Saturday, April 22, 2017

Had the Founders selected direct popular vote as the means for electing a President, the residents of one state (California) would have dictated the choice to the other 49

In the third of twenty-five weekly articles in The Tennessee Star’s Constitution Series (thanks to Instapundit), the Tennessee Star addresses The Electoral College and the Selection of the President.
In recent years, a number of political figures and commentators have criticized the Electoral College and want the President selected by direct popular vote.

Four times since 1868, the first year in which all states selected Electors by some form of popular vote, the candidate who received the most popular vote did not win the Electoral College, and therefore was not elected President.

 … In our most recent Presidential Election of 2016, Democrat Hillary Clinton received 48 percent of the popular vote to Republican Donald Trump’s 46 percent. But Trump was elected President because he won the majority of the Electoral College votes, 304 to 227 (7 Electoral College votes were split between other candidates).

Clinton’s popular vote margin of 2.8 million was the highest of any Presidential candidate who won the popular vote but lost the Electoral College vote (though her 2 percent margin was less than Samuel Tilden’s 3 percent margin in 1876), and therefore the Presidency.

A closer look at the state by state breakdown of the 2016 Presidential Election results reveals the wisdom of the Founding Fathers in establishing an Electoral College method for selecting a President.

Hillary Clinton won the state of California resoundingly, beating Donald Trump there by more than 4.2 million votes – a 61 percent to 31 percent thumping.

Had the Founders selected direct popular vote as the means for electing a President, the residents of California would have dictated to the other 49 states who would have served as our President.

Looking at the total combined vote in the other 49 states, Donald Trump won 1.4 more million votes than Hillary Clinton, taking 58.5 million votes to her 57.1 million votes.

But because of the Electoral College, Hillary Clinton’s huge vote margin in California earned her the state’s 55 Electoral College votes, and no more.

The Founding Fathers had an idea that the Electors would be of a high personal character, wisdom, and intelligence, and would exercise those qualities in their selection.

They also hoped against the development of factions and competing political powers, a hope in retrospect was inevitably bound to be disappointed, given the foibles of human nature.
Related to the Electoral College: The 2016 Vote and the Electoral College System Explained — With Help from the European Union

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