For the second time in 16 years, the winner of the popular vote is not headed to the White House.
Even though Hillary Clinton will win the popular vote by more than 2.2 million votes, Donald Trump is the winner of the election because of the Electoral College. In 2000, the same thing happened when Democrat Al Gore won the popular vote, but George W. Bush prevailed in the Electoral College.
We asked our “Political Insiders” whether they thought it was time to send the Electoral College to the dustbin of history, or if the system still served a valuable purpose.
Not surprisingly, the Republicans on our panel overwhelmingly felt the Electoral College should remain at the heart of the presidential election, while Democrats want the system to go. Our readers strongly backed the Electoral College.
Selected anonymous comments:
“The real answer is, “If my favorite candidate wins the electoral college, we should keep the electoral college. If my favorite candidate wins the popular vote and loses the electoral college, we should abolish the electoral college.”
“We trust voters to elect other politicians so why should we trust that honor to a group of complete unknowns. YES, we need to eliminate electoral system, for several reasons.”
“Protect the voice of smaller states.”
“I don’t want a few cities to determine who is POTUS. Keep the college.”
“The Electoral College gives each state a chance to heard. Otherwise, a presidential candidate would only have to focus on enough “big” states to ensure a successful campaign. The little states could be ignored. Not so with the electoral college in place.”
“The Electoral College was made as a system to keep the general population from choosing the President. That is no longer the philosophy, but we keep the system, it is time to remove it.”
“Despite giving us Trump, the electoral college is important. It gives a relatively small amount of increased influence to smaller states. It cannot turn a landslide victory into a loss but just weights the scales a small amount for appealing to broader demographics than just our urban centers. California, New York, Texas, and Florida have vast amounts of influence legislatively, financially, and culturally as it is. A nationwide popular vote in reaction to Trump would hurt the country overall, especially small states like Utah.”
“2.5 million MORE people voted for the “losing” candidate. You can put all the lipstick you want on that pig, but it’s still a pig with lipstick.”
“We are called the United “States” of America. The electoral system helps preserve the concept of “states” and helps to preserve each state’s individual voice in that Union. Going with a popular vote concept simply increases the power of the most populous states, like California and New York, and decreases the power and influence of a small state like Utah.”
“We are supposed to have an equal right to vote; yet because of the electoral college, a person’s vote in some states matter much more than a person’s vote in other states. A person’s vote in Pennsylvania should have just as much weight as a person’s vote in Texas.”
“What kind of stupid question is that? If we get rid of the Electoral College, then the East and West Coasts would determine the winner of every election. It would mean that our vote here in Utah would not matter in the least and candidates would not care about winning our vote!”
“To be consistent, anyone advocating abolishing the Electoral College must also demand that the Senate be abolished too since the Senate is not based on population either.”
“Despite the centuries-old argument, there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that the Electoral College benefits small states. Furthermore, the institution was developed by the founders to allow political leaders to discuss and develop a wise choice for the delegation to support. None of that happens. Every year, the situation gets worse and worse as campaigns target not just a handful states, but select counties, to win the College- at the expense of a broader national appeal. It is time to eliminate or dramatically reform the Electoral College.”
“As much as I dislike that DJT will be our next President, I think the Electoral College still serves some purpose. Without it, the most populous (urban) states would control not only the elections but possibly whoever occupies the Oval Office. On the other hand, it does call into question our “one man, one vote” mantra, because it will disregard 2 million votes. We already have a significant number of citizens who don’t believe their votes count – this election will merely prove them right.”
“I’d like to ask the advocates of the Electoral College if the EC is so great, why don’t we use the same system to elect governors and senators and House members? We could give every county three electoral votes regardless of population. For House districts, we could give at least 3 for every town. Then we could have minority rule at all levels of government, and things would be wonderful, right? … Or does this sound like a bad idea?”
“I think the Electoral College essentially disenfranchises 80% of the country and limits the campaign to a handful of states. I don’t think it makes sense to go a straight popular vote either. My preference would be an electoral college, winner-take-all at the Congressional District rather than state level. There would be at least some competition in most states and a reason for candidates to broaden their campaigns beyond a few battleground states while still allowing campaigns stay reasonably focused on battleground areas.”
“While I understand both the history of the EC and the current justifications it seems to me to do more harm than good. It should probably go the way of the 3/5ths compromise in which it is rooted.”
“We in Utah are basically ignored anyway, so what’s the difference?”
“The Electoral College protects states like Utah from states like California, Texas, Florida, New York and the ones in the upper Midwest that have all the population. No matter how many people they have, they only have so many electoral votes, the same number as congressmen. If not for the electoral college, the biggest ten states could pretty much determine the outcome every time with their popular vote. I love that George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and the rest were thinking and seeing hundreds of years into the future, to ensure that ultimately every vote would count.”
“The electoral college has long ago served its purpose, keeping rich white men in power. It is time to do away with the electoral college and give someone else a chance.”
“The losing party wants to abolish it, and the winning party is okay with it. Go figure. I still feel that the Electoral College has not outlived its usefulness. Besides, it would be very difficult, if not impossible to get a constitutional amendment passed now.”
“We should avoid making permanent changes because of Trump. He is not permanent. Also, the GOP should be concerned that their last two presidents were elected after losing the popular vote.”
“It needs to be fixed, but the country is awfully big, and it is very difficult to know who is elected president without it. It helps to make sure the agricultural and less populated areas have a voice, so I don’t want to abolish it completely. But I don’t like knowing that the “winner” lost the election by about 2%.”
“The point of the electoral college is to prevent a demagogue from being elected on the whims of the people. Instead, it facilitates their elections.”
“I’m a Democrat and recognize that we would be praising the Electoral College if the results put Hillary Clinton in the White House in spite of losing the popular vote. The best course of action is to let things calm down, conduct a study of the Electoral College, and make a recommendation for the citizens’ consideration.”