. But just like Al Gore in 2000, she won more American votes overall (popular vote), yet lost the election. In Gore's case it was a little over 500,000 votes. It is the electoral vote that actually wins the White House. In total there are 538 electors with each state holding so many. For instance in the 2016 election, New Jersey had 14 electoral votes compared to Florida's 29, California's 55, and Wyoming's 3.
One has to reach 270 to be elected president. The way the popular vote goes state by state is the way the electors of each state are expected to cast their votes. The system usually goes hand in hand with the popular vote as a whole, but not always. We already mentioned two of them. The only other two times a candidate won the popular vote but lost the electoral vote and did not become president were in 1888 when Grover Cleveland won the popular vote but lost to Benjamin Harrison, and in 1876 when Samuel Tilden won the popular vote but lost to Rutherford B. Hayes.
Barbara Boxer knows her legislation isn't going anywhere but the trash heap. The Republicans control the House and the Senate and now a Republican will control the White House. If we went with a system that simply added up the votes in the U.S. as a whole, a Democrat would likely win every time. Look at the urban centers and how they vote. New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, etc.. are almost always blue. It's that sea of red across middle America that is Republican territory but not always winning with a popular vote. The Electoral College somewhat levels the playing field. For example, would any candidate pay attention to a state like Wyoming, our country's least populated state under a popular vote system? Yes, under the current system Wyoming only has 3 electoral votes to offer compared to our most populated state's 55. But at least that's an 18 to 1 ratio. Under pure population the comparison of California to Wyoming is nearly 67 to 1. So you can see that many less populated states hold more influence under the electoral system as well they should. Scrapping our system and electing presidents only through popular vote will mean many of those lesser states issues will be ignored and a president needs to be president for all Americans, not just Americans living near great population clusters.
Yet Jeffrey Rosen, president of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia says the electoral system seems antiquated and doesn't work as the founding fathers expected. "The framers thought they would be a check on demagogues and the popular passions." Wow, crazy how we just elected a demagogue under this very system.
You also have to keep in mind that Trump in 2016 and Bush in 2000 could have very likely won had they been playing under different rules for the fact they would have campaigned in different fashion. They were campaigning to win the states needed under an electoral system. Had the rule been popular vote wins it doesn't automatically mean they would have lost. It means they would have campaigned differently to appeal to the largest popular vote and not to the current system of 270 electoral votes and still could have won the presidency.
So is Barbara Boxer right? Should we abolish the Electoral College and elect a president by a pure tally of all votes in the nation regardless of state borders? Answer our poll question below.
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