Electoral college system obsolete

We were sure for an election spectacle both Romney and Obama backers were certain their polls and math, and only their polls and math, were right. Somebody had to be wrong, and it was Karl Rove and Donald Trump and their "unskewed" polls logic.

Aghast at Barack Obama's re-election, Trump wondered how it could be because the current popular vote count said Romney was ahead.

"He lost the popular vote by a lot and won the election," Trump tweeted. "We should have a revolution in this country!"

It didn't gain much traction for two reasons. First, it's Donald Trump. Second, the projected win was based on knowledge that large Democratic swaths of votes were yet to be counted. When they were all counted, Obama had 65.9 million votes to Romney's 60.9 million.

Oh, there's a third: We choose a president with the electoral college, where each state has an amount of votes equal to its Congressional delegation. With few exceptions, a state's votes are winner-take-all.

Republican legislatures in Virginia, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania want a proportional system instead. Virginia state senator Charles Carrico, whose district voted overwhelmingly for Romney only to see Obama win the state, said of the move, "I want to be a voice for a region that feels they have no reason to come to the polls."

There are just a few problems with it:

  • The selection process reveals the motive: What do Virginia, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania have in common, besides vowels? They're all states that went for President Obama, but are controlled by Republicans at the state level.

Republicans can pass anything they want to in Texas, but nobody's a "voice of reason" there because all 38 electoral votes already go to Mitt Romney. It's not about reason; it's about stacking the deck.

  • Smaller states gain an imbalance of power: California backed President Obama with 60 percent of the vote, and HE took all 55 electoral votes. A proportional system gives him 33 instead.

Montana and Alaska each backed Mitt Romney with 55 percent of the vote, and each gave him three electoral votes. A proportional system gives Romney two.

Is it fair when 60 percent gets you 60 percent in one state, but 55 percent gets you 67 percent in another?

Under such a system in 2012, Mitt Romney would have won the White House despite having 5 million fewer votes, and Donald Trump would have called for … champagne.

I prefer the National Popular Vote bill. Eight states and the District of Columbia are in an interstate compact to award all of their electoral votes to the national popular vote winner, once enough states are on board. The members now hold 132 of the necessary 270 votes, and our legislators could easily send New Mexico's five electoral votes to the party.

It would render the electoral college obsolete. On the other hand, it would render the electoral college obsolete. I choose this revolution.

Kevin Wilson is a columnist for Clovis Media Inc. He can be contacted at 763-3431, ext. 313, or by email:


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