Letter to the Editor: Best reason to keep the Electoral College - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Letter to the Editor: Best reason to keep the Electoral College

Dear Editor,

Last week The New York Times ran yet another editorial demonizing the Electoral College. Apparently, the 2016 election is still being contested.

The Electoral College is tied to the Whipping Post every four years and this year is no exception, especially when someone wins the popular vote but loses the electoral vote. Sore losers and more.

The best reason for keeping it: the Electoral College gives the presidential candidates a reason to care about a few small places on the map that otherwise wouldn’t mean a thing. The original idea, still very much in play, was to prevent the tyranny of the majority. It is not ironic that the majority protests against this last little Maginot line. It prevents the tyranny of massive regional majority(population) which is just what we have now with huge coastal/urban populations versus smaller inland populations.

Without the Electoral Collage, why would any candidate go to Iowa?  The 2016 election forced candidates to speak to people in these little out of the way places in a few states that ultimately determined the election. Swing states, without the Electoral college, do not exist. Cities and suburbs. Cities and suburbs. All candidates will spend the vast majority of their time in cities or suburbs. Who will care about Baraboo?

Dudley Thompson

Girdletree, MD

Population 117.

 


About the author

Dudley Thompson lives in Girdletree, MD., population 117. He has been there six years and was from Baltimore originally. He worked for the News-American on the advertising side until it closed in ‘86. His second career was teaching in juvenile jails at Baby Bookins, Hickey, and Victor Cullen. He holds a Masters at Johns Hopkins History of Ideas ‘77, B.A. Maryland,’74, Geography. Politically, he is slouching toward the center that nowadays never holds. Contact the author.
COMMENT POLICY
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    Maryland has enacted the National Popular Vote bill is 61% of the way to guaranteeing the majority of Electoral College votes and the presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the country, by changing state winner-take-all laws (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but later enacted by 48 states), without changing anything in the Constitution, using the built-in method that the Constitution provides for states to make changes.

    All voters would be valued equally in presidential elections, no matter where they live.
    Candidates, as in other elections, would allocate their time, money, polling, organizing, and ad buys roughly in proportion to the population

    Every vote, everywhere, for every candidate, would be politically relevant and equal in every presidential election.
    No more distorting, crude, and divisive and red and blue state maps of predictable outcomes, that don’t represent any minority party voters within each state.
    No more handful of ‘battleground’ states (where the two major political parties happen to have similar levels of support) where voters and policies are more important than those of the voters in 38+ predictable states, like Maryland, that have just been ‘spectators’ and ignored after the conventions.

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    A successful nationwide presidential campaign of polling, organizing, ad spending, and visits, with every voter equal, would be run the way presidential candidates campaign to win the electoral votes of closely divided battleground states, such as Ohio and Florida, under the state-by-state winner-take-all methods. The big cities in those battleground states do not receive all the attention, much less control the outcome. Cleveland and Miami do not receive all the attention or control the outcome in Ohio and Florida. In the 4 states that accounted for over two-thirds of all general-election activity in the 2012 presidential election, rural areas, suburbs, exurbs, and cities all received attention—roughly in proportion to their population.

    The itineraries of presidential candidates in battleground states (and their allocation of other campaign resources in battleground states, including polling, organizing, and ad spending) reflect the political reality that every gubernatorial or senatorial candidate knows. When and where every voter is equal, a campaign must be run everywhere.

    With National Popular Vote, when every voter is equal, everywhere, it makes sense for presidential candidates to try and elevate their votes where they are and aren’t so well liked. But, under the state-by-state winner-take-all laws, it makes no sense for a Democrat to try and do that in Vermont or Wyoming, or for a Republican to try it in Wyoming or Vermont.

    The main media at the moment, TV, costs much more per impression in big cities than in smaller towns and rural area. Candidates get more bang for the buck in smaller towns and rural areas.

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    Because of state-by-state winner-take-all laws, not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution. . .

    Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in 2015 was correct when he said
    “The nation as a whole is not going to elect the next president,”
    “The presidential election will not be decided by all states, but rather just 12 of them.

    Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or care about the voter concerns in the dozens of states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind.

    With the end of the primaries, without the National Popular Vote bill in effect, the political relevance of 70% of all Americans was finished for the presidential election.

    In the 2016 general election campaign

    Over half (57%) of the campaign events were held in just 4 states (Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Ohio).

    Virtually all (94%) of the campaign events were in just 12 states (containing only 30% of the country’s population).

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    Voters in the biggest cities in the US are almost exactly balanced out by rural areas in terms of population and partisan composition.

    16% of the U.S. population lives outside the nation’s Metropolitan Statistical Areas. Rural America has voted 60% Republican. None of the 10 most rural states matter now.

    16% of the U.S. population lives in the top 50 cities (going as far down as Arlington, TX)

    The rest of the U.S., in suburbs, divide almost exactly equally between Republicans and Democrats.

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    Maryland, like 37 other states, of all sizes, is politically irrelevant in presidential elections.

    Fourteen of the 15 smallest states by population are ignored like the big ones because they’re not swing states. Small states are safe states. Only New Hampshire gets significant attention.

    Support for a national popular vote has been strong in every smallest state surveyed in polls among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group

    Among the 13 lowest population states, the National Popular Vote bill has passed in 9 state legislative chambers, and been enacted by 4 jurisdictions.

    Now political clout comes from being among the handful of battleground states. 70-80% of states and voters are ignored by presidential campaign polling, organizing, ad spending, and visits. Their states’ votes were conceded months before by the minority parties in the states, taken for granted by the dominant party in the states, and ignored by all parties in presidential campaigns.

    State winner-take-all laws negate any simplistic mathematical equations about the relative power of states based on their number of residents per electoral vote. Small state math means absolutely nothing to presidential campaign polling, organizing, ad spending, and visits, or to presidents once in office.

    In the 25 smallest states in 2008, the Democratic and Republican popular vote was almost tied (9.9 million versus 9.8 million), as was the electoral vote (57 versus 58).

    In 2012, 24 of the nation’s 27 smallest states received no attention at all from presidential campaigns after the conventions. They were ignored despite their supposed numerical advantage in the Electoral College. In fact, the 8.6 million eligible voters in Ohio received more campaign ads and campaign visits from the major party campaigns than the 42 million eligible voters in those 27 smallest states combined.

    The 12 smallest states are totally ignored in presidential elections. These states are not ignored because they are small, but because they are not closely divided “battleground” states.

    Now with state-by-state winner-take-all laws (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but later enacted by 48 states), presidential elections ignore 12 of the 13 lowest population states (3-4 electoral votes), that are non-competitive in presidential elections. 6 regularly vote Republican (AK, ID, MT, WY, ND, and SD), and 6 regularly vote Democratic (RI, DE, HI, VT, ME, and DC) in presidential elections.

    Similarly, the 25 smallest states have been almost equally noncompetitive. They voted Republican or Democratic 12-13 in 2008 and 2012.

    Voters in states, of all sizes, that are reliably red or blue don’t matter. Candidates ignore those states and the issues they care about most.

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