OK, why do we still have an Electoral College again? | Ask a civics professor
Question: Last week was a good start, but you’ve still got some Electoral College explaining to do, right?
Answer: Well, judging by some of the email we got about last week’s column, part of the problem is that there is a real partisan divide in our country over the way the Electoral College is viewed. While we often talk about red states and blue states, the division in the U.S. is often better described as rural and urban. Cities tend to be more Democratic, even in red states (think, Indianapolis), and rural areas tend to be more Republican, even in blue states.
High population states with big cities — like New York or California — tend to vote Democratic. Smaller population states, like Wyoming or Alaska, tend to vote Republican. This obviously is not true everywhere (Texas often votes Republican, Vermont is consistently Democratic) but it holds true enough that the current Electoral College system, which gives greater weight to smaller states, has helped two recent presidents, George W. Bush and Donald Trump, overcome a loss in the popular vote and win the presidency.
Defenders of the Electoral College point out it is part of our presidential election tradition. In its absence, small states would be ignored, and elections would focus only on big population states and primarily in the cities where more people live. The Electoral College forces candidates to build a coalition that can appeal to people in different regions and states, since the candidates need to win electoral votes from states across the nation.
Opponents argue that as the nation has grown, the inequality generated by the Electoral College has risen. A small state like Wyoming has one electoral vote per 192,000 people, while a large state like Florida has one electoral vote per 740,000 people. Put another way, it takes nearly four people in Florida to equal the voting power of a single person in Wyoming.
Opponents also argue that the system favors a handful of competitive states like Florida (29 electoral votes) and Ohio (18 electoral votes), and ignores most others — regardless of size.
2020欧洲杯正规平台A constitutional amendment is the only certain way to change the Electoral College, but that would require a two-thirds vote of each house of Congress, and 38 out of 50 states to agree.
A number of alternate — and rather complicated — compromises have been proposed. One would keep the Electoral College, but allocate the electors by Congressional District rather than giving them all to the statewide winner. (Nebraska and Maine already do this.) However, this type of allocation would be influenced by how we draw Congressional Districts.
2020欧洲杯正规平台Finally, some advocate for the . This would have states allocate their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote. If states representing 270 electoral votes were to do so, then we would keep the Electoral College, but create the equivalent of a nationwide popular election.
2020欧洲杯正规平台Thus far, states representing 196 electoral votes have already pledged to the compact.
Kevin Wagner is a constitutional scholar and political science professor at Florida Atlantic University. The answers provided do not represent the views of the university. If you have a question about how American government and politics works, email at email@example.com.
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