March 29, 2019

These days, being “progressive” means, more than anything else, the urge to constantly look backwards (digging up every bad idea from the past, from socialism to anti-Semitism to non-PC Twitter jokes to measles), Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., is the latest “Progressive” to try to rerun Hillary Clinton’s 2016 election campaign by calling for the elimination of the Electoral College.

Many so-called progressives are still grumbling about Trump’s presidency not being “legitimate” because he didn’t win the popular vote, which is irrelevant (if it had been a popular vote election, both candidates would have run completely different campaigns aimed at turnout.) They seem to have forgotten that Trump is actually the fifth president who took office without winning the popular vote. They say this is an affront to democracy, but America is not a pure democracy. The Founders feared the tyranny of the majority and created a Constitutional Republic for good reason so that any candidate would have to win broad support across the nation, not just in a handful of heavily-populated cities.

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Some dismiss this as putting “geography” ahead of people but it’s actually protecting people. People in farming or ranching states shouldn’t be steamrolled by voters 1,000 miles away who have no understanding or concern about their lives and interests. If you want to see what a national popular vote election would be like, ask a conservative farmer in California or Colorado how well he feels his state government represents him now. It's no coincidence rural counties in both states have secessionist movements.

Hillary was done in by a number of factors, not the least of which was her decision to ignore the problems of voters in Rust Belt states. Because of this, they voted for the candidate who actually came and addressed their concerns (Trump), which is exactly as the Founders intended.

Think of it this way: Hillary received 2,833,220 more votes than Trump nationwide. But if you remove from the results California (where Hillary received 4,269,978 more votes than Trump) and New York (where Hillary received 1,736,590 more votes than Trump), then Trump would have won the popular vote by 3,173,348. The Electoral College worked exactly the way it should have in 2016 by preventing two states from imposing their will on the clear preference of the rest of the country, and exactly the way the Founders intended.

That’s why the Electoral College needs to stay.

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Comments 1-5 of 5

  • Durene Russell

    04/01/2019 06:25 PM

    It's been a long while since high school & the political science class that I took, and just like Jonathon McCune I had almost forgotten WHY we had the Electoral College. But unlike other people, I'll be damned if I let a politician try to STEAL my vote.

  • Ann Bruce de Pineda

    03/31/2019 07:41 PM

    We should ask ourselves how many national parks we'd have if states could only get representation by having more and more people. I saw something in a comment that reminded me to ask you why Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) did not vote for the Sasse bill to end infanticide. He was either not present or voted present but did not give support to the bill. I realize he is not planning to run for office again but that should give him the freedom to vote his conscience, if he has one.

  • Tony Violette

    03/29/2019 08:30 PM

    Thank you Governor for telling the truth about these people

  • Jonathan McCune

    03/29/2019 04:55 PM

    I was once for the popular vote in presidential elections, but that was before I understood the reason for and the value of the Electoral College. Now I see that it is absolutely necessary and should never be abolished or changed. Some states are now trying to circumvent it by declaring they will give their Electoral votes to the candidate that gets the popular vote. I wonder if this is legal?

  • Susan Anthony

    03/29/2019 04:22 PM

    California and New York state together would not dominate the choice of President under National Popular Vote because there is an equally populous group of Republican states (with 58 million people) that gave Trump a similar percentage of their vote (60%) and a similar popular-vote margin (6 million).

    In 2016, New York state and California Democrats together cast 9.7% of the total national popular vote.

    California & New York state account for 16.7% of the voting-eligible population

    Alone, they could not determine the presidency.

    In total New York state and California cast 16% of the total national popular vote

    In total, Florida, Texas, and Pennsylvania cast 18% of the total national popular vote.
    Trump won those states.

    The vote margin in California and New York wouldn't have put Clinton over the top in the popular vote total without the additional 60 million votes she received in other states.

    In 2004, among the four largest states, the two largest Republican states (Texas and Florida) generated a total margin of 2.1 million votes for Bush, while the two largest Democratic states generated a total margin of 2.1 million votes for Kerry.

    New York state and California together cast 15.7% of the national popular vote in 2012.
    About 62% Democratic in CA, and 64% in NY.

    New York and California have 15.6% of Electoral College votes. Now that proportion is all reliably Democratic.

    Under a popular-vote system CA and NY would have less weight than under the current system because their popular votes would be diluted among candidates.