An antiquated system that never served the country well.
Courtesy of Vox:
In 2016, Donald Trump won the presidency despite receiving nearly 3 million fewer votes than Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. In 2000, George W. Bush pulled off a similar trick. According to a new study, these are not flukes. They are the kind of results we should expect from the Electoral College.
The study, by three economics researchers at the University of Texas, quantifies just how often the Electoral College will produce an “inversion” — that is, an election where one candidate wins the popular vote but the other walks away with the presidency. The numbers are simply astonishing.
To reach their conclusions, the research team ran hundreds of thousands of simulated elections under various election models. The paper as a whole studies three periods in American history: the Antebellum period from 1836 to 1852, the Reconstruction period from 1872 to 1888, and the modern period from 1964 to 2016 (although many of their modern samples only look at the period from 1988 to 2016). These periods were selected to exclude eras when one party typically won in a landslide.
Overall, they conclude that “the high probability of inversion at narrow vote margins is an across-history property of the Electoral College system.” The Electoral College has, at various times, given an advantage to Democrats, Republicans, and the now-defunct Whig Party. Now it gives a clear advantage to Republicans.
The Electoral College skews elections by giving a structural advantage to small states. Each state receives a number of electoral votes equal to the number of United States House of Representatives members from that state, plus two. These two additional votes effectively triple the voting power of the smallest states, while having only a negligible impact on the voting power of large states.
Additionally, modern-day Democrats are disadvantaged because they “have tended to win large states by large margins and lose them by small margins.” In 2016, for example, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton won California by nearly 3.5 million votes. Meanwhile, she lost the crucial swing states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin by fewer than 80,000 votes combined.
It’s not hard to imagine 2020 producing an even starker inversion.
I have no confidence that we will be able to do anything about the electoral college before the 2020 election, but modifying it or trashing it altogether should be on the Democrat’s Honey-do list the next time they take power.
The damn thing is skewing results and putting too much power in the hands of too few people.