The real problem with the Electoral College.

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,171
US
I don't believe a straight popular vote would be any better than the current system. You would still have red, blue and battleground states and bigger states (rather than smaller ones) can still sway the election. I believe the system which would be best would be to assign electors based on the percentage of votes each candidate gets in a given state. An example of winner take all's effect is the 2016 election. Subtract 0.6% of the votes from the winner in Florida and the electoral outcome is reversed. The election was so close in Pennsylvania too, where only 0.3% of the voters needed to swap their votes to reverse the outcome. Make those two tiny changes and Hilary is POTUS. In 2016, there were 18 states that received no campaign visits from either candidate and another dozen that had only token visits. Changing the system to percentage vs. winner take all would mean that neither candidate would have a lock on any state's total electoral vote count and they would have to fight for every one. Guess what - you won't be able to win by carrying just a few swing states plus your "safe" states - because the safe states ain't so safe any more.
But nobody wins by carrying just a few swing states. In addition, there are traditional red and traditional blue that each party almost always carries. The remaining states, few that they are currently, are the swing states. Today's swing states may not be tomorrow's and vice versa. Here's a novel idea: how about the traditional, predictable states not be so? Just like people I know who always pull the party lever, every single every election so they tend to be taken for granted by their candidates because their vote is ensured, regardless. The swing states have made themselves valuable because their voters tend to consider the candidates each election cycle, not the party. And they are rewarded so to speak.
 

Cepheus

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
2,332
But nobody wins by carrying just a few swing states. In addition, there are traditional red and traditional blue that each party almost always carries. The remaining states, few that they are currently, are the swing states. Today's swing states may not be tomorrow's and vice versa. Here's a novel idea: how about the traditional, predictable states not be so? Just like people I know who always pull the party lever, every single every election so they tend to be taken for granted by their candidates because their vote is ensured, regardless. The swing states have made themselves valuable because their voters tend to consider the candidates each election cycle, not the party. And they are rewarded so to speak.
Hold on, I don't want to overstate the case, but, things seem to be a bit fluid right now.

Texas, traditionally red is trending toward a swing state for 2020. I would have never thought of Texas as purple.

There are, from what I understand, a significant number of voters moving to different states that will, of course, have some impact on the voting trends.

It is hard to project what the impact will be but the potential is there for some surprises.
 
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Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,632
Dispargum
I don't believe a straight popular vote would be any better than the current system. You would still have red, blue and battleground states and bigger states (rather than smaller ones) can still sway the election. I believe the system which would be best would be to assign electors based on the percentage of votes each candidate gets in a given state. An example of winner take all's effect is the 2016 election. Subtract 0.6% of the votes from the winner in Florida and the electoral outcome is reversed. The election was so close in Pennsylvania too, where only 0.3% of the voters needed to swap their votes to reverse the outcome. Make those two tiny changes and Hilary is POTUS. In 2016, there were 18 states that received no campaign visits from either candidate and another dozen that had only token visits. Changing the system to percentage vs. winner take all would mean that neither candidate would have a lock on any state's total electoral vote count and they would have to fight for every one. Guess what - you won't be able to win by carrying just a few swing states plus your "safe" states - because the safe states ain't so safe any more.
A straight popular vote would remove the states from the process entirely. The states would still have to conduct the election and count the votes, but they would report their total returns to a national total. There would still be red and blue voters and each would cluster in certain areas. See my post #36 in this thread if you haven't already. (It's the one with the red and blue electoral map from 1900.) If a president wanted more votes in the Pittsburgh area, he could enact a policy to help the steel industry. He would still get the additional votes. They just wouldn't be packaged together with other Pennsylvania votes but separate from Ohio votes. Presidential elections would be decided by American votes, not state by state votes.
 

royal744

Ad Honoris
Jul 2013
10,713
San Antonio, Tx
We have had threads on this in the past. The electoral college was put into place by the Founders in the Constitution with good cause, to prevent an overly populous state or states from dominating the politics of the nation. The few exceptions are just that.
U. S. Electoral College, Official - What is the Electoral College?
Existence of the Electoral College means that my vote counts less than the vote cast by a voter in Wyoming. This is a travesty.
 

Willempie

Ad Honorem
Jul 2015
5,520
Netherlands
Existence of the Electoral College means that my vote counts less than the vote cast by a voter in Wyoming. This is a travesty.
That is indeed a problem, the other side of the coin is that with proportional representation the outer areas get ignored big time, like they do here, where we have a province that is suffering from earthquakes (nothing like the 1906 California one mind, but enough to cause structural damage) and the gov is doing nothing but delaying.
 

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,171
US
That is indeed a problem, the other side of the coin is that with proportional representation the outer areas get ignored big time, like they do here, where we have a province that is suffering from earthquakes (nothing like the 1906 California one mind, but enough to cause structural damage) and the gov is doing nothing but delaying.
Here's a harsh reality, perhaps too much for some. Your vote virtually means nothing if you live in a state where the majority vote the opposite of you. So, a person who lives in Texas hasn't really seen their vote matter for some time if they constantly vote for the minority party. Every time they go to the polls for a presidential election, they know they have wasted their time - if they choose to look at their vote as or all or nothing type of situation where they they need to pick the winner. If people value the fact that their free to vote their conscience, then, in my opinion, their vote wasn't wasted effort. Likewise, if I live in a non populous state, my vote is really diminished in a popular vote. Look at any recent presidential election: Over 135M votes. One vote will never make the difference under these circumstances, if people wish to have a cynical view of their vote. With the electoral college, votes matter more. Just look at FL in 2000.