Thursday, November 10, 2016

Hillary Clinton got more votes than Donald Trump, or: why it's time to abolish the Electoral College

Your vote matters less than other people's votes across the country -- and that's a system we should no longer endorse

I could dissect and examine the reasons why Hillary Clinton lost what should have been an easy, by all means winnable election against Donald Trump. But I don’t think it’s necessary for me to do so -- thousands of commentators have already lamented the results of the election, and I want to take a look at it from a different angle.

Namely, that Hillary Clinton didn’t lose at all. She lost the Electoral College, to be sure, but she won a majority of support among voters across the nation.

Clinton outperformed Trump among the electorate by more than 300,000 votes (at the time of this posting). That’s a small number, to be sure, especially when you consider that hundreds of millions of Americans voted. But it’s a number that shouldn’t be ignored nonetheless.

Yet because the rules state that our president gets selected by the Electoral College -- a system that’s archaic and needless at this point in our nation’s life -- a voter’s choice in Wyoming means more than a voter’s choice in California.

It also means that millions of voters’ preferences get ignored completely. In Wisconsin, for example, Clinton lost to Trump by a mere 27,257 votes. Because of the Electoral College rules, however, Trump receives all ten of Wisconsin’s electors, effectively squashing the voices of 1.3 million Hillary Clinton voters in the Badger State.

Their votes don’t mean anything in this “winner takes all” system set up by the Electoral College.

Some have offered up the solution of creating a Nebraska-like system for the rest of the country -- wherein each district tallies up their votes and produces sends a single elector based on that vote, rather than a state winner-takes-all. But that solution creates the same problem, plus introduces the additional problems typically associated with gerrymandering.

No, the only solution to this fiasco is to demolish the Electoral College and amend the Constitution, allowing for a national popular vote to choose the president (preferably with instant runoff voting included). Whoever serves in that capacity, after all, is the president of all who vote. It’s only reasonable, then, that we make it so every voter is equal to every other voter.

And guess who agrees? Donald Trump, from November 2012.

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