Donald Trump has won the presidency and suddenly Hillary Clinton supporters are up in arms over the electoral college.
Given my dislike for Hillary, you may be surprised to find that I actually agree with her supporters on this issue, but my disdain for the electoral college preexisted this travesty of an election.
Personally I find it appropriate that a candidate who had to use $uper-delegates to “win” her primary, lost to the EC, but my love of Democracy supersedes my Schadenfreude.
Not only is the electoral college undemocratic and favors Republicans, but it ultimately prohibits any chance of an Independent or third-party candidate from becoming president.
Before I venture into how the electoral college prohibits Independents and third-parties from rising to power, I want to point out some of the inherent flaws in this system.
And before you start waiving your pocket Constitution around, talking about how “the founding fathers were infallible”, let me remind you that these men were wise enough to create The Constitution as a living, breathing document, that is meant to be amended as the citizens see fit.
Here are several reasons why we need to write a Constitutional Amendment that will overturn the Twelfth Amendment.
The Electoral College is Based on Slavery
In 1787, when the Twelfth Amendment was drafted, a direct election for president gave more power to the Northern states, due to the fact that Southern states had large populations of slaves who were not eligible to vote.
The Southern states opposed a popular vote system and pushed for a system that was based on population.
In the end those who drafted the Twelfth Amendment agreed to count a slave as 3/5ths of a person and thereby awarded Southern states with hefty amounts of electoral votes based on their huge slave populations.
I don’t have to tell you how outdated this system is when it is based on awarding votes to people who were not even counted as actual human beings, but what further complicates matters is that the electoral college has been calibrated to where some voters actually have nearly four times the voting power as other voters.
Which brings me to my next point…
The Electoral College Gives Voters in Small States More Power Than Voters in Large States
The idea behind the electoral college is that each state is awarded one electoral college vote for every 565,166 residents.
But this system is not properly calibrated and is actually weighted to give voters in small states, which are mostly rural, more power than voters in large states, with many urban population centers.
In short, many people have their voting power diminished and are counted as less than a whole person (what do you expect from a system based on counting slaves as 3/5ths of a human being??!) while other voters are counted as MORE THAN THREE PEOPLE!!
For example, California with its population of 39 million should have 69 electoral college votes (39,000,000/565,166 = 69) but only has 55 electoral votes.
That is 14 electoral votes that California is being robbed of every four years.
To be fair, deep red Texas should have 49 electoral votes, yet only has 38.
But still the left is punished more intensely under the EC.
For example, New York, an uncontested blue state, with the third largest total of electoral votes, once again penalizes the left disproportionately.
New York should have 35 electoral votes, but they only have 29.
Illinois, the third-largest Democrat stronghold, should have 23 electoral votes, but only has 20.
The electoral college favors Republicans and is actually weighted to give rural voters more voting power than city voters.
In other words, a city voter is counted as less than one whole person, whereas a rural voter is often counted as multiple people.
If you ever wondered how Al Gore and Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, yet still lost their respective elections, the answer is simple.
Urban votes are worth less to the electoral college.
Let’s remember that the electoral college was designed to appease Southern slave owners.
Move to a Small State and Triple Your Voting Power!!!
Where do all the electoral votes go that are stripped away from the urban areas?
They are awarded to small states that are mostly rural.
Let’s look at some of the states that have small populations.
Populations of Small States with Disproportionate Voting Power
Alaska – 743,000
Delaware – 942,000
Montana – 1,032,000
North Dakota – 753,000
South Dakota – 867,000
Vermont – 626,000
Wyoming – 588,000
As we have already discussed, one electoral vote is supposed to be awarded for every 565,166 citizens, so the above states should all have ONE electoral vote, correct?
But each of the above states has THREE electoral votes.
This means that if you live in one of these states your vote has the power of two or three people voting, while conversely a California voter is not even treated as one whole person.
Let’s put this into perspective.
Let’s imagine that Candidate A won the state of Florida and Candidate B won the seven small states listed above.
Candidate A, by winning Florida, a state with 20 million people, would be awarded 20 electoral votes.
Candidate B, by winning the seven small states, with a total population of 5.5 million, would be awarded with 21 electoral votes.
Candidate A may have four times as many voters, but will still crawl away with less electoral votes.
That, my friends, is a deeply flawed system.
Inconsistencies such as this abound all across the map and undermine the voting power of tens of millions of Americans.
The electoral college is nothing more than gerrymandering of our nation’s highest office.
In short the electoral college is completely undemocratic.
There is no reason why a voter in one state should have four times the voting power as a voter in another state.
It’s worth pointing out, that this system could be exploited by grassroots efforts in smaller states, because in effect you are converting 3-4 voters every time you convert one.
For example, an upstart party gaining 200,000 members in a large state such as California or Texas would probably go completely unnoticed, as it would make up less than 1% of the state’s population, basically giving zero voting power to the movement, but achieving 200,000 voters in each of the small states would be the same as achieving 600,000 voters in any other state (not to mention that this insurgent party would have complete control over the state’s local politics).
An insurgent third-party could achieve 21 electoral college votes, simply by making strong movements in the seven small states listed above.
This may not seem like many EC votes, but when you consider that this could be achieved with a total voter base of 1,400,000 people you see that this type of election hack provides a tremendous return on investment.
If a third-party wants to gain serious power, but is under-funded, they would be wise to concentrate on these small states, where every citizen has 3-4 times the voting power of people in larger states.
Before we get too excited and start planning the leftist equivalent of The Free State Project, let’s take a look at how the electoral college prevents third-parties from winning the presidency.
Bernie Sanders ran as a Democrat for the presidency in 2016, even though Hillary Clinton and other prominent Dems were quick to remind us that “Bernie Sanders has never been a Democrat.”
Why did he do this?
