Every election that the democrats lose, a faction starts coming out in force and explaining why we should eliminate the electoral college (1). Which is especially ironic if their selective amnesia didn’t interfere with their memories of how it can work for them as well as against. Just weeks before the 2016 loss, they were excitedly talking about how the electoral college could help Hillary prevent President Trump from coming to power, even if he won the popular vote. Then once they lost, the tone flipped 180° without a picosecond of introspection, or the slightest bit of irony (2). If you want to understand the full force of that irony, remember Obama lost the popular vote to Hillary in the primary (but he had more delegates), and Hillary lost the popular vote to Bernie Sanders (but she had more delegates): so neither of them would have likely been President if they practiced what they preached. But when some people lose, they want to retroactive change the rules, and get mad when you call them bad sports (when it’s the quintessential bad sportsmanship to do that).
Ignoring that duplicity, the electoral college is what allowed us to have a nation instead of a federation (confederation) in the first place. I’m reading a good book on James Madison (by Kevin Gutzman) and the creation and signing of the constitution. Summarized: Virginia had more population than the other colonies. In a pure democracy they could bully the rest, and eliminate any cultural diversity and conflicting interests. The other founding fathers knew that would never fly (with their states or people) and thus was doomed to failure. (Slavery would have been forever, and the other people/states would never buy-in). So they needed to make sure that power was decentralized, as was flaws in the system. They had to weaken nationalism, to get federalism. Ironically the people whining about Trump’s nationalism, want to create more nationalism to fix it.
NOTE: There was of course more to it than just that. Alexander Hamilton in Federalist 68 implied that electoral college (indirect republic) can provide final check (and balance): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federalist_No._68
So at least part of the the purpose of the electoral college was to prevent a geographic minority from bullying the rest of the nation (as well as a final vetting)– and without the electoral college, we wouldn’t have a Nation, we’d still be a confederation of states (or we would have had more civil wars). That is why we’re not a democracy: we are a constitutional republic. This wasn’t some 18th century accident or quirk, it was part of the fundamental design so that no one flaw in any one states "democracy" or election could overpower the rest — and a President couldn’t just appeal to a few populous states or cities and ignore the rest. Win-win. Unless you’re a really angry cry-bully that loses… and really, really wishes you could force the others to do what you want.
California vs the rest of the Nation:
- The clearest example is that Donald Trump won the popular vote in 49 states by 2,217,252 headcount advantage, while with California in the mix, he lost it by 351,589 (Hillary’s margin of victory in California? 2,568,841). Which explains the need for the electoral college right there — a geographic minority shouldn’t get to bully the entire rest of the entire country.
- How out of touch is California from the rest of the nation? More than any other state in history: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/442783/electoral-college-california-rules-america-without-constitutions-system
- NOTE: What about illegal aliens skewing the election? We know from studies there are about 11-30M illegal aliens with between 2.2% (2010) and 6.4% (2008) of them voting (and ≈80% going to democrats). That puts the range of illegal votes for Hillary between 200K – 1.5M nationally — with the most likely estimate being in the 1.2M range, and far higher than the margin of popular victory. Assuming we didn’t get higher illegal turn out and opposition to Trump than against McCain.
NYC vs the rest of the Nation:
- There are 3,141 counties in the United States.Trump won 3,084 of them. Clinton won 57.
- There are 62 counties in New York State. Trump won 46 of them. Clinton won 16.
- In the 5 counties that encompass NYC, (Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Richmond & Queens) Clinton received well over 2 million more votes than Trump. (Clinton only won 4 of these counties; Trump won Richmond). Therefore these 5 counties alone, more than accounted for Clinton winning the popular vote of the entire country.
- These 5 counties comprise 319 square miles. The United States is comprised of 3, 797,000 square miles. When you have a country that encompasses almost 4 million square miles of territory, it would be ludicrous to even suggest that the vote of those who inhabit a mere 319 square miles should dictate the outcome of a national election. Large, densely populated Democrat cities (NYC, Chicago, LA, etc) don’t and shouldn’t speak for the rest of our country.
