Sifting through the autopsy reports from Election 2016 one would think that our nation needs a collective Civics lesson. Of course, we probably need a LOT of remedial training, but that’s an issue for another day.
In their grief, Democrats have chosen to rail against an entity that cannot fight back—The Electoral College.
I am not an old man (I turned 49 on Monday) but I remember this being explained in school and do not recall any of my fellow students being mystified at the process by which Presidents are elected in the United States. I cannot speak for the quality of public school education these days, but it seems Civics is not high on the list at some schools. Otherwise, why the mass indignation over a system that has been in place since George Washington.
For those who need a refresher, here’s how it works. We do no vote directly for Presidential candidates. We vote for electors for those candidates. Each state gets a number of electors equal to the number of seats they have in Congress. That number is based on population. Each state has at least three. In most states, the candidate who wins the most votes gets all of that state’s electors. Only Maine and Nebraska break it down by individual Congressional districts. Because there are 538 electors, 270 is enough to guarantee victory. This is NOT complicated.
But to listen to some on the left this week, the Electoral College is an arcane rigging system designed for the sole purpose of negating the will of the people. They point to the fact that since Clinton got the most votes at the polls, she should be the President. My Eighth grade Civics teacher, Mrs. Clark, would have given them an “F.” There have been several instances where the winner of the popular vote did not get the majority of the Electoral vote. And it’s not ancient history. Remember the 2000 Bush/Gore election? It happens.
Is that unfair? Not at all. Both sides knew the rules beforehand and campaigned accordingly. No excuses.
I attended the 2000 Sugar Bowl where my beloved Virginia Tech Hokies played Florida State for the National Championship. Tech outgained the Seminoles by more than a hundred yards during the game. But at the end of the night, FSU got the trophy because they had more points on the scoreboard…which was the goal of BOTH teams. They knew it beforehand and played accordingly.
So why do we even bother with a clumsy Electoral College? Why not just have a straight-up vote, like we do for other offices? The reason is simple. We are a Constitutional Republic, not a Democracy. If their wisdom, our founders put in a system to govern what is our only real “National” election. First, it is a buffer; ensuring that the highest office in the land is not hijacked. Secondly, it helps ensure that this national election is decided *nationally,* and not by voters in a handful of populated areas. Without it, Presidential candidates would pay zero attention to areas with less than a million people. It wouldn’t be worth their effort. The Electoral College means they have to pay particular attention to Nebraska, Maine, Ohio and other areas that the left dismisses as “Redneck Flyover Country.”
Hmmm. Maybe that contempt had a little something to do with the election results on Tuesday. Perhaps a better understanding of the Electoral College system would have served them better?
Once again, the Constitution rules. As it should.