Election 2020

This Is Why We Have the Electoral College

trump clinton sand

The final numbers from the 2016 election that brought Donald Trump to the doorsteps of the White House and the liberal Left to the brink of a nervous breakdown are now in. They show what we might have expected all along (and saved the pollsters a lot of work): that Hillary Clinton piled up huge majorities in far-gone blue states like California, New York and Illinois, while losing the votes of Real America by a sizable margin:

Final vote tallies from the November 8 election show that Democrat Hillary Clinton out-polled President-elect Donald Trump by 2.8 million votes while losing the contest by a wide margin in the all-important Electoral College. Her upper hand with voters, however, came down to performances in New York and California that were far stronger than necessary.

Clinton won California by 4.2 million and took New York by more than 1.6 million. The combined 5.8 million-vote advantage in just those two states was more than twice the size of her overall edge nationwide. When the dust settled, she lost the rest of the country by 3 million votes.

Naturally, Trump rubbed Clinton’s nose in her historic failure to remember that American elections are 50-state affairs (plus D.C.), not one large national plebiscite:

Equally as predictably, outraged progressives — still unable to come to grips with their colossal failure — are now demanding an end to (you guessed it) the Electoral College. Led, of course, by the New York Times:

By overwhelming majorities, Americans would prefer to elect the president by direct popular vote, not filtered through the antiquated mechanism of the Electoral College. They understand, on a gut level, the basic fairness of awarding the nation’s highest office on the same basis as every other elected office — to the person who gets the most votes.

But for now, the presidency is still decided by 538 electors. And on Monday, despite much talk in recent weeks about urging those electors to block Donald Trump from the White House, a majority did as expected and cast their ballots for him — a result Congress will ratify next month.

And so for the second time in 16 years, the candidate who lost the popular vote has won the presidency. Unlike 2000, it wasn’t even close. Hillary Clinton beat Mr. Trump by more than 2.8 million votes, or 2.1 percent of the electorate. That’s a wider margin than 10 winning candidates enjoyed and the biggest deficit for an incoming president since the 19th century.

Yes, Mr. Trump won under the rules, but the rules should change so that a presidential election reflects the will of Americans and promotes a more participatory democracy.

Remember when Chris Wallace asked Trump if he would abide by the results? Wallace should have also addressed the question to Hillary, whose utter classlessness has seen her a) refuse to concede, b) allow a stalking horse named Jill Stein to challenge the count in three states she lost, c) passively endorse a movement to corrupt and threaten the electors, and d) implicitly back the lunatic movement to upend the Constitution and have the American president essentially elected directly by West Los Angeles and the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

Naturally, the Times blames Mrs. Clinton’s loss on their all-purpose explanation for why things go wrong according to their crypto cultural-Marxist Weltanschauung: racism.

The Electoral College, which is written into the Constitution, is more than just a vestige of the founding era; it is a living symbol of America’s original sin. When slavery was the law of the land, a direct popular vote would have disadvantaged the Southern states, with their large disenfranchised populations. Counting those men and women as three-fifths of a white person, as the Constitution originally did, gave the slave states more electoral votes.

Today the college, which allocates electors based on each state’s representation in Congress, tips the scales in favor of smaller states; a Wyoming resident’s vote counts 3.6 times as much as a Californian’s. And because almost all states use a winner-take-all system, the election ends up being fought in just a dozen or so “battleground” states, leaving tens of millions of Americans on the sidelines.

Oh, pshaw — slavery and the three-fifths argument had little to do with the Electoral College and everything to do with the makeup of the House of Representatives (far more important to the Founders than the Senate, whose members were appointed by state legislatures), and the practical necessity of getting the Constitution ratified in the first place:

The three-fifths rule for counting slaves is often misunderstood. When the Constitutional Convention debated the issue of how to count population for the purposes of representation, the Southern delegates to the Convention would have been pleased if nonvoting slaves had been counted as full persons. That way, the Southern states would have had a greater representation in the House of Representatives. In contrast, some Northern delegates resisted counting slaves at all. Why, asked Elbridge Gerry, “shd. the blacks, who were property in the South, be in the rule of representation more than the cattle & horses of the North?” Among other things, counting slaves provided an incentive to import still more slaves.

Nor was the three-fifths rule new at the Convention. It was derived from a mechanism adopted in 1783 to apportion requisitions (the national government’s only revenue source under the Articles of Confederation) among the states. That rule was intended to provide rough equality between the North and the South, and when the idea first appeared at the Convention, no one suggested that another fraction would be more appropriate. Indeed, the rule was included in a June 11 motion, made by James Wilson of Pennsylvania and seconded by Charles Pinckney of South Carolina, suggesting that a compromise had already occurred behind the scenes.

What happened in the recent election was that the Left, by flooding into and taking over New England, the metropolitan D.C. area, Illinois, parts of the Mountain West, and the West Coast, accidentally screwed itself by confining its appeal to fringe areas of the country. Sure, they locked in California’s 55 electoral votes and New York State’s 29, but a plurality of a single liberal vote in each of those states would have given them the same result. So all those millions of votes in L.A. and the Bay Area went down the drain, which serves them right for ruining what used to be the best place to live in the entire country.

Have a look at the map and tell me what you see:

Click the map to create your own at 270toWin.com
What I see is an essentially coastal party isolated from the rest of the country. And when you stop to think that most of the Democrat votes in states that went for Hillary are further isolated in the unrepresentative big cities of their states (Denver, Chicago, New York City, the D.C. suburbs, Boston, Hartford, etc.), the actual amount of turf the Left controls is really very small.
Map via Wikimedia

Map via Wikimedia

This map presents a country essentially healthy at its core, but afflicted by a kind of ideological cancer around the edges, with some inroads to the heart of the nation via Colorado and New Mexico. But you can also see that the “firewall” of the upper Midwest, which Clinton was counting on so much she barely campaigned there, is essentially an illusion, and that Chicago, the Twin Cities, and Madison, Wisc., are islands of blue in seas of red. By chopping away Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan, the Trump campaign isolated Illinois, which ended up to be the ball game.

Seen in this light, the Electoral College in fact fairly represents what happened last month, which is why we should leave it alone. Never content to accept any provision of the Constitution that frustrates its drive toward totalitarianism, however, the Left is trying to sneak a change through that would gut the Electoral College in the guise of making our elections more “democratic.” It’s a truly evil idea called the National Popular Vote bill, which needs to be strangled at once. As the Times editorial board describes it:

The Constitution establishes the existence of electors, but leaves it up to states to tell them how to vote. Eleven states and the District of Columbia, representing 165 electoral votes, have already passed legislation to have their electors vote for the winner of the national popular vote. The agreement, known as the National Popular Vote interstate compact, would take effect once states representing a majority of electoral votes, currently 270, signed on. This would ensure that the national popular-vote winner would become president.

The constitutionality of the NPV strikes me as highly dubious, since it attacks the letter of the law rather than its intent, and corrupts the entire foundational concept of the American republic.

Conservative opponents of a direct vote say it would give an unfair edge to large, heavily Democratic cities and states. But why should the votes of Americans in California or New York count for less than those in Idaho or Texas?

Because, under our carefully crafted constitutional republic, suitable for governing a continent-wide of astonishing geographical and human diversity, the people don’t elect the president, the States do.

The system worked. Let’s leave it alone.