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Many progressives despise the Electoral College

Here’s why we need to keep it around

Mikie Negrete, Times Staff

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“It is well past time we eliminate the Electoral College, a shadow of slavery’s power on America today that undermines our nation as a democratic republic.”

That was a tweet from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, (D–NY) and her view of the Electoral College could not be more backwards, incorrect and misinformed.

Does using the Electoral College as the system to elect the President of the United States dillute democracy? Yes it does.

However, the Electoral College also makes the election of the President more fair to the smaller states with smaller populations.

Without the electoral college, California, New York and Illinois would be deciding every single presidential election.

What do those three states all have in common? They consistently award their electoral votes to the Democratic nominee for president.

The United States would never have a Republican president again, which to many here in California may sound like a good thing, but to many others all over the country sounds like a nightmare.

A lot of progressives further left than most Democrats have been arguing that the Electoral College disenfranchises a countless amount of voters every election – like those in the states with the larger populations.

However, one could also argue that the electoral college actually protects the voters in the states with smaller populations from disenfranchisement – states like Alaska, Montana, North and South Dakota and Wyoming, all states with only three electoral votes each.

Without the electoral college, the combined population of the five states mentioned above (almost 4 million people) can all consider their votes invaluable to the election of the next president, as the dominating population of California, New York and Illinois would dictate the way the election went.

1 Comment

One Response to “Many progressives despise the Electoral College”

  1. Susan Anthony on May 7th, 2019 8:38 am

    With the National Popular Vote bill, when every popular vote counts and matters to the candidates equally, successful candidates will find a middle ground of policies appealing to the wide mainstream of America. Instead of playing mostly to local concerns in Pennsylvania and Florida, candidates finally would have to form broader platforms for broad national support. Elections wouldn’t be about winning a handful of battleground states.

    Fourteen of the 15 smallest states by population are ignored, like medium and big states where the statewide winner is predictable, because they’re not swing states. Small states are safe states. Only New Hampshire gets significant attention.

    Support for a national popular vote has been strong in every smallest state surveyed in polls among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group

    Among the 13 lowest population states, the National Popular Vote bill has passed in 9 state legislative chambers, and been enacted by 5 jurisdictions.

    Now political clout comes from being among the handful of battleground states. 70-80% of states and voters are ignored by presidential campaign polling, organizing, ad spending, and visits. Their states’ votes were conceded months before by the minority parties in the states, taken for granted by the dominant party in the states, and ignored by all parties in presidential campaigns.

    State winner-take-all laws negate any simplistic mathematical equations about the relative power of states based on their number of residents per electoral vote. Small state math means absolutely nothing to presidential campaign polling, organizing, ad spending, and visits, or to presidents once in office.

    In the 25 smallest states in 2008, the Democratic and Republican popular vote was almost tied (9.9 million versus 9.8 million), as was the electoral vote (57 versus 58).

    In 2012, 24 of the nation’s 27 smallest states received no attention at all from presidential campaigns after the conventions. They were ignored despite their supposed numerical advantage in the Electoral College. In fact, the 8.6 million eligible voters in Ohio received more campaign ads and campaign visits from the major party campaigns than the 42 million eligible voters in those 27 smallest states combined.

    The 12 smallest states are totally ignored in presidential elections. These states are not ignored because they are small, but because they are not closely divided “battleground” states.

    Now with state-by-state winner-take-all laws (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but later enacted by 48 states), presidential elections ignore 12 of the 13 lowest population states (3-4 electoral votes), that are non-competitive in presidential elections. 6 regularly vote Republican (AK, ID, MT, WY, ND, and SD), and 6 regularly vote Democratic (RI, DE, HI, VT, ME, and DC) in presidential elections.

    Similarly, the 25 smallest states have been almost equally noncompetitive. They voted Republican or Democratic 12-13 in 2008 and 2012.

    Voters in states, of all sizes, that are reliably red or blue don’t matter. Candidates ignore those states and the issues they care about most.

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Many progressives despise the Electoral College