Alis volat propriis
- Aug 25, 2009
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Or better yet ,just leave well enough alone. A system that has worked for over 200 years can't be all bad.I am for strengthening the electoral college as to where the President-Elect must get both the plurality of the nationwide popular vote as well as the majority of the electoral votes—the famous “270” that we hear about. Save for that one aspect of strengthening, I’m quite happy with the current formation of the electoral college as opposed to the direct election of the president through the national popular vote.
Here is why;
Whatever system we have must be good for every outcome. While not perfect, the current system ensures that at least a majority of the electors select the president. A national popular vote, in the year 2020, would do the same thing. However, ours is not a static electoral landscape. Does anyone remember all of those great democratic presidents from California? Yeah, neither do I. That’s because what is a solid blue state today used to be a pretty dependable red state. Presidents Nixon and Reagan both came from there; both republicans. The brick red-south used to be called the “solid south” for another reason; they supported democrats almost exclusively. So today’s reality must not be taken as being carved in stone.
Further, the two-party system that we currently have has not always been the case. In the future there may be serval parties that emerge dividing the vote into smaller percentages. Whereas the Electoral College has remedies for no one candidate getting 270 electoral votes, the national popular vote has only a provision for the candidate who gets the most votes winning whether it be 80% of the vote, 50% of the vote, or 12% of the vote if every other candidate gets 11.9% and less. As unsettling it is to contemplate the winner having been crowned when 88% chose someone else, it’s even more unsettling to consider that the proposed remedies—a nationwide runoff—would delay a president-elect being named for weeks. There is an intriguing remedy of “rank choice voting” where you have an instant run-off. It is explained here.
I don’t care much for the idea as it would elevate a candidate who didn’t get the most “first choice” votes to office based on being more voter’s second choice. But I could see some value in the concept.
One of the most frequent complaints about the electoral college is that candidates only campaign seriously if a handful of states that are considered to be contested. This is true. Here is a graphic from the National Popular Vote website that shows the campaign stops
View attachment 360418
What isn’t addressed by the graphic is that if an NPV was instituted, the candidates would focus almost solely on high population centers as opposed to toss-up states; thus substituting one criteria-based campaign strategy for another. I’ve heard some proponents of the NPV state that this is how it “should” be—high population centers having more sway than comparatively rural areas like Nevada and Colorado. I reject that because demographics, as I mentioned earlier, do change over time.
Lastly, let me close on what I mentioned earlier. In this day and age, there is no reason to ignore the national popular vote. In a democracy, you vote should matter and it should have some effect on the outcome of the election in which you’re voting. So that is why I’m for strengthening the electoral college by having the president-elect win both the plurality of the popular vote and the electoral vote majority. If they do not win both, the remedies of the 12th Amendment come into play; just as it would if no candidate gets 270 electoral votes four months from now. Given the most recent election saw the Blob win an electoral victory without winning a popular vote victory, I’m sure some will see this as me trying to throw up a hurdle to his oozing into office. I wish it were that easy. But no, I brought up the plan I had long before he won. From 2015:
Electoral College. Just why?
The remedy I proposed, in our history, would only have changed the winner (arguably) 4 times when the President didn’t get both the EC victory and the NPV victory. In the two most recent incarnations; Bush in 2000 and the Blob in 2016; in both cases the House would have almost certainly delivered the presidency to Bush and Trump since the GOP had majorities in both 2000 and 2016. So this is not me trying to re-write history.
There is plenty wrong with our system of electing Presidents. We need to make election day into an election week. We need to expand access to the ballot requiring states to offer no-cause absentee voting. We need to get the parties out of the business of running elections all together and let the county clerks and election officials run elections. We need to have third, fourth, and fifth parties on the debate stage next to the Democrats and Republicans so voters can draw distinctions between the different candidates who are running. But one thing that we have that works in all climates is the electoral college. I think it needs to be strengthened to make sure the President Elect is the voter’s choice. But it’s not bad the way it is.
As with all things, there is room for improvement.
That's the first question, but the second is whether the proposed improvement is actually better.
At least you're not just blindly advocating the PV, but I like the EV the way it is. The founders got it right
I think it's a good idea to have at least a plurality of people who cast ballots decide. Just as they do for every other office in the nation. I understand that the national demographics would quickly devolve into large metropolitan areas deciding the President so I want both the EC and the plurality of the PV. If you can't get both (most times the President Elect does)...have the House decide the matter.