The Electoral College is a tyranny against a huge majority of the American people. It’s a tyranny against tens of millions of voters who are in their state’s minority, as well.
To show just how outrageous the system is, here’s a path for Joe Biden to win the presidential election.
If Biden were to capture the District of Columbia and all 19 states that Hillary Clinton won in 2016 for 232 electoral votes, he could get to 272 (270 are needed to win) and unseat President Donald Trump by prevailing in Florida and Arizona.
To gain the elector votes of those 21 states and D.C., Biden would need to win the popular vote in each by just a single ballot. Using voting totals from those states in the 2016 election and discounting the negligible impact of ballots cast for third-party candidates, Biden would need a total of about 33,800,000 votes — one more vote than Trump in each state.
He wouldn’t have to take a single vote in any of the remaining 29 states to win the Electoral College.
Across the country about 136,750,000 ballots were cast in the 2016 presidential election. Assuming a similar number this year, Biden could win the election with less than 25% of the popular vote.
The same holds true, of course, for Trump.
In either case, that, my friends, is tyranny against the majority.
The crime against individual voters is obvious, as well.
If you vote for the candidate who doesn’t receive the majority of votes in your state, your opinion is canceled. Tens of millions of voters are thereby disenfranchised.
Those who oppose dissolving the Electoral College often argue that it protects smaller states and that it’s demanded by the Constitution.
But the interests of small states are forfeited to those of swing states, such as Pennsylvania, Florida and Michigan.
Because the outcome of the electoral vote in these states is in doubt, candidates spend the vast majority of their time campaigning there and crafting platforms and policies that favor those states.
Pennsylvania’s fracking industry, for example, explains the prominence of the issue in the current national presidential debate.
Meanwhile, important matters in other states, large and small, are largely ignored. The presidential campaign circuit bypasses Indiana altogether.
As for the Constitution, it leaves the decision of how to cast electoral votes in the hands of the states.
The framers of the Constitution created the electoral system, in large part, because of slavery. Southern states’ representation in Congress was based on a population count that included slaves, and those states demanded that slaves count in their electoral votes, as well. But slaves didn’t have the right to vote, so the Electoral College gave Southern voters an outsized voice in presidential elections.
That leads me to the solution for 2024 and beyond.
Fifteen states, plus D.C., have already passed the National Popular Vote bill, which would assign their electoral votes to the winner of the national election. Those states (Indiana isn’t one of them) represent 196 electoral votes.
If other states totaling 74 additional electoral votes pass the bill, it would assure that the winner of the popular vote ends up in the White House.
Five times across the course of U.S. history, the loser of the popular vote has won the presidential election, most recently Republican George W. Bush in 2000 and Trump, another Republican, in 2016.
Trump lost by nearly 3 million votes but easily won the Electoral College with 301 electoral votes, 31 more than necessary.
The disparity between the winner of the popular election and the Electoral College could be even greater this time around.
The popular vote is currently in vogue among Democrats and out of favor among Republicans, mostly because the 2000 and 2016 elections, are fresh memories.
But neither party has established dominance of the popular vote over the course of several decades. From 1932 through 2008, about 1.5 billion votes cast for president were split almost evenly between the two parties, according to research by the New York Times.
Both remote and recent history, not to mention common sense, send a clear message: It’s in the interests of all Americans to correct an unfair anomaly in our political system by replacing the Electoral College with the popular vote.