The Electoral College

By Jim Ellis

Dec. 7, 2016 — Is the Electoral College doomed, or coming into a new sphere of relevance? As we know, Hillary Clinton out-polled Donald Trump in the popular vote, now by some 2.3 million people as the totals are becoming finalized, but she failed to secure an Electoral College victory. Therefore, numerous efforts have begun to either change Electors’ votes or eliminate the system entirely.

The Gallup organization just completed a poll, as they did after the 2000 election when Al Gore suffered a similar fate at the hands of George W. Bush. Their recent results are surprising, especially when considering the tenor of the media arguments.

According to Gallup (Nov. 28-29; 1,021 US adults), 49 percent of the respondents would like to see the US Constitution amended to elect the president through an aggregate vote of the citizenry. Those in favor of keeping the current system totaled 47 percent.

In actuality, this result is a huge improvement for the pro-Electoral College segment. Just a week after the 2000 election, during the Nov. 11-12 period, Gallup conducted a similar survey and found 61 percent wanting to scrap the Electoral College versus only 35 percent status quo supporters.

Four years later, just before the 2004 election, the percentages of those wanting to scrap or keep the EC were exactly the same, 61-35 percent in favor of adopting a pure popular vote presidential election system.

The Founding Fathers developed the Electoral College system primarily to protect the small states and rural areas from being overrun by the cities. Such remains true today. Without the Electoral College, the smaller states would have little influence in the election. In 2016, because President-Elect Trump needed all 23 states that normally vote Republican in a presidential campaign to continue their previous trend, each place mattered greatly.

Furthermore, though Clinton recorded a relatively substantial popular margin, literally her entire victory scope came from just one state, California. As the final tallies are still being counted, Clinton won the Golden State by more than 4.2 million votes far beyond her national 2.3 million margin. In fact, we can almost cull her advantage down to basically one county. Clinton carried Los Angeles County by approximately 1.7 million votes. Therefore, in the other 49 states, Trump won by about two million votes, and over 3.1 million in the 19 states where both campaigns spent money and competed on a head-to-head basis.

A group of electors calling themselves the “Hamilton Electors” have apparently agreed to cast their votes for Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R). Since virtually all of these individuals are from states like Washington and Colorado that voted for Hillary Clinton, it’s difficult to see how taking electoral votes away from their candidate is going to hurt Donald Trump. He apparently lost one elector from Texas, and it’s those states that will have to begin peeling off if any movement against the President-Elect is to gain steam.

Thirty-seven electors, or 12.1 percent from states that voted for Trump, would have to peel away to force the election into the House of Representatives. The electors meet in the various state capitols on Dec. 19. There appears little chance the rump groups attempting to deny Trump the Presidency can succeed.

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