Excellence of the Electoral College

The Wall Street Journal today offers an excellent response to those who will call the Electoral College outdated in the aftermath of Hillary Clinton winning the popular vote, but losing the presidency:

The fact that Mrs. Clinton won the popular vote may console Democrats, but if that were the measure of victory we would have had a different campaign. Both candidates would have parked themselves in populous states like New York, and Mr. Trump would have spent weeks in Texas. As it is, the Republican nominee didn’t compete in Illinois or California, allowing Mrs. Clinton to pile up big majorities. Mrs. Clinton’s advantage in California alone—more than 2.7 million votes—accounts for more than her projected margin of victory of about two million.

Excellent point and here’s another one:

The system also tends to narrow the field to two candidates who have a plausible path to 270 electoral votes. This is a weakness when the major parties produce two unpopular nominees, but that is an argument for the parties choosing better candidates. The Electoral College reduces the relevance of fringe candidates who could otherwise force themselves into importance in a national poll. Most voters in the end abandon third-party candidates so they won’t “waste” their vote. That’s what happened this year as voters moved away from Gary Johnson or Jill Stein.

Take the 1992 election, for example.  In that race, Bill Clinton won 43.0% of the vote, George H.W. Bush won 37.4% and Ross Perot won 18.9%.  In that scenario there’s not a candidate with a plurality of the vote, but Clinton won and Perot didn’t have a have a chance.  (By the way, thanks again Perot.)  Had this been a two-person race, the election would have been much closer, but as it was, Clinton won in a landslide.

The bottom line is that the losers always make excuses.  The system works and it has for the life of our country.  As the article quotes Alexander Hamilton, “If the manner of it be not perfect, it is at least excellent.”



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