The old (electoral) college try


The old (electoral) college try

The system for electing presidents in the United States is more complicated than Melania Trump’s skincare routine — which is saying a lot. (She’s turning 50 this year). 


While you may think you’re voting for a presidential candidate, you’re really just sending a message to your state elector about how you want him or her to vote. Each state has a certain number of electors depending on state population that make up the electoral college. Only the electors’ votes actually count. 


In other words, in a country of 327 million, only 538 people are really eligible to vote. The idea is that the electors have to cast votes in line with their constituencies…but like they don’t really have to.


In the 2016 election, electors in Colorado and Washington went against the state popular vote. Why? No one knows. It was like when Regina George went behind Cady’s back to make out with Aaron Samuels. So not fetch. 


According to Alexander Hamilton, the system was designed this way to make sure that poor stupid people couldn’t choose the president, and instead the real decision was made by the intellectual elite. The Founding Fathers made this very clear: if you’re poor and stupid, the only place your vote really counts is on Dancing with the Stars. 


Later this year, the Supreme Court is expected to rule on whether electors are allowed to go against their state popular votes. There’s always been a lot of talk about the electoral college vs. the popular vote. Usually it’s not an issue because the candidate who wins the electoral college also wins the popular vote. One exception was in 2016 when Hillary won the popular vote although Trump won the election. 


The worst part about that situation (you know, besides the fact that the literal will of the voters was ignored) is that both parties have been insufferably bragging about how they won the election. Hillary is like “I won by three million votes.” Trump is like “I won 304 to 227 in electoral college votes.” The general public is like, “I haven’t taken a Math class since 8th grade Algebra, but even I know this makes no sense.” 


Would America be better off just going by the popular vote? Direct democracy has been really successful in the past. Think about Ancient Greece when they voted to allow prostitution and pedophilia. Think about when the British people voted to leave the EU. Think about when American Idol viewers voted to keep in Sanjayah. 


The point is, maybe America really does need rich important people to tell them what they want (and, on occasion, to tell them that what they want isn’t really what they want). 

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