Take a breath before trashing Electoral College
With Hillary Clinton winning the popular vote but Donald Trump being elected president of the United States by virtue of his Electoral College count, doing away with the Electoral College has been a big part of the whinefest that has dominated the country since Nov. 8.
On the face of it, there is a simple argument that speaks for making the popular vote the determining factor in the presidential election.
But don’t assume the outcome of the popular vote would have been the same if that were the criteria for electing a president.
Trump would have campaigned much differently – and so would all candidates if the popular vote were the only determining factor for the presidential election.
He and all other presidential candidates would concentrate their campaigns to the urban areas of the country, where more votes exist in a relatively small area.
States such as Iowa and New Hampshire that play such a pivotal role in the presidential campaigns would lose their importance.
Consider our own state of Pennsylvania. The rural regions already suffer from limited attention. They would get no attention under a popular vote presidential election system.
All that courting of voters in corners of Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Florida that was so important to Trump’s success would not matter.
And once in office, a president-elect would find it politically expedient to shade issues attention to those matters that tend to benefit the most heavily populated areas rather than the things that benefit all of America.
The reason we are certain this would occur is that we have watched the same scenario played out in Pennsylvania on issue after issue in campaign after campaign decade after decade.
There is a reason we are called the United States of America.
Each state matters, big and small, with each harboring cultural nuances that are supposed to carry weight.
While Clinton won the popular vote by less than a percentage point, a look at the map of the country showing which candidate carried each county would reveal that Trump carried about 85 percent of them.
The preferences of the overriding majority of the country’s geography should matter also.
On the surface – especially following this election – the popular vote for a presidential election seems to make sense.
But a move to a popular vote for a presidential election would eliminate the importance of each state, which is big part of what makes America’s democracy special.