Donald Trump won the 2016 election in the Electoral College, despite losing the popular total by about three million votes. Since the founding, there have been criticisms of the Electoral College, but the idea behind it was to keep candidates from spending all their time in the most populated areas. However, the calculation of electors was based on the number of senators and representatives, which is hardly one-person-one-vote.

The Independent notes five times a candidate won the popular vote but lost in the Electoral College: Andrew Jackson (1824), Samuel Tilden (1876), Grover Cleveland (1888), Al Gore (2000), and Hillary Clinton (2016). We went more than a century without the situation, but now, it has occurred twice out of the last five elections. In all cases, the victim has been a Democrat.

With all the grumbling, nothing has been done until now. The Daily Caller reports that Colorado is the 12th state to work to kill the Electoral College.

Colorado would bring the number of states who have joined the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC) to 12, plus the District of Columbia. The NPVIC represents a coalition of states that have agreed to pool their presidential electoral votes for the majority candidate, regardless of individual state outcomes.

States have the constitutional right to manage the awarding of electoral votes in national elections, with many states opting for winner-take-all. If states with 270 electoral votes — or the number needed to elect a president — agree to award their votes to the majority-vote holder, it could effectively convert the presidential election to popular vote. New Mexico is poised to join next.

As noted above, the Electoral College was intended to encourage candidates to become president of all the states, not just the most populated ones. But we have now developed a new problem. Since most states are either “Red” or “Blue,” it’s not the highly populated states, but the “undecided” states that get most of the attention from campaigns. Hillary lost the election because she slighted Pennsylvania, and did not even bother to visit Wisconsin.

The Hill gives more explanation.

Supporters of the compact say relying on the popular vote would expand the presidential map, incentivizing candidates to travel to states beyond the traditional battlegrounds of Florida and Ohio. . .

In 2016, nearly 19 of every 20 events the two major presidential candidates held were in just 12 battleground states. Most of those events were in just six states — Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia and Michigan. Combined, President Trump and Hillary Clinton held official campaign events in 26 of the 50 states, leaving 24 solidly red and blue states completely out of the action. . .

At least 11 other states have advanced popular-vote bills in recent months through at least one chamber of their respective legislatures. If all of those states complete those bills, it would add another 80 electoral votes to the compact, leaving them just nine votes shy of reaching the 270 marker.

There are other peculiarities about the Electoral College. One is that electors are human, and as such, they don’t vote automatically. An elector can “vote his/her conscience,” so we have the phenomenon of the “faithless elector,” who votes against the will of the people of the state. And here are a few other tidbits.

There has been one faithless elector in each of the following elections: 1948, 1956, 1960, 1968, 1972, 1976, and 1988. A blank ballot was cast in 2000. In 2016, seven electors broke with their state on the presidential ballot and six did so on the vice presidential ballot. . .

Sitting Vice Presidents John C. Breckinridge (1861), Richard Nixon (1961), Hubert Humphrey (1969), and Al Gore (2001) all announced that they had lost their own bid for the Presidency. . .

The closest Congress has come to amending the Electoral College since 1804 was during the 91st Congress (1969–1971). H.J. Res. 681 proposed the direct election of a President and Vice President, requiring a run off when no candidate received more than 40 percent of the vote. The resolution passed the House in 1969, but failed to pass the Senate.

An alternative to NPVIC would be to keep the Electoral College, but to allocate electors by population, rather than the number of Senators and Representatives. That would keep the concept of individual states having a say in an election, but it would bring back the Constitutional concept of “one-person-one-vote.”

Here’s how unfair the current system is: Wyoming, the least populous state, has three electors, while the most populous, California, has 55. Clearly, California has more say, but not commensurate with the population. Wyoming has one elector for every 192,579 people, but California has one elector for each 719,219. In other words, the people of Wyoming have almost four times as much say in who is elected, per person. In order to have the same electoral voice as Wyoming, California would have to have 205 electors, instead of 55.

That would really shake things up. However, before Hillary fans get too excited, they should note that California is not the only state to get shortchanged. The second and third most populous states, Texas and Florida, would also greatly gain by allotting electors by population. Those two states would have 251—more than California’s 205.

