Abandoning the electoral college is a terrible idea. Believing otherwise is magical thinking. Closing our eyes and wishing hard will not change the past any more than it did when we were children. I know it stings that Clinton won the popular vote by somewhere between 1 and 2 million votes; it stings me too. Abandoning the electoral college is NOT the answer.
I’m unhappy about the outcome of this election, and I’ve vowed to do everything I can to (a) work hard to change the democratic party so that it better represents the middle and lower classes again, and so that we have a better alternative; and (b) do everything I possibly can to mitigate the harm that has, can, and will continue as long as we let it. Make no mistake, evil happens when the ugly, hateful underbelly of this nation is allowed to run amok.
Before you go there, no, I’m not saying that if you voted for Trump you’re a racist, misogynistic, xenophobic pig. It would be easier if it were true. I am saying is that there is an element in this country, and it’s been emboldened. Those of us who are unhappy about the outcome of this election have a duty to work to make the world a better place, and to come up with better alternatives. Come to think of it, those who are happy about the election have the same responsibility.
Unless you didn’t vote – then shut the fuck up, or get to work (see above). Learn your lesson and remember that next time your vote might be the one that makes a difference.
Abandoning the electoral college won’t fix it
What I absolutely do NOT think is a good idea abandoning the electoral college process. I used to. I used to think it would make sense. Then I read the constitution again, and read what constitutional and historical scholars had to say. And thought about it.
Studying the reason for the electoral college, I’ve actually come to believe that the US Constitution is a pretty smart document. I don’t think it’s perfect, and I do think it is alive and not to be taken literally. But it’s pretty smart, and I think it protects us more than it harms us, despite the fact that I was on the losing side of the electoral college divide in 2 recent elections.
The electoral college is there to make sure that a mob mentality majority is never able to dictate to any minority. Basically, if we go with pure majority, California, Illinois, and New York will forever dictate who will be President. Right now that favors democrats, so a lot of angry Hillary and/or Bernie supporters think that would be a good idea. But what if it doesn’t, someday? What if California goes conservative again, and the other shoe falls? How would we like that?
As the saying goes, be careful what you wish for, because you might get it. I think there’s more than a fair chance that many of the people who say they voted for the president-elect because they felt disenfranchised are about to find out. But I’m not willing to sacrifice the protections of the minority that are afforded by the electoral college, in order to risk the tyranny of a majority that just might decide something heinous.
Some ideas that would fix it
Want to change things?
- Work hard on the local level. Run for local and state offices, or work for people who do. Put your skill, and your money if you have it, where your mouth is. Include the mouth in your fingers when you’re on social media.
- Vote for changes in the way that state legislators are allowed to map federal districts. Right now, political parties – and not the people – determine the most likely winner. Let’s call that process what it is – gerrymandering, plain and simple. More than anything, changing the process of districting to represent populations, rather than political parties, would fix the electoral college. The best news is that we could fix this on the local level, if we’re willing to work our asses off and get active in local elections. That’s what Newt Gingrich saw in the neocon revolution in the 90s, and it worked because people mobilized to make it happen. There’s some motivation for you.
- Reach out to people who voted for the winner of this election, learn something, and find common ground.
- Fight hard against hate, whenever and wherever it rears it’s ugly head. Be willing to risk it all for the people you say you care about.
- Do NOT give the new president a pass. Watch him like a hawk, for the little things that can undermine our country.
- And do NOT normalize the ugliness that should never be normalized. Like the string of people who are about to pay homage to Mr. Trump and pander to their own interests.
But also, stop whining and trying to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Abandoning the electoral college with not fix things.
A majority of voters – not people but voters – voted for Clinton. Let’s make our voices heard, as a force for good, and as politically savvy organizers in our communities, our counties, and our states.
Dr. Les Kertay