Is the Electoral College Necessary?

It never made sense to me. This whole electoral college thing. It didn’t make sense to me as a 10 year old, 14 year old, 18 year old or even a 22 year old. But today it does. Let me tell you why.

I recently moved to a relatively small town in Iowa from the pacific northwest. On our way east we drove through Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Nebraska. I am not kidding you when I say we drove through a town in Wyoming where the population was 12. 12 people! That’s it! I grew up in the DC metro area and my husband grew up in Chicago. It blew our minds driving through towns in the heart land of our country consisting of 1000 people. And 12!?! We could not identify with that.

Those 12 people. Those 1000 people. That is why the electoral college exists.

If we elected a president by popular vote the coasts of the country would basically decide who was elected. Always. Simply because the coasts have the biggest percent of the population (with some obvious exception like Chicago). I have heard a lot about our votes not counting this election cycle. Without the electoral college, everyone who lived in the middle of the country would be voiceless. There vote truly would not matter. If you live on the coast or in a major city, your vote counts. It counts for popularity and electorally.  If you live in Torrington WY, the Electoral College is your only hope of being heard.

People living in LA, Seattle, New York city, D.C. and Chicago live completely different lives then those living in Pullman, Priest River, Independence, Moose or CedarFalls (Yes those are all towns in our country and I have been to all of them). The people farming in Pullman should not be subject to LA’s ideas on how farming should be done. Chances are most people in LA are not farming. They are getting up going to an office everyday not driving a tractor and haying.

Lets say for kicks and giggles that the president was running on some kind of platform that had to do with farming. He wanted to make some kinda regulation that sounded really good to the city of LA (where no one farms) but the people in Pullman (the farmers) thought it was a terrible idea. We go about this vote in a democratic fashion and what do you know?? The regulation goes into place because LA was the popular vote.

Obviously this was a kinda silly and extreme example but the electoral college exists so crap like that doesn’t happen. It exists so that the voices of the people in Idaho, Wyoming and Kansas are not drowned out by the city of Chicago.

To drive the point home lets talk about the electoral votes assigned to the states. The amount of electoral votes a state receives come from their population count. California has 55 (large population) Iowa has 6 (smaller population). California still gets more votes for more people. It just doesn’t get a million more votes. Iowa has to have several other states in its corner to combat California. Possibly as many as ten depending on which states. If you think of the states as people, the majority vote won. Just looking at a map of the final count from this weeks election Trump won more states then Clinton. The reason Clinton won the popular vote is because she won the entire west coast and a large portion of the east coast.

In this election the electoral college setup did exactly what it was supposed to do. It made sure that the big cities didn’t out yell the people in rural areas. People that live in different locations live very different lives and if enough of the rural communities in Montana thought that Hillary Clinton represented them she would have won both the popular and the electoral college. The people in the center of the country didn’t identify with her and that matters. They matter. That’s why she lost.

Obviously I’m not an expert on this subject. But this is how I understand it and I thought maybe it might make sense to someone else presented this way. There have been a handful of other election cycles where the same thing panned out and the electoral vote was not the same as the popular vote. The electoral college served its purpose there too.

We can argue the fairness of this all day long and whether or not its the correct way to elect a president. Since the whole electoral vote was invented to make things more fair for those disadvantaged by numbers I don’t see the argument but I know everyone has different opinions.

Here is another explanation from the New York times that I thought was helpful. To read the article you can click here


Just stop it (opinion)

Today my Facebook news feed was filled with sorrowful posts consisting of basically “the country is doomed because Donald trump won.” Didn’t see much from the other side in terms of gloating (not to say its not happening and celebrating is different from gloating). From my news feed you would have thought aliens had elected Donald Trump because no American would actually vote for him. The fact is 59 million of us voted for him. So where are they all ? Where did they come from? I”m going to tell you (in my humble opinion) exactly where they came from.

My favorite post I came across this morning was a tweet and I quote “If you vote for trump today, make sure to explain to your lgbt+, female, black, latino/a, muslim friends why they don’t matter to you.” This literally made me LOL. The absurdness of this statement was so infuriating that it was hilarious. To all the groups named in that post, (trigger warning) it isn’t all about you.

Is it any wonder that there seemed to be Trump supporters hiding all over the nation? No one wants to be called a racist, islamiphobic or xenophobic. I would not be stupid enough to say that the groups mentioned above never experience any type of discrimination. However, I would place money on the fact that most people that voted for Trump are not any of these things. What are they?

Maybe they are people that want obamacare overturned cause it cost them 100s of dollars a month and they still don’t get good health care. Maybe its someone who has lost there job to illegal immigrants (it happens). Maybe its someone voting the republican platform cause they do not agree with abortion. Maybe its people who have seen the welfare system abused. Maybe its people who don’t think global warming is a thing. Whatever! There are MANY reasons why a person would have voted for Trump and it has NOTHING to do with there transgender co worker!

I went to the polls yesterday and voted what was important to me. What is important to me? Right now in my little family it happens to be jobs and healthcare. So I voted for what I thought was best. I did not have to come home and explain to my husband that he didn’t matter to me (he is an immigrant from South America).

I could have made a terrible mistake at the polls. Time will tell. But one thing is for sure. I am not a racist. I have no problem with the LGBT+ community. I happen to think Latino’s are pretty fantastic and I don’t think all Muslims want to blow up buildings. I would bet that most of the closet trump supporters are like me. Generally speaking kind, hardworking people who are tired of the system and wanted a change. It appeared that the change they wanted might come through Donald Trump. So they jumped in hoping for the best.

59 million people didn’t get up Tuesday morning to vote to hurt peoples feelings. They voted what they thought was best for their country. Now we can argue all freaking day long if it really is best. But stop telling people who voted differently from you that their racist. They aren’t and thats a baseless childish argument.