In fact, there is a misperception about 2016. People think Hillary won the most populous states, and Trump won the “empty” states, but that’s not really true. Trump actually won 12 of the 20 most populous states—and 14 of the next 20. When it comes to the “empty” states, Hillary actually won 8 out of the bottom 12.

Hillary’s problem is that her entire “surplus” of votes were in one state—California. In effect, the “excess” votes didn’t count.

Hillary didn’t just “win” some Blue States, she clobbered Trump. Conversely, Trump didn’t just “win” some Red States, he whipped Hillary easily.

California went for Hillary with 61.5% of the vote—a landslide. New York went for Hillary 59%–another “yuge” landslide. Other states that went for Hillary by 60% or more were Maryland, Massachusetts, Hawaii, and DC. A landslide is typically about 54%. These states would also be considered landslides for Hillary: Illinois, Nevada, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Trump topped 60% in Alabama, Kentucky, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Wyoming. He won by at least 54% in Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, and South Carolina.

But there were also very close wins: Trump won Georgia and Iowa, (51%), North Carolina (50%), Arizona and Florida (49%), Pennsylvania (48%), Wisconsin and Michigan (47%), and Utah (45%). Close wins for Hillary were Oregon and Virginia (50%), Colorado and Nevada (48%), New Hampshire (47%), Minnesota (46%), and Nevada (48%),

We did our own calculations. We looked at current estimated populations per State, then we divided larger states by the population of Wyoming, decides how many “Wyomings” each State had in population. Then, we multiplied the number of “Wyomings” by 3, which is the number of electors Wyoming has.

Are you still with us?

The result would give a new Electoral College—with 1700 electors, not the current 538. Instead of 55, California would have 205. Instead of 38, Texas would have 149. Instead of 29, Florida would have 112. And so on.

The result? According to our calculations, Trump would still have won in the Electoral College, 966 to 734 for Hillary. That’s about a 57% win—basically the same as the 2016 official rate. (The number is a little off in the official total because there were two “faithless electors” who defected from Trump, and five who defected from Hillary.)

One benefit of the Electoral College is that it gives us quick closure. Often, we can know by ten or eleven pm—even before the polls are closed in some western states. We see the big wins and don’t doubt any of them. Then we review the close ones, but it usually comes down to one state, lately, Florida and Ohio. Some opponents of election by popular vote warn that there might be endless recounts.

25 COMMENTS

  1. A very bad idea. If winning a presidential election by popular vote were to pass, America would be doomed. As is happening now most every illegal would vote and the Democratic slime would win every time.?

    I say that this subject on the electoral college be revisited after comprehensive voter reform is undertaken all across America. The first step would be to issue national voter registration cards to eliminate a main Democratic voting bloc, of course that would be illegals.?

    Then and only then should blue states consider eliminating the electoral college. Until then suck it you whinny a$$es!!!?

    • Tom Tancredo (R-CO) noted – “it is harder to mobilize massive voter fraud on the national level without getting caught, than it is to do so in a few key states . . . The National Popular Vote make [voter fraud] a smaller [problem].”

      Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution mandates the U.S. Census count every resident in the United States.

      The current system gives “illegal immigrants” a 10 vote advantage in the Electoral College for the Democrats…because they tend to live in safe Democratic states.

      An election for President based on the nationwide popular vote would eliminate the Democrat’s advantage in Electoral College members arising from the uneven distribution of non-citizens.

      • While the census does mandate a resident count, the only reason the illegal aliens are counted and then not taken out is because they removed the US Citizen question ..that has changed for this census..it does not matter how many people reside in the United States..it matters how many citizens reside in the United States.

        • Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution mandates the U.S. Census count every resident in the United States. It does NOT limit the count to only US citizens.

    • Trump, April 26, 2018 on “Fox & Friends”
      “I would rather have a popular election, but it’s a totally different campaign.”
      “I would rather have the popular vote because it’s, to me, it’s much easier to win the popular vote.”

      Trump, October 12, 2017 in Sean Hannity interview
      “I would rather have a popular vote. “

      Trump, November 13, 2016, on “60 Minutes”
      “ I would rather see it, where you went with simple votes. You know, you get 100 million votes, and somebody else gets 90 million votes, and you win. There’s a reason for doing this. Because it brings all the states into play.”

