Conservatives love the Electoral College. It is the only way that they were able to elect Donald Trump in 2016. In defending this antiquated institution, they unfortunately will bring out the same old tired arguments when the truth clearly shows that they cannot win without a system that is rigged in their favor. They gerrymander districts, they kick voters off the roles, and they hold on to the Electoral College that gives small states far too much power than even the founders intended.
Let’s start there. In his article against the attempts to pass the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPV), Trent England suggests that small-town and rural America will be “reduced to serfdom” by the big bad mean city-folk. He feels that rural America will be taken advantage of if you don’t allow the Electoral College to stand as it is. Is that true though? Our founders put in a mechanism that exists simply to help smaller states from being trampled over by the larger ones. It is called the United States Senate. In the Senate, each state has the same power. While the electoral college does grant a state more say by allowing it to count all seats held in both chambers of Congress, I have discussed on my podcast previously that the number of House seats is artificially low. If we took the smallest population state (Wyoming) and used it as a base, and then counted how many “Wyomings” worth of population existed in each state, we would see that we would need about 100 more seats in the House than we currently have.
England says that the Electoral College makes it more difficult to win the Presidency. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Donald Trump won with fewer votes than Hillary Clinton. He literally had to convince fewer people than he would have needed to convince had we used a popular vote system. The Electoral College makes it so that you don’t have to campaign hard. In fact, anywhere between six and ten states are considered “in play” in any given election. While these may fluctuate every four years, candidates only have to campaign in these few states instead of having to convince all fifty that they are the right person for the job. How is that not making the campaign easier?
This also brings up the whole myth of the “flyover state”. Conservatives argue that eliminating the Electoral College will cause these rural states to be excluded from the process. I argue that the current system excludes many people from the process as it is. Many of those people live in those rural states. Candidates only need to focus on those ten states. Let’s look at the states that Donald Trump visited in the general election. Shall we?
Each green dot represents a campaign rally. Notice where these rallies do not take place. None took place in Idaho. None took place in Montana. None took place in all these rural flyover areas. Why? Because the GOP knows that they have these states in the bag. There is no reason for either Presidential candidate to go to these states. The candidates are already treating them as flyover states. What would opening up the popular vote do? It would make every Democrat in those states important again. It would make every Republican in “safe” blue states important again as well. Candidates would have every reason to try and get every single possible vote they could get. These states would no longer be flown over.
England also states that by passing the NPV, states are violating the Constitution. I don’t believe this to be true. Each state is allowed to split up their electors as they see fit. Two states award electors by congressional district with two at-large electors to represent the Senate seats. If a state determines that it will award the electoral votes to whoever wins the national popular vote, then that is their prerogative.
Conservatives are scared that with more people voting, they are more likely to lose. That is why you see all these attempts by Conservatives to keep the vote down. Enacting a popular vote would absolutely drive up voter turnout because people in states that previously didn’t matter will now matter. The way that Conservatives fight this shows us that this is only good for liberals. That is why Conservatives have to come up with these bad arguments in support of the Electoral College. They need to hope that enough people will believe them. Now you know why you shouldn’t.