America Won, California Didn't

Why The Electoral College Works

November 16th, 2016 | T. Carter
electoral college
Donald Trump won the popular vote in 30 states. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in 20 states. The Electoral College was designed to ensure that the popular vote in one state could not decide the next president of the United States, which is exactly what would have happened on November 8 without the Electoral College. Had the popular vote decided the presidency, Hillary Clinton would be our president-elect with a slim margin of approximately 940,176 votes mostly from the state of California.

California has long been known as the center of the elitist left-wing universe. Californians voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton, just as they did for Barack Obama and almost every Democratic president since 1988 - when George HW Bush followed in Ronald Reagan's footsteps by winning the state for the last time. California's 55 electoral votes have helped Bill Clinton and Barack Obama occupy the White House for a total of 16 years, but 2016 gave the power back to blue-collar Americans living in what is offensively known today as the "rust belt". Historically, some of America's most populous states have always leaned toward the Democratic Party, while Southern states have leaned Republican, giving swing states like Florida the power to pick presidents. In 2016, Donald Trump re-drew the electoral map by flipping traditionally Democratic states like Michigan and Pennsylvania. These states would have been left powerless - and their voters inconsequential - without the Electoral College.

The United States is not a centralized government, it's a union of autonomous states. Each state is given the equal ability to choose a single leader of that union for a term of four years. The Electoral College exists so states like California can't override the popular vote from other states with a mere 900,000 votes. On November 8, the Electoral College worked exactly how it was intended to work.
When we subtract California and all of its voters from the equation, Hillary Clinton no longer wins the popular vote that Democrats and their supporters have been flaunting since election night. Without the state of California, Hillary Clinton crosses the finish line with 55,590,183 votes as of November 16. Without California, Donald Trump crosses the finish line with 57,547,125 votes as of November 16, beating Hillary Clinton by 1,956,942.

The left might argue that we are all Americans, whether we're from California or Michigan, and that the 900,000 votes that put Hillary Clinton ahead of Donald Trump are just as valid as the votes in Michigan that gave Donald Trump the popular vote there. The people making that argument are wrong. It's because we're all Americans that the popular vote in Michigan cannot be invalidated by the popular vote in California. By November 10, Donald Trump won the popular vote in 30 states. Had all states been given only one electoral college vote each, Donald Trump would have still won the election. The fact is that Donald Trump won the support of a majority of autonomous and independent states within the union. Therefore, Donald Trump wins. That's how democracy and the Electoral College have always worked and it's magnificent.

The Electoral College was designed to make sure that California, or any other state, can't choose presidents simply by overwhelming the electorate with higher voter turnouts. Nearly 10 million Californians voted, with 60% of them voting for Hillary Clinton. Under the Electoral College, 20 million Californians could have voted with a 60% margin in favor of Hillary Clinton without changing the outcome and invalidating the influence of states like Pennsylvania and Michigan. That's precisely the point of the Electoral College.

Despite all of the rhetoric about racism and bigotry flying out of the media echo chamber, Donald Trump won 60% of America's 50 states. Left-wing bloggers will continue to tell us that the Electoral College was designed to suppress slaves, women and minorities, but they will continue to be ignored by everyone who understands the true purpose and history of the Electoral College. To the liberal media's credit, even they have brushed aside these ludicrous claims. The truth is that the Electoral College protects states by limiting their power and expanding their power all at once. The fact that some states like Florida and Ohio end up choosing winners and losers is only a temporary condition of our current era. As both Trump and Reagan have proven, states like California and Michigan can be flipped under the right conditions. In the not-so distant future, states like Texas or Illinois could shift to opposite sides based on a number of changing social and economic variables. In so doing, they would completely transform the traditional electoral map. As populations change, electoral boundaries will be redrawn and electoral votes can increase or decrease in any of the 50 states based on their number of Congressional seats.

If you think it's impossible that a state like Illinois could ever turn red, you would find value in seeing how close past presidential races have been and how the numbers have changed over time. Before Barack Obama but after George HW Bush, Illinois went to Democrats on an average of 55-45%. Both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton won Illinois by 60% or more. Before Bill Clinton, Illinois always went to Republicans on an average of 55% or more. Bush Sr., Reagan, Ford and Nixon all won Illinois. Demographics change over time and political tactics change with them, so there's no reason to think that the tides won't change again in the future. In 1976, Jimmy Carter won Texas. Donald Trump is the first Republican candidate since George HW Bush to win Michigan.

Over time, candidates have redrawn the electoral map of the United States. Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and Donald Trump have all been vessels for change. Whether or not their new maps stay in place always depends on how well they do. Jimmy Carter couldn't keep Texas, Pennsylvania or any of his other states because his policies were regarded as failures by most Americans. Ever since he lost in a stunning landslide to Ronald Reagan, Democrats have never won Texas again. Ever since George HW Bush, Republicans have never been able to win back California.

The idea that the electoral map is static is wrong. America's electoral map evolves. The same Electoral College the left-wing is complaining about today will be the same Electoral College that puts their next president in the White House tomorrow. There have been efforts in the past to abolish and reform the Electoral College, but they've all failed. The latest attempt comes from Democratic senator, Barbara Boxer, who introduced a resolution to amend the Constitution. Like all other attempts, her resolution will fail in the Republican controlled Congress.

Another move to invalidate the Electoral College has been in the works for years, but is likely to die like the rest. The Interstate Compact, or National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, looks to pledge all electoral college votes to the candidate who wins the national popular vote. The compact requires a majority of states with a majority of the Electoral College to be successful, as well as approval from Congress. With Republicans likely to control all, or at least half, of Congress for the foreseeable future, the compact has a small chance to succeed. So far, only 10 states have signed on to the Interstate Compact and all 10 are blue states.

The truth is that the Electoral College isn't broken. There is nothing to fix and no reason to abolish the thing that has helped make America one of the most fair and balanced constitutional republics in history. Our system works and it's functional. The Electoral College wasn't designed to oppress and suppress slaves, minorities and women. It was designed to create balance and fairness in a mutual union of autonomous and independent states.