      In 2012, the night Romney lost, Trump tweeted.
      “The phoney electoral college made a laughing stock out of our nation. . . . The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy.”

      • Actually what Trump said is that it’s an easier campaign on a National Vote level ..because you would not have to go to small states ..ever. And that’s why Trump made 100 campaign stops and listened to the problems from citizens of all types, not just big city dwellers that don’t even drive cars or know what an actual farm looks like.

        So nobody would ever visit the areas of the border with Mexico and see their problems with a National Vote type election. It would be all about big cities and populous states….

        • Now, a presidential candidate could lose despite winning 78%+ of the popular vote and 39 smaller states.

          With the current state-by-state winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but later enacted by 48 states), it could only take winning a bare plurality of popular votes in only the 11 most populous states, containing 56% of the population of the United States, for a candidate to win the Presidency with less than 22% of the nation’s votes!

          But the political reality is that the 11 largest states, with a majority of the U.S. population and electoral votes, rarely agree on any political candidate. In 2016, among the 11 largest states: 7 voted Republican(Texas, Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Georgia) and 4 voted Democratic (California, New York, Illinois, and New Jersey). The big states are just about as closely divided as the rest of the country. For example, 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.

          With National Popular Vote, it’s not the size of any given state, it’s the size of their “margin” that will matter.

          In 2004, among the 11 most populous states, in the seven non-battleground states, % of winning party, and margin of “wasted” popular votes, from among the total 122 Million votes cast nationally:
          * Texas (62% R), 1,691,267
          * New York (59% D), 1,192,436
          * Georgia (58% R), 544,634
          * North Carolina (56% R), 426,778
          * California (55% D), 1,023,560
          * Illinois (55% D), 513,342
          * New Jersey (53% D), 211,826

          To put these numbers in perspective,
          Oklahoma (7 electoral votes) generated a margin of 455,000 “wasted” votes for Bush in 2004 — larger than the margin generated by the 9th and 10th largest states, namely New Jersey and North Carolina (each with 15 electoral votes).
          Utah (5 electoral votes) generated a margin of 385,000 “wasted” votes for Bush in 2004.
          8 small western states, with less than a third of California’s population, provided Bush with a bigger margin (1,283,076) than California provided Kerry (1,235,659).

        • Because of current state-by-state statewide winner-take-all laws for Electoral College votes, not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution . . .

          Almost all small and medium-sized states and almost all western, southern, and northeastern states are totally ignored.

          Our presidential selection system has cut out 4 of every 5 people living in America from the decision. Presidential elections shrink the “sphere” of public debate to only a few thousand swing voters in a few states.

          The only states that have received any campaign events and any significant ad money have been where the outcome was between 45% and 51% Republican.

          George Soros’ PAC as of Feb. 21, 2019 will invest $100 million in four 2020 swing states – Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

          Rasmussen Reports, 2/28/19 – believes only 46 electoral votes are in the Toss-up category- four states — Arizona, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, plus one congressional district, Nebraska’s Second (Omaha). The omissions that readers may find most surprising are Florida and Michigan. Much of the electoral map is easy to allocate far in advance: About 70% of the total electoral votes come from states and districts that have voted for the same party in at least the last five presidential elections.

          The Cook Political Report, as of Jan. 10, 2019, believes “There are just five toss up states, representing 86 electoral votes: Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.”

          The Columbus Dispatch, as of Jan. 9, 2019, believes there will be “just seven states [with 105 electoral votes, where the winner is not predictable already] to allocate. Trump will be 66 electoral votes shy of re-election and the Democratic ticket will need 41 electoral votes to win back the presidency. The seven states are Arizona (11), Florida (29), Michigan (16), New Hampshire (4), North Carolina (15), Pennsylvania (20) and Wisconsin (10).”

        • Please provide that actual quote.

          In the 2016 general election campaign
          Over half (57%) of the campaign events were held in just 4 states (Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Ohio).

          Virtually all (94%) of the campaign events were in just 12 states (containing only 30% of the country’s population).

          Fourteen of the 15 smallest states by population are ignored, like medium and big states where the statewide winner is predictable, because they’re not swing states. Small states are safe states. Only New Hampshire gets significant attention.

          Voters in the biggest cities in the US have been almost exactly balanced out by rural areas in terms of population and partisan composition.

