Notes on the Electoral College

Now, I know that when I read things from famous people on Facebook, I  know  that thousands, maybe millions of  other people are reading the same thing, across multiple media, and that the famous person is not likely to read my comments personally, but I respond sometimes as if they do.

I am a former fan of Robert Reich and I still consider him intelligent, and a top expert on  economics.  But, it was a simple plea to end the electoral college that set me off.  Now, if I  was forced to choose, up or down, on  whether or not to end the electoral college, I guess I might willingly see it  consigned to the dust heap of history.

However, it is on a long list of issues: Israel, abortion, guns, circumcision, toilet roll over or under, and others, that I just don’t  deem important  enough  to dominate an election cycle.  The important issues are  those that affect everybody, every day.  The economy, the environment, health care and maybe education and infrastructure.
Robert Reich knows that.  He knows that the electoral college is not that big of a deal, and he’s not seriously worried  about changing  it.  He’s just, like all of the die-hard Hillary people, is still trying to rehash the 2016 election, not because of any unfairness in the process, but because his candidate lost.

“Shut up, Reich,” I wrote.  And  I’m sure I’m not the only one.

The comment thread, however, confirmed for me something I’ve long suspected, and it needs to be pointed out.  A lot of people don’t understand what  the electoral college actually is.  It is not a bunch  of people  who sit in a room and decide together who the president should be.  In fact, it is pretty much tied to the popular vote – state by state.

In each state, the major parties appoint a slate of  electors, which I think is equivalent to their number of congressional representatives, which means even Alaska, which has  fewer people than most large cities, has threes.  So, whichever party wins the popular vote in that state, their slate of electors will cast that states number of electors for that party.  So, it’s popular vote, but state by  state.

Theoretically, I suppose, an elector could change their mind and defy their party.   It’s happened once or twice in American history, and never enough to make a difference.
In any  event, Hillary knew the rules and could have  campaigned accordingly, except that she didn’t.  So, there is no use at all  bitching about it now.

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