Ever since the world was startled and shocked by how Trump won the 2016 Presidential election but lost the popular vote, I have been hearing kvetch after kvetch from the anti-Trump, liberal combine (it’s one and the same thing) about how and why the Electoral College has to go. Incidentally, I didn’t hear a single complaint about the Electoral College in 1992 when, thanks to Ross Perot, Bill Clinton received the winner’s share of Electoral College votes even though his 43% of the popular vote was below the 46% received by Trump in 2016.
Anyway, we now have an ‘official’ argument for abolishing the Electoral College in a book written by a member of The (failing) New York Times editorial board, Jesse Wegman, whose book, Let The People Pick The President, is reviewed right here. And basically the book argues for direct voting for President through something that Wegman calls the ‘National Popular Vote Compact.’ which would require all the states to give their electoral votes to the winner of the popular vote.
If Joe and Kammie win the election, I suspect the interest in reforming or changing the Electoral College will die down. If somehow, Trump is able to pull off a second term by convincing the rednecks in a couple of swing states that he’s still their man, you can be sure that every person on the Biden-Harris email list will start receiving fundraising requests to support some kind of scheme to replace the Electoral College with a popular vote.
If that were actually to happen, the way things stand right now, it would probably bring about the demise of the Democratic Party and/or make it virtually impossible for the blue team to ever capture the White House again. And here’s the reason why.
Going into the 2020 election, there are 24 states which are reliably red. How do I define a ‘red’ state as being reliable? Any state which delivered a majority of votes to the GOP ticket in every Presidential election since 2000. I picked 2000 because the Reagan elections in 1992 and 1996 were such landslides that the results were simply too unusual to be considered typical of what happens when Americans go to the polls every four years. Frankly, when he recovered from getting shot, Reagan could have been elected President for life.
Since 2000, there are also 19 states that are reliably blue although two of those states – Colorado and Virginia, did have several results that would put them in the red bucket, but as of today these states are as blue as any to states can be.
Criticisms that the Electoral College favors the smaller, rural states may sound convincing, but it happens not to be true. Together, the 24 red states contain 111,372,848 residents, the blue states count 136,329,440 (2019 Census estimates.) Which means that going into a national election, the blue team starts off with a reliable 222 electoral votes, the red team has 191. This leaves 125 electoral votes controlled by 9 ‘unreliable’ states – Iowa, Florida, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Wisconsin, New Mexico, and PA.
For the Democrats to win the White House, they need to win any combination of ‘unreliable’ states that will yield them 48 electoral votes. So, if they win, let’s say, Iowa, Florida, and Michigan they win. If they take Ohio, Wisconsin, and PA they win. In other words, because the blue team goes into every national election needing only 48 electoral votes, the road to victory is much easier than for the red team because the red team needs to corral 79 of those ‘unreliable’ electoral votes.
What needs to be understood is not whether we should ‘reform’ or ‘revise’ or even get rid of the Electoral College. What needs to be understood is how the 2016 Clinton campaign could spend twice as much money as the Trump campaign spent in 2016 and somehow let states like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania vote red by less than 1/100th of the total votes cast in those three states. If we do in 2020 whatever we did to let that happen in 2016, Trump deserves another four years, like it or not.