The Electoral College is Good

It seems 12 states have already passed laws granting all of their electoral votes to the candidate who wins the majority of the popular vote in the country as a whole. We all remember Al Gore winning the popular vote but losing the election due to the Electoral College system our Founders gave us. I understand people’s ire with that result, but we need to really consider why the Electoral system was envisioned as the optimal choice for our great country.

Even though the Federal government has been growing like a weed for decades and most people have forgotten, the United States was formed as a union of independent states. When the country was founded, the people in each state were proud of the culture, history and way of life in their state. I would like to believe we feel that way to this day. In my opinion, the elimination of the Electoral College is a direct affront to state’s rights, and may well lead to state governments being nothing more than the local branch offices of the Feds. I don’t think that would be a good thing. Here are a couple examples:

Let’s say you live in Iowa, where I spent many years and attended college. At the 2010 census, Iowa had a population of 3.0 million. In some future presidential election, imagine that 99% of Iowans vote for candidate A, about 1.5 million votes. Candidate B ends up winning the popular vote by 500,000 votes nationwide. With these new laws, Iowa gives all their electoral votes to B, negating the votes of virtually all Iowans. Perhaps the best candidate did win, but the will of the people of Iowa is wiped away.

Now here is the insidious part. According to that same census, the US population in 2010 was 312.9 million. The nine most populated states account for more than 1/2 of the total. The top 16 states account for 2/3s of Americans. The rest is spread among the remaining 34 states and our territories (mainly Puerto Rico). In a United States without the Electoral College, no candidate is going to campaign heavily in any of those other states or territories. What’s the point? Focus on the highly populated states and major cities. Spend a little money on a network on the next tier of ten states. The rest only account for 16% of the popular vote. You can afford to ignore them and spend money where the bodies are. If you prevail, you’ll get their votes by default.

To me, this will disenfranchise those states, turning them into back waters no politician every talks about or visits. That isn’t right. Each state should have its own voice and it should be heard. And so this isn’t considered a partisan post, here are the bottom ten on the list, excluding territories: New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Montana, Delaware, South Dakota, Alaska, North Dakota, Washington DC, Vermont and Wyoming. Combined into one state, they would be the 12th largest in population, but now their 8 million voices will be silenced.

What the Electoral College does is to force candidates for President to campaign in every state. Not only is each person’s vote important, but so are the issues and needs of the states they live in. I believe these new laws will lead us backward in time to the days of the Boston Tea Party. What was that brouhaha about? Taxation without representation. Every state counts. When I was younger, I did not really understand state’s rights or the Electoral College. Now it seems so clear, and our Founders were right!

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