The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday is the Electoral College – again. Various people continue to clamor for change in the Electoral College, but most of them want to do away with it completely in order to elect leaders by popular vote. As my regular readers know, I am completely against this concept.
Today I happened upon a suggestion on how to reform the Electoral College that has real merit. Bruce Walker wrote an interesting article with the title of “How to Get People to Vote.” I passed over the article several times simply because I did not like the title. It sounds a whole like coercion to me!
I finally clicked on the article and read it. It seems that Walker has a couple of proposal about reforming the Electoral College. The first one suggests that state legislatures choose the electors for their state. This is the way presidential electors were selected at the beginning of our republic.
Walker’s second proposal concerns how states choose their electors, following the example of Maine and Nebraska. As you may recall, there were questions about how the electors for these two states would go. This site has a good explanation on how Maine and Nebraska choose their electors.
In his own words, Walker’s proposal says: “have those presidential electors attributable to the state’s apportioned House seats elected by congressional district and have those two presidential electors attributable to the state’s two senators elected statewide.
“Why would this be good? Presidential candidates today need spend little time or attention in those states that either will be carried by that candidate no matter what or will not be carried by the candidate no matter what. The Constitution does not envision a president being elected because most Americans want him, but rather because the different parts of America, each with different interests and values, find him acceptable.
“States are the proper level of government to make that choice, but the most populous states today can safely ignore whole sections of the state because large metropolitan areas swamp the votes of less populous parts of the state. What that means in a reliably leftist state like California is that the third of the state in the rural eastern ridge, who will be outvoted in statewide elections, really have meaningless votes not only in the presidential race, but in senatorial races as well.”
Liberals are upset because Hillary Clinton won popular vote by several million votes, but Trump won the electors. If the liberal voters in LA County and New York City were not counted, Trump would have also won the popular vote. This means that the liberal votes in those two areas outweighed the conservative votes in other areas of each state. If Walker’s proposal was adopted by all the states – but particularly by California and New York – votes would be more equal.
“If the electoral votes of California were chosen by congressional districts, then the voters in Republican-leaning congressional districts would have an incentive to vote, as would voters in swing districts. What would be true of rural Californians would be true of upstate New Yorkers, downstate Illinoisans, and so on. These effectively disenfranchised Republican voters would have a reason to go to the polls in presidential elections.”
Walker then explains “how this would have affected recent presidential races.” He says that Trump would have won by 307 electoral votes rather than 304 in 2016. He also says that Mitt Romney would have won in 2012 by 282 electoral votes, but John McCain would have still lost in 2008 “with 220 electoral votes instead of 173. The changes in electoral votes reflect the fact that each state, still, would cast two votes statewide (as the Senate portion of the state’s electoral vote) but that the few big states upon which Democrats rely would give some votes to Republican presidential candidates.
“That would be some advantage to Republican presidential candidates, but the primary effect would be to make much more of America relevant in presidential elections….”
I have given the main idea presented by Walker, but I encourage you to read the article to get the entire proposal. This is an issue concerning the states and should be decided by individual states, but I believe it has merit and should be considered. With the electors chosen by congressional districts, Democrat districts would have Democrat electors and Republican districts would have Republican electors. Then the entire state would determine the two at-large electors just as Senators are elected at large. I think that I could support this proposal. What do you think?