          16% of the U.S. population lives outside the nation’s Metropolitan Statistical Areas. Rural America has voted 60% Republican. None of the 10 most rural states matter now.

          16% of the U.S. population lives in the top 100 cities. They voted 63% Democratic in 2004.
          The population of the top 50 cities (going as far down as Arlington, TX) is only 15% of the population of the United States.

          The rest of the U.S., in suburbs, divide almost exactly equally between Republicans and Democrats.

          A successful nationwide presidential campaign of polling, organizing, ad spending, and visits, with every voter equal, would be run the way presidential candidates campaign to win the electoral votes of closely divided battleground states, such as Ohio and Florida, under the state-by-state winner-take-all methods. The big cities in those battleground states do not receive all the attention, much less control the outcome. Cleveland and Miami do not receive all the attention or control the outcome in Ohio and Florida. In the 4 states that accounted for over two-thirds of all general-election activity in the 2012 presidential election, rural areas, suburbs, exurbs, and cities all received attention—roughly in proportion to their population.

          The itineraries of presidential candidates in battleground states (and their allocation of other campaign resources in battleground states, including polling, organizing, and ad spending) reflect the political reality that every gubernatorial or senatorial candidate knows. When and where every voter is equal, a campaign must be run everywhere.

          With National Popular Vote, when every voter is equal, everywhere, it makes sense for presidential candidates to try and elevate their votes where they are and aren’t so well liked. But, under the state-by-state winner-take-all laws, it makes no sense for a Democrat to campaign in any Red or Blue state, or for a Republican to campaign in any Red or Blue state.

          The main media at the moment, TV, costs much more per impression in big cities than in smaller towns and rural area. Candidates get more bang for the buck in smaller towns and rural areas.

        • None of the 10 most rural states (VT, ME, WV, MS, SD, AR, MT, ND, AL, and KY) is a battleground state.
          The current state-by-state winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes ( not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution) does not enhance the influence of rural states, because the most rural states are not battleground states, and they are ignored. Their states’ votes were conceded months before by the minority parties in the states, taken for granted by the dominant party in the states, and ignored by all parties in presidential campaigns. When and where voters are ignored, then so are the issues they care about most.

  2. Readers:

    I have rewritten the end of the article. My math was wrong, since I forgot to multiply California by the number of electors in Wyoming, the California total would be 205, not 68-1/2.

    From there, I decided to calculate all the states, so we’d have 1700 electors, instead of the current 538. As noted in the new copy, by allotting electors by population, instead of the number of senators/representatives, there would have been no change in the 2016 electoral outcome. In fact, the percentage of the win would be exactly the same–57%.

    Hillary’s problem was that her entire margin of win in popular vote was in just one state–California.

    • There are 5 million Republicans in California. That is a larger number of Republicans than 47 other states.

      Trump got more votes in California than he got in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and West Virginia combined.
      None of the votes in California for Trump, helped Trump.

      California Democratic votes in 2016 were 6.4% of the total national popular vote.

      The vote difference in California wouldn’t have put Clinton over the top in the popular vote total without the additional 61.5 million votes she received in other states.

      California cast 10.3% of the total national popular vote.
      31.9% Trump, 62.3% Clinton

      61% of an equally populous Republican base area of states running from West Virginia to Wyoming (termed “Appalachafornia”) votes were for Trump. He got 4,475,297 more votes than Clinton.
      With the National Popular Vote bill in effect, all votes for all candidates in California and Appalachafornia will matter equally.

      In 2012, California cast 10.2% of the national popular vote.
      About 62% Democratic

      California has 10.2% of Electoral College votes.

      8 small western states, with less than a third of California’s population, provided Bush with a bigger margin (1,283,076) than California provided Kerry (1,235,659).

      With the National Popular Vote bill in effect, all Republican votes in California will matter.

  3. Your idea is intriguing. What you are proposing is a variation on the “Wyoming Rule” for restructuring the House of Representatives. In other words, instead of dividing the total population by 435 and then using that as a standard for how many seats each state gets in the U.S. HOR, you determine the state with the lowest population (Wyoming, as you’ve done here) and then use that state’s population as your standard. The issue I see with this is that a Constitutional Amendment would have to be passed to allow its use. I have another idea about how to do this. See my link. http://www.thecenterstrikesback.org/three.asp

  4. What!??? “They” say the victim was a Rat??? Guess who is writing about this garbage. Poor things. Only in 240 + years The dems were victims? Really? What does that really say about the country.?? The people who vote are mostly socialists? Kiss our country GOOD BYE. Haha United States of Venezuela?

