Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Why I cited "Hillary Clinton's popular vote margin is meaningless in every way (except pithy tweets)"

There are a bunch of good reasons to have mentioned that in my last post.

First off, it doesn't really contradict any of my argument. In fact, it pretty much makes my point: the electoral college is undemocratic. Toss in that Hillary Clinton ran a campaign that was better for first past the post than one where the result will be determined by an undemocratic institution unique to US politics.

The folks who want to tell me I somehow wasted my vote by voting for Jill Stein don't understand the plethora of reasons WHY I voted the way I did. One of the major factors was that the US system of elections needs to change.

I would have been far more pissed off had I voted for Clinton to have her lost in the manner she lost to Trump. Adding to her large margin of the popular vote only to see her lose would have been a wasted vote. Instead I voted for someone I believed in.

And, no, I probably wouldn't have held my nose and voted for another Clinton.

Too many things need to change in the US system of elections and blaming everybody and everything except for the real issues that led to Clinton losing only turns me off the discussion.

Unfortunately, the person who wrote the post doesn't really understand how the electoral college skews the vote so that a minority of states actually determine who will be president.[1]  That is true to the extent that it is theoretically possible for 11 States to determine who will be president. Take this quiz for an eye opener on how undemocratic the electoral college happens to be.

So much for the big states not being able to overrule the smaller ones.  That is one of the most bullshit reasons to keep the electoral college. Seriously, anyone who makes that argument needs to take the quiz to see how wrong they are. The only thing the electoral college does is distort the results of the presidential election.

In the all-or-none Electoral College system, the importance of each individual vote is magnified in closely-contended states. That's why, as the election approaches, some states get far more attention from the candidates, both in terms of visits and local advertising dollars spent. If we had a popular vote election, the candidates would likely spend most of their time and energy in the most populous states, supplemented by national advertising. We'll leave it to others - and there is no shortage of opinions - to debate which system is best.

So, no, the electoral college does not result in a "national" election. If anything, it results in states being totally neglected for the states that are considered "battlegrounds". Clinton took Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin for granted to the point that she totally ignored Wisconsin. I heard anecdotally that Democratic Get out the Vote volunteers in Pennsylvania actually made calls to Trump supporters!

“It’s is nothing short of malpractice that her campaign didn’t look at the electoral college and put substantial resources in states like Michigan and Wisconsin,” says Democratic pollster Paul Maslin. Naw, they preferred to blame the people who voted green for their fuck ups.

Oh, and the blog where the post about Clinton's margin being insignificant (and how great the electoral college is) was made is called "excess of democracy". I personally do not see a difference of nearly three million popular votes to be insignificant.

But the learned professor seems to ignore that the electoral college has been modified in the past to try and fix it. I would also add that it is unique to the United States, which makes one question its utility. It has demonstrated it does none of the things its proponents claim it does. In fact it pretty much places the election of the president in the votes a few states, increases the regionalism, and has led to deeply polarized electorate.

Bottom line, the US system of elections needs a serious overhaul: not finger pointing and trying to find blame.

  1. John F. Kennedy won the 1960 election, despite winning the popular vote (and thus the electoral votes) of only 23 of the 50 states. Jimmy Carter won 23 states in 1976, but he also won DC, which by then was participating with 3 electoral votes. George W. Bush won 30 states in 2000, despite the closeness of the electoral vote. 

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