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Sun, Feb. 16

Community View | Electoral Vote System versus the Popular Vote

I get it, your candidate didn’t win! And some people just can’t get over it. There is the idea that if the 2016 election results were quantified in the National Popular Vote, someone else would currently occupy the White House. I’ll get back to that notion.

So, the focus now is on the differences between our Electoral Vote System versus the Popular Vote, and why the Electoral Vote no longer represents voters of this country. On the surface it seems to be unrepresentative, out of date, and plain old unfair! That’s the easy answer. But we live in the most powerful country in the world that provides unparalleled freedom. This requires a much deeper look at which voting process is appropriate for the U.S. and, the difficult decisions we face as Americans each and every election.

Our founding fathers faced a daunting task when crafting our Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and our government. The objective was to assure every citizen the same access to opportunity. Ultimately, they determined a Republic form of government would best serve this newly founded nation. The principles that guided their decisions were preventing the possibility of tyranny, mob rule and, financial and foreign influence.

A Republic provides democracy while protecting the little guy. How so, you may ask? It provides a process by which smaller territories’ (states) votes carry somewhat equal influence to serve their needs, concerns and interests (the Electoral Voting System). Under a straight Democracy which embraces popular voting the more populated regions would always prevail. This is an important issue, giving a voice to less populated states that produce food for our tables and agriculture that is vital to our position in world trade. We might appreciate their importance more if we were forced to vote on an empty stomach. Conversely, most highly populated cities manufacture and grow nothing. Locally, bigger cities control the outcome in most statewide elections. They also absorb the majority of revenue generated from taxes.

If we were to change to a pure democracy our country would change for the worse. Most Presidential candidates would focus exclusively on Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago and a few other large cities. I suppose the rest of us would escape the endless campaign ads (there’s always that). A modest amount of campaign advertising would be our only exposure to who is running for office. What would be the point in spending campaign money in places that offer no possible influence in the election outcome? Since the campaigns would focus on larger cities, more resources would be needed. If you think the amount spent in 2016 was outrageous, imagine what it will become in future Presidential elections! Imagine what promises will be made to major campaign contributors.

The framers of our government understood the need to establish “Checks and Balances.” They could not only initially establish a “Separation of Powers” between the Branches of Government but, design it in such a manor to which that Separation remained intact for years to come. To accomplish this they designed a system that permits States to engage in “Popular Voting” for local elections, their US Congressmen and later on US Senators. While each State has two elected representatives in the Senate, Congress is based on the population of each State. Suffice it to say more populated States have greater control in the Congressional Chamber. The Electoral System provides a buffer to prevent absolute control by small highly concentrated areas of America. In other words “Mob Rule”! It is ill advised to change from the Electoral Voting system.

Presently, to change from our present system of voting for our President it would require a two-thirds vote from both the U.S. Senate and Congress, and then be ratified by three-fourths of the states. There is, however, an idea being floated about a majority of states that join a National Popular Vote Compact. In this scenario constituents could convince their legislators to pass legislation and join the compact and require the electoral votes be assigned to the winner of the National Popular Vote, basically acquiescing to Los Angeles and New York City. That would be fine if they cared about what’s important to us. Doubtful! There is a flaw in this idea. Electors are NOT obligated (required) to assign their vote accordingly! Can you say Chaos? Further, imagine if the Arizona election resulted in, say, 75% for the loser of the national popular vote and the electors threw your vote to someone else! Would ever vote again?

Back to the notion that Hillary would have won if the election were decided by popular vote. Not likely! She spent more than twice the funds (a lot from foreign sources) and campaigned in a fraction of the areas of her opponent. If the election were based on a popular vote Trump would have matched the amount she spent. Beyond that, Hillary just didn’t have the stamina. She was expecting the same coronation she received from the DNC in the primary. The only thing that would have changed is the amount spent to capture the White House.

Bottom line: The national popular vote will never fairly represent the majority of States. These states are vital to the integrity of America. Just say NO to the Popular Vote!

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