  5. Getting rid of the Electoral College would make people’s votes in states where they don’t count much to begin with count even less. It would only exacerbate the problem, making the Presidency controlled by the coastal population centers. The Presidency should never be elected by a strictly democratic vote, no more than legislation is passed by such. The nation is not strictly a nation-state, but a federation of semi-sovereign states with their own cultures and backgrounds, hence why we have a “federal” government and a system of “federalism.” Subjecting who becomes the leader of the federation to the popular vote would mean that only one or a few members of the federation would get to dictate who becomes the leader of the federation to all of the other members of the federation, in which case, why even maintain the union? Of course the Electoral College is a bit undemocratic, that’s because we are not a pure democracy.

    The idea that the EC disenfranchises voters because it causes candidates to focus on a few battleground states may be true, as the system is not perfect, but getting rid of it is not going to make the situation any better for those disenfranchised voters, it is only going to make it worse.

    As a nation, we do not have “one person, one vote,” because we are a federation. We do not have that for legislation and most definitely should not for the federation as a whole.

    • Being a constitutional republic does not mean we should not and cannot guarantee the election of the presidential candidate with the most popular votes. The candidate with the most votes wins in every other election in the country.

      Guaranteeing the election of the presidential candidate with the most popular votes and the majority of Electoral College votes (as the National Popular Vote bill would) would not make us a pure democracy.

      Pure democracy is a form of government in which people vote on all policy initiatives directly.

      Popular election of the chief executive does not determine whether a government is a republic or pure democracy.

      The presidential election system, using the 48 state winner-take-all method or district winner method of awarding electoral votes used by 2 states, that we have today was not designed, anticipated, or favored by the Founding Fathers. It is the product of decades of change precipitated by the emergence of political parties and enactment by states of winner-take-all or district winner laws, not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution

      The Constitution does not encourage, discourage, require, or prohibit the use of any particular method for how to award a state’s electoral votes

    • Democrats on the coasts do NOT outnumber Republicans in the country.

      The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the majority of Electoral College votes and the presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the country. It does not abolish the Electoral College.

      The National Popular Vote bill is states with 270 electors replacing state winner-take-all laws that award all of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate who get the most popular votes in each separate state (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but later enacted by 48 states), in the enacting states, to guarantee the majority of Electoral College votes for, and the Presidency to, the candidate getting the most popular votes in the entire United States.

      The bill retains the constitutionally mandated Electoral College and state control of elections, and uses the built-in method that the Constitution provides for states to make changes. It ensures that every voter is equal, every voter will matter, in every state, in every presidential election, and the candidate with the most votes wins, as in virtually every other election in the country.

      Under National Popular Vote, every voter, everywhere, for every candidate, would be politically relevant and equal in every presidential election. Every vote would matter equally in the state counts and national count.

      The vote of every voter in the country (Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, or Green) would help his or her preferred candidate win the Presidency. Every vote in the country would become as important as a vote in a battleground state such as New Hampshire, Ohio, or Florida. The bill would give voice to every voter in the country, as opposed to treating voters for candidates who did not win a plurality in the state as if they did not exist.

      The bill would take effect when enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes—270 of 538.
      All of the presidential electors from the enacting states will be supporters of the presidential candidate receiving the most popular votes among all 50 states (and DC)—thereby guaranteeing that candidate with an Electoral College majority.

  6. What!??? “They” say the victim was a Rat??? Guess who is writing about this garbage. Poor things. Only in 240 + years The dems were victims? Really? What does that really say about the country.?? The people who vote are mostly socialists? Kiss our country GOOD BYE. Haha United States of Venezuela?

  7. The electoral college is there to give citizens of small states an equal say in elections.

    We are not a pure mob rule Democracy, we are a Democratic Republic

    It will never go because it would need 2/3rds of the states, 2/3rds of congress and a President to make it happen.

    • The bill would take effect when enacted by states with a majority of the electoral votes—270 of 538.

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