Electoral College versus Popular Vote

The Electoral College has been all over the news since Clinton won the popular vote and Trump won the electoral vote.  This is the second time since 2000 that one candidate won the popular vote while another won the electoral vote, so it’s possible that this will happen more often in the future.  If it happens more than twice in a century, that’s already NEWWorthy, and this century is just getting started.  Is this fair?

Take a look at the election results for those states where the difference in the number of votes for the candidates was 5% or less.  Let’s call those swing states.  I apologize if I missed any states where the difference was 5% or less.  This is meant to give you an idea of what happened in this election.

Arizona: T 1,021,154; C 936,250; Colorado: T 1,137,455 C 1,212,209; Florida: T 4,605,515; C 4,485,745; Pennsylvania: T 2,912,941; C 2,844,705; Michigan: T 2,279,805; C 2,268,193; Wisconsin: T 1,409,467; C 1,382,210; Nevada: % 537,753 T 511,319; New Hampshire: T 345,789; C 348,521; Minnesota: T 1,322,891; C 1,366,676; Maine: T 334,838; C 354,873; North Carolina: T 2,339,603; C 2,162,074; Virginia; T 1,731,156; C 1,916,845

The totals are: Trump 19,978,367; Clinton 19,789,620.  That’s a difference of one half of one percent.  Trump and Clinton spent a large portion of $1 to $2 billion dollars for this tiny difference.  With so small a difference, how is it that Trump won the electoral vote by 290 to 232?

Due to the Electoral College, small population state votes are given more weight than large population state votes, so small state voters have some clout in the presidential election.  But how much weight is the correct weight to be fair?

Today, let’s take a look at a Wyoming vote versus a California vote.  Wyoming’s population is 586,107 (2015) and has 3 electoral votes.  That’s 195,369 persons per electoral vote.  Not all residents of Wyoming can vote, but nevertheless that is their representation per person in the election.  California’s population is 39,140,000 (2015) and has 55 electoral votes.  But if we divide 39,140,000 by 195,369, we get about 200 electoral votes.  What’s going on?

What is going on is 435 Representatives, 100 Senators, and 3 electors for D.C.  for a total of 538 electors.  The electoral votes are distributed similar to congressional representation.  That limits how many electoral votes California can get, no matter the size of the population.  So if a Californian moves to Wyoming to retire, their vote is suddenly worth almost 4 times more than it was in California.  If a computer engineering student in Wyoming decides they need to move to California for a good job, their vote is suddenly worth 4 times less than it was in Wyoming.  Is that fair?

What if California and New York decided to split into 32 different states?  Would voters get more voting power in those states?  Of course, Congress and the state legislators would never approve of this, but it points out how extreme solutions can be proposed to deal with the electoral college.  If the law of the land is not changed to let the popular vote decide the presidency, then we may see many more extreme solutions proposed if we see elections more often where the Electoral College winner doesn’t match the popular vote winner.  Already, some are proposing a California exit (Calexit).

Finally, because I’m a science fiction writer, I couldn’t resist.  What if aliens come to Earth and take 49 states to live in, but they feel sorry for the humans and leave 1 state for all the human U.S. population to live in.  Then the 2016 election is held.  Who wins, Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump?

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NEWWorthy Politics

NEWWorthy is about what’s new and interesting.  In the past it’s been mostly about technology and science with a touch of entertainment, sports, weather, finance, and other issues.  It will continue to be mostly about tech and science.  But the political landscape has become so full of NEWWorthy news, we felt it was time to include a category for Politics.

As many would probably agree, no matter their party affiliation, this last year’s campaign was extremely uncomfortable to watch.  But now that it’s over and a president has been selected, many would also probably agree that it is in the best interest of our country to give the new administration a chance.

But that requires support from not only voters, but also the new administration.  For example, just as people in the U.S. are trying to deal with or sort out their feelings about the newly elected president Trump, we get this tweet from him: “Just had a very open and successful presidential election. Now professional protesters, incited by the media, are protesting. Very unfair!”

From Wikipedia, “Freedom of speech is the right to articulate one’s opinions and ideas without fear of government retaliation or censorship, or societal sanction.”  I hope President Trump remembers that when he takes office next year.

To be fair, he did follow up that tweet 9 hours later saying “Love the fact that the small groups of protesters last night have passion for our great country. We will all come together and be proud!”

I will openly admit here that I did not vote for President Trump, but I hope only for the best for our country over the next four years.  In the meantime, I will comment on what’s NEWWorthy in politics.  In this particular case, President Trump set a new recent low for commentary from a person in his position as incoming president.  Perhaps he should give up his Twitter account.

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