Why not just run as an Independent or third-party?
The answers to these questions are numerous and complex, but foremost among them is that the electoral college makes it nearly impossible for an Independent or third-party candidate to win the presidency.
Let’s explore how the electoral college handicaps Independent and third-party candidates using the 2016 election as an example.
Just for the sake of simplicity, let’s imagine that American voters are split down the middle 50% whose values lie on the left and 50% whose values lie on the right.
I know that nothing is this simple, but for the sake of this example, we are going to imagine that it is a 50/50 split.
Imagining a 50/50 split is not radical by any means.
In 2012, Barack Obama defeated Mitt Romney with 51% of the vote (obviously Romney pulled in 49%).
Let’s further imagine that a populist candidate rises up as an Independent or under the umbrella of a third-party.
For the sake of this thought experiment, let’s see what would have happened if Bernie Sanders had run as an Independent in 2016.
Let’s say Bernie pulled many people from the left over, who usually voted Democrat.
And let’s exaggerate the numbers in Bernie’s favor, so we can see how even an incredibly powerful candidate is completely incapable of overcoming the electoral college, without the support of the two corporate parties.
Let’s say that Bernie pulled so many people over from the left that it looked something like this..
Voters on the Left (Sanders voters): 35%
Traditional Democrats (Clinton voters): 15%
Republicans (Trump voters): 50%
In this scenario the left is extremely handicapped, splitting the votes between two strong candidates.
Republicans walk to an easy victory and the electoral college is not a huge factor.
Sanders knew this, which is exactly why he ran inside of a party that he described as “ideologically bankrupt”.
Sanders knows how the system works and knows that under our current system an Independent or third-party simply has the cards stacked against them to the point that it is nearly impossible to win, even if you have popular support.
To illustrate why this is true, let’s run a second thought experiment and in this experiment Sanders runs under the Green Party umbrella and is so incredibly successful that he actually pulls in 10% of Republican voters as well (while it is a fact that many Republicans would have voted for Sanders, it was actually less than 5% of total Republicans. It is highly unlikely that 10% of Republicans would have voted for him).
That scenario would look like this.
Voters on the left + 10% of voters on the right (Sanders voters): 45%
Traditional Democrats (Clinton voters): 15%
Traditional Republicans (Trump voters): 40%
In this outlandish scenario, Sanders wins right?
In this scenario, no candidate would receive the 270 electoral votes required to “win” the presidency, so the House of Representatives would vote on whom they believe the president should be.
As the House is Republican controlled, Donald Trump would be awarded the presidency.
We can run an infinite number of scenarios in which a third-party or Independent runs an incredibly successful campaign, but in each of these scenarios the best that they will achieve is to split the voters on their side of the ideological line and get the election thrown into the House, which will either be controlled by the Democrats or the Republicans and each time the House will vote along party lines and leave the Independent or third-party candidate out in the cold.
So the next time you hear an uniformed voter say “Bernie Sanders sold out!!” you can inform them on the truth of the matter.
Sanders did the only thing he could do inside of a corrupt system.
He ran inside of a party and tried to change it from within.
You simply cannot change the system from the outside.
People have been trying for over 200 years.
Those in power know all the tricks.
They have built in safe-guards against actual Democracy.
The only scenario in which a third-party could possibly win the presidency, under the electoral college, would be to win the 270 EC votes required to win the presidency outright.
Considering that the two corporate parties in the United States are backed by billions of dollars and have the Twelfth Amendment protecting them, this is very nearly an impossibility.
Donald Trump is not a Republican.
Bernie Sanders is not a Democrat.
But both men knew that the only chance they had to win was to play within the system.
Obviously this system needs to be reconstructed.
How to Overturn the Electoral College
There are many more problems with the electoral college that I will not get into in this article.
If the fact that the electoral college was built on slavery and gives some voters nearly four times the power as other voters, while simultaneously locking us into a corrupt two-party system, doesn’t convince you that this system needs to be overturned, then hopefully realizing that we have now elected two unqualified candidates, who lost the popular vote, into the White House, through this system, in the last 16 years will.
In 2000, Al Gore won the popular vote, but lost to the electoral college and George Bush subsequently went on to invade Iraq and create Isis.
Don’t blame Ralph Nader who received less than 3% of the vote.
Blame the electoral college.
The people spoke and the electoral college silenced them.
Now just 16 years later, another candidate who lost the popular vote and has no business being in charge of our military, will wreak havoc on the planet for the next four years.
Never mind that Al Gore and Hillary Clinton are both awful candidates.
That is a conversation for another time.
The point is that the American political system is broken and becoming worse all the time.
A systematic strike to take down this antiquated Amendment can begin turning things around, as well as providing Americans more choice in parties going forward.
Drafting a Constitutional Amendment begins at the state level, which means that YOU can take action immediately in your state.
Using social media to coordinate with others who are doing the same in their states, a 3/4 majority can be achieved.
Writing a Constitutional Amendment is not impossible.
It has been done 27 times, about once per decade, so it is completely achievable if people organize at a grassroots level.
This would not be the first time that a Constitutional Amendment overturned a previous Amendment.
The 21st Amendment legalized alcohol by overturning the 18th Amendment.
The 28th Amendment will overturn the antiquated 12th Amendment and allow American citizens true voting power.
I am hoping that this article can band together third-party voters with disgruntled Democrats, as well as Independent voters who value true Democracy and are tired of seeing their voting power usurped.
There are enough of us out there, that if we band together, we can write an Amendment to The Constitution.
We have the numbers and we have the knowledge.
Now is the time to bring Democracy to America.
Michael E Sparks is a freelance writer who literally spends every free moment he has researching and writing in hopes of bringing truth to the Progressive masses. If you want to support his work, please donate $1 by clicking HERE.