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Michael Swartz / Nov. 20, 2020

Washington Post Demands Elimination of Electoral College

The paper's editorial board can no longer tolerate one of our Constitution's signature protections.

Frustrated that their fellow Democrats have won the popular vote in seven of the last eight presidential elections but haven’t won the presidency in all seven, the members of The Washington Post editorial board have finally blurted out what’s been on their minds the last four years: the Electoral College “is no longer tenable for American democracy.”

After whining about how much power Iowa farmers and Wyoming ranchers have over California and its artichoke growers, the Posters get to their point: “Mr. Trump became president in 2016 despite earning 3 million fewer votes than Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Now, he has come close to winning reelection despite losing the popular vote by a far greater margin.” What they fail to mention, though, is that most (if not all) of the Democrats’ margin in 2000, 2012, 2016, and perhaps 2020 was accounted for solely in the state of California. The hugely populous and overwhelmingly Democrat state skews national totals that might otherwise amount to a wash or even an easy GOP win (as it was in 2016). As columnist David Harsanyi points out, “Running up the score in big states gives partisan activists fodder, but it is irrelevant. If Donald Trump ran for the national vote, he might well have won it by spending all his time in California and New York talking about things that matter to Californians and New Yorkers. The entire dynamics of elections would be different. Our election is geared toward winning states, not people.” In that case, Trump managed to win enough of the 51 separate state elections to prevail, even if by close margins.

And no discussion of abolishing the Electoral College would be complete without mentioning the Left’s National Popular Vote movement, which has connived legislators in 15 mainly Democrat stronghold states to join into their interstate compact and thereby subvert the Electoral College. The Post’s editorial admits that changing the Constitution to eliminate the Electoral College would be practically impossible (perhaps thanks to those dozen or so swing states that seem to matter in every election), so the National Popular Vote subversion is perfectly appropriate.

Author Richard P. Bruneau makes an even more eloquent and impassioned case for the Electoral College: “The founders designed the Electoral College to moderate the influence of large states and big cities over small states and rural districts. Rhode Island, for example, with [four] electoral votes would hardly matter if the presidency were decided strictly by a national popular vote. Presidential candidates could and would ignore states like Rhode Island and focus on states and districts with large population centers, offering more bang for effort and dollars. Small-state electoral votes have often affected the national outcome. Eliminate the Electoral College, and the voice of voters in small states all but disappears in the presidential election.”

The best argument, though, could be in the counting nightmare we’re currently living through. Bush v. Gore involved only one state and took five weeks to resolve. The current contest involves at least five states, and the legal wrangling is barely underway. Imagine fighting this out over all 50 states as parties charge and countercharge allegations of voter fraud wherever one side holds a distinct advantage in the popular vote.

Perhaps our next presidential election will yield a decisive victor. But until then, the Left’s whipping boy will continue to be the venerable Electoral College. Our system is unique and a little quirky, but it’s the best system out there and we should thank the Founders for their vision in designing it.

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