Thoughts on the Electoral College

We were taught in school that the Electoral College was an institution designed to protect the American public from themselves. That some rational group of men would stand between the public and the presidency so that candidates with foreign ties or who openly spoke against the principles of our republic would not be able to charm their way into office. Alexander Hamilton actually wrote about that at length.

Now there are people who say that our current President-elect is precisely the kind of guy the electoral college is supposed to protect us from. He covers all the checkboxes: shady foreign ties, a long record of unethical behavior, conflicts of interest, and that fascism thing. But the electors are not going to protect us from Trump. In fact, they can’t. They are bound by the laws of the states they represent.

So why does the electoral college really exist? For the same reason it’s never going away: less-populous states don’t want to get railroaded every election by the more-populous states. The electoral college was an invention to get the constitution ratified in the first place. In this country, citizens of the more populous states are less powerful by design. It was the only way to get the little states to sign up in the first place.

Personally, I think if you believe in one person/one vote, then all the votes should count equally. That, or we should go ahead and split up a few states. California becomes three states, New York two. Texas, I’m not sure about. Three? West Texas, East Texas, and Austin?

It doesn’t seem right that simply drawing lines on the map differently should change the outcome of an election that covers all that territory, but if that’s what it takes to get equal representation, then why not? Honestly, I think California would function better if it were three separate states.

Though I have to note that if the polar ice caps keep melting, a lot of people are going to be moving in the next few decades. The imbalance may just take care of itself.


3 thoughts on “Thoughts on the Electoral College

  1. Does the splitting up of certain states need to happen if each vote counts for the total of all votes in the country or if only votes in a state count for winning that state?

    • The latter, if I understand your question. By making California three states, (former) California would have more total electors, so the votes of the citizens of the three states would have more meaning.

      Now I feel the need to name the states: Southern California has already named itself SoCal, so why fight it? The central valley I dub Veggievania.

      Northern California? Sure there’s NorCal, but that’s just derivative and ignores the culture of most of the new state. NorCal is something Bay Area residents say. I’m going to call the state Shasta, and put its capital in Weed.

      The bay area doesn’t really belong in Northern California, or Shasta as it will soon be called. Nor does it belong in Veggietania, but that’s where it’s going to have to end up, even if Big Sur is part of Shasta.

      • Yes, you got it. When I hear people discuss removing the Electoral College, I go immediately to the total vote count across the nation, regardless of boundaries. I mean, we are voting on the one person to rule us all.

        And then I always wonder how “States” became the voter instead of counties or cities or wards.

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