How did they know this was a good idea (or pure democracy was a bad idea)? Unlike progressives, the Founding Fathers (especially James Madison) had read the failures of all the other democracies going back to the Greeks, before creating ours. We wanted to avoid their pitfalls, and strike a balance between local and national power — to avoid the civil wars, or disunion of either extreme. To allow our nation to grow and unite, despite dramatically different cultures and interests.
NOTE: Remember, almost all wars are because of progressives. Group A (progressives) tries to tell Group B what to do, or take their things ("for their own good" or "in the name of progress"). If Group B doesn’t that, Group A tries to force Group B. If Group B resists, you get fighting/war. If Group A doesn’t want to force Group B (they’re not progressives), then they’re both libertarians, and everyone gets along just fine. Progressivism, imperialism, statism, tyranny, they’re all aspects of the same thing, with just different justifications/rationalizations: I want to make you do what I want.
Question: What is moral about 50%+1 vote deciding they get to enslave or abuse the other 50%-1?
Answer: it isn’t moral.
So the purpose of a MORAL constitutional republic is NOT to empower the majority and demand consensus/conformity, but to PROTECT the minority and individuals from them (ensure cultural and geographic diversity). Which you don’t have in the consensus forcing pure democracy.
Thus if you understand those basic ethics, then a hybrid republic system, like the electoral college, helps protect geographic minorities (small states and regions) from a lack of diversity of thought. And thus "it’s a good thing™". Otherwise a President just campaign in a few big states, get 50%+1 of the vote, and ignore the interests of the rest — which causes friction between those little states and everyone else. Ergo, a few cities don’t get to bully the whole nation just because they have more population than the rest — and Presidential candidates must take into account what the little guys care about.
If you don’t understand those ethics, and believe the majority should be able to do whatever they want, then that’s not a constitutional republic that’s democratic Marxism (or even fascism). Which the founders knew to be bad. (the ideas behind socialism and tyranny go back before the Greeks, even if the term Marxism was coined after a 19th century ideological moron).
Put another way: you must get geographic consensus (diverse agreement), which is more important than demographic consensus (tyranny of the majority).
NPV: National Popular Vote
Of course, to some little snowflakes, every time they don’t get their way, they want to "fix" the system — in both senses of the word. (To "make better", or to "rig" in your favor). And thus we get another wave of the NPV movement: or "National Popular Vote".
There’s a few ways to fix the electoral college, assuming you’re uninformed enough to think it actually needs fixing:
- Constitutional Amendment
- Constitutional Congress
- Circumvent it (end run around the Constitution)
Article V of the constitution laws out the steps for getting an amendment. Of course, Constitutional Amendments are intentionally hard to do — and progressives are inherently lazy (intellectually and otherwise). They want what they want, as easily as possible, and don’t care how to get it. So they’re not going to go through the option #1 of official amending process of (a) both houses doing a supermajority (2/3rd) vote (b) then 3/4ths of state must ratify it. That could take years, or never happen — because 3/4ths of the states usually aren’t as dim as progressives (to think it’s a good idea to allow the few states/cities to bully the rest). And option #2 of getting 2/3rds of the House/Senate to call a constitutional convention to propose many amendments, and getting 3/4ths of the states to ratify them, is even harder. So doing it the right way, is right out.
Thus, if you’re not going to follow the legal and formal process, and you have no integrity to defend the actual Constitution, what then?
Enter the Democrat/Progressive created NPVIC movement.
You create an agreement (compact) that once the majority of the states (with enough electoral votes) sign on, it takes effect. And the compact is that all the States agree that they’ll ignore their constitutional responsibility to vote according to what the people in their state wanted, and just assign their electoral college votes based on whoever wins the national popular vote. Tada: our Constitution is circumvented. Now it doesn’t matter what you vote for in your state, your electorates can change and vote for whoever one the national popular vote instead. California can ignore what the Californians voted for, and agree to what the nation wanted. It’s a really bad idea, and here’s a great PragerU video that sums it up:
A better way?
