Photo from ABCNews.go.com
By Vinny Ball
Hillary Clinton, the first female nominee of a major political party was the people’s choice, but she lost the Electoral College to Donald Trump, a system that he has likely grown fonder of since his comments in 2012:
The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 7, 2012
For the second time in this young century, a presidential candidate has won the popular vote but lost the Electoral College, and therefore presidency. In each instance, the outcome was in favor of the Republican Party.
The Electoral College is an unfair system that breeds an unbalanced democracy; voters living in smaller states and swing states carry greater power with their vote than citizens in more populated states, especially ones that aren’t likely to alternate from red to blue with each election cycle. As urbanization continues, voters in cities will have increasingly less leverage than their rural counterparts, meaning that the Electoral College will become even more unrepresentative of the electorate.
There have been a number of online petitions circulating regarding the Electoral College, with some calling on members of the Electoral College to act rogue and vote for Hillary Clinton despite their state’s outcome, and others calling for the system’s abolition.
Democrats can hang onto the pipe dream their petitions hold, but, it’s unlikely the Electoral College will be abolished any time soon, especially when considering Republicans control the House and Senate. But generating a discussion on how to address the system’s flaws can be the first step in achieving a system that values all members of the electorate.
And because politics is all about compromise, instead of calling for the abolition of the Electoral College, why not have electoral votes be proportional to the popular vote of a given state, as opposed to a winner take all system?
In Florida, for instance, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton received 49% and 48% of Florida’s popular vote respectively, so each would receive 14 of the state’s 29 electoral votes, with the remaining vote being awarded to third-party candidate Gary Johnson, as he received 2% of the popular vote. Under this system it would be far more difficult to reach the required 270 electoral votes, so it would make sense to award the election by plurality.
However, just like the current system, there remains a bias towards smaller rural states. Less populous states like North Dakota and Wyoming are entitled to at least three electoral votes, and those states will have a lower population per electoral vote, thus awarding increased value to a citizen’s vote in those states. This can be resolved by basing the number of electoral votes strictly off of population, but remember, the spirit of compromise is what gets things done.
The Electoral College in its current state is an antiquated system and does not reflect the ideals and electorate of 2016. Given our country’s ugly history with slavery, the system is inherently flawed to continue silencing minorities, most of whom live in cities and states that are typically blue. It’s time to make sure their voice receives proper representation. It should be a goal of our government to make the Electoral College as fair as it could possibly be.