If you do care about democracy (better representation) and the constitution, a better way to fix it, would be to change from Winner-take-all to dividing the electoral votes by the percent of support (more or less). This would allow for better representation, and is constitutional (since how states divide their electoral votes is a State decision). Maine and Nebraska already do this, it works fine — though some partisans in the states want to force it back, "stop giving the opposition a voice".
So in California, with its 55 electoral votes, instead of people who aren’t in L.A. and the Bay Area being forced to throw all the electoral votes behind someone they disagree with, they could get partial credit. This gives the inland, South and North California better representation. But since L.A. and the Bay Area are progressive democrats that like bullying the rest of the state, they suddenly don’t give a shit about "pure" democracy and representation. They want to stay and all-or-nothing state, to reduce any representation that the rest of the state might have: proving once and for all how much they truly care about the little guy.
Remember, Trump and others won by the rules of the election: campaigning in states that could throw him the most electoral votes, and not wasting time in states that were all or nothing states and leaning away (e.g. California). If the rules had been different, he would have campaigned differently, and maybe still won. Remember, it’s not just him that acted different because of the rules, but the voters. A few people (self included), knew we weren’t in swing states, so we knew we were free to vote for 3rd party or write-ins (others didn’t bother voting at all, since their vote didn’t matter) — but if it was a national popular vote, many would have voted differently and turned out? We’ll never know, but we do know that the outcome/turnout of Hillary’s popular win would NOT have been the same. So popular vote means nothing, it’s like losing a drag race and pointing out that you got better MPG than the competition, like that ever mattered.
Every few elections people who have no clue as to the nuances of history, or failures of Marxism and democracy, are pretending that a pure democracy is somehow better than the hybrid systems we setup specifically to avoid the pitfalls that all other pure democracies fell into. But how do you educate those who don’t want to be educated? The impatient and impetuous youth that will make up their minds, long before reading about a topic, or why something exists in the first place? These snowflakes want what they want, and they want it now, and damn the consequences. So that’s where we’re at.
Or as Penn Gillette said, "Democracy without respect for individual rights sucks. It’s just ganging up against the weird kid, and I’m always the weird kid." And progressives and NPVIC supporters, want pure democracy (the tyranny of the majority) without any respect for individuals, geographic diversity, or having to think about what it would do to the nation when some people start disagreeing with their agenda. Like they said on the Titanic, "Damn the consequences, full steam ahead!"
Sidenote: 17th amendment
Progressives often have these big ideas, based on a lack of domain knowledge, history, and understanding of consequences. A related example was one of many of their big ideas at the turn of the 20th century that turned into a bad idea: the 17th Amendment.
Our Constitution was written with a tricameral system (or bicameral legislature). Or in other words, the Lower House (Congress) was elected by the people, the Upper House (Senate) was put in place by the States, and the President was looking out for the National Interests (and was also by the people — with some checks, like an electoral college). The idea was that the public could be too fickle, and they need balances to check against too reactionary of legislation, and different groups to protect against different interests.
There were some problems with the Senate at the turn of the century and corruption in a few states, but by and large the system worked as designed. The public could influence congress — and the Senate prevented populous states or congress from bullying other states. It slowed down the progressives, and made sure that the federal government was grabbing too much power, which would reduce liberty and encroach on individuals. The progressives don’t like slowing down, and thinking about consequences of their actions, so their movement was able to "fix" the senate, by making it by popular vote as well.
It worked exactly as expected. Without the check against federal power, and without the States interests being protected against other states, the federal government was able to subsume much more power than in the first 120 years of the nation, and the result was a more reactionary, imperialist, and power-grabbing, land-grabbing and war-mongering federal government. Most of the worst legislation in our nations history were more easily passed because of the 17th (think Sedition Act or Espionage Act). And of course, to prove the infection of bad ideas wasn’t done, they soon passed boondoggles like 18th Amendment as well.
- (1) Trump won the electoral college, so it is bad
- (2) The electoral college working for Hillary, so it’s good
- (3) About the electoral college
- PragerU video in what it is and why: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXnjGD7j2B0&app=desktop