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Abolish the Electoral College

| April 21, 2019

abolish electoral college

One person, not necessarily as many votes. (Shutterstock)

Senator Elizabeth Warren is hell-bent on dismantling the systems that feed inequality in this country, including the Electoral College.

“Every vote matters,” she said at a recent CNN town hall. That’s why we should “get rid of the Electoral College” and institute “national voting.”


Americans don’t directly elect their president — states do. In most cases, states award all of their “electoral votes” to the candidate who wins the popular vote in those states. Whoever gets 270 electoral votes wins the election.

Because electoral votes aren’t awarded in perfect proportion to population, small states get more influence over the outcome. Which means you can win the electoral vote even while getting fewer popular votes than your opponent.

Abolishing the Electoral College would level the playing field. It would ensure that people, not parties or mechanisms, determine who leads the country.

Is that so bad? If you’re a Republican, yes.

The Electoral College helped the two most recent Republican presidents — Donald Trump and George W. Bush — win office despite losing the popular vote. Bush lost the popular vote by over half a million, Trump by nearly 3 million.

No wonder Republicans are now up in arms about protecting their advantage. After all, the Electoral College gives disproportionate power to smaller, rural states, which tend to vote for them.

For instance, red Wyoming gets one Electoral College vote per 195,000 people. Blue California gets just one per 712,000 people. In other words, your vote counts nearly 4 times more if you live in Wyoming.

“Swing states” that don’t vote the same way each election also wield disproportionate power, since even a narrow winner will get all of their electoral votes. That’s why candidates spend so much time at diners in small-town Iowa and Ohio, rather than New York or Alabama, which vote more predictably for one party.

other-wordsSeems to me all Senator Warren is calling for is a country that respects its citizens enough to let them choose their own leader — and to do so without some centuries-old electoral mechanism initially designed to inflate the political influence of slaveholders.

Perhaps the most insincere response to Warren’s proposal was National Review editor Rich Lowry’s.

If the Electoral College “is tantamount to disenfranchisement,” he wrote, “California could immediately mitigate the problem by splitting its electoral votes by congressional district the way Nebraska and Maine do… Of course, California is loath to give up any of its solidly Democratic electoral votes.”

I’m sure California would gladly split electoral votes by congressional district the way Nebraska and Maine do, on two conditions.

First, the Supreme Court would have to vanquish partisan gerrymandering to prevent presidential elections from being infected with the same dysfunction currently befalling congressional elections.

And second, the rest of the country would have to agree to divide their electoral votes by the same methodology.

But Lowry doesn’t suggest that, because it would spell doom for Republican second place finishers. Were the roles reversed, you can bet your bottom dollar Republicans would be clamoring for an end to this deeply flawed system.

Abolishing the Electoral College is unlikely in the short term. But that doesn’t mean Americans have given up on the idea of a direct popular vote.

Fourteen states and D.C. have joined the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC), agreeing to give their Electoral College votes to whoever wins the national popular vote. Colorado, Delaware, and New Mexico are the latest to join the compact, bringing their collective electoral vote total to 189.

Similar legislation has passed one legislative chamber in eight more states, comprising 72 Electoral College votes, and has been unanimously approved at the committee level in two states, comprising 27 more.

They’ll need 270 votes to ensure the winner of the national popular election wins the presidency. Right now that’s more likely than a constitutional amendment requiring overwhelming bipartisan support.

Still, there’s no getting around the real solution: Abolish the Electoral College so the candidate with the most votes wins.

Robert P. Alvarez works in communications at the Institute for Policy Studies.

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30 Responses for “Abolish the Electoral College”

  1. Alice Manthey says:

    That means that the states of CA, NY will elect the president and the votes in states like WY and MT won’t matter. That’s why the electoral college was set up in the first place.

  2. Anonymous says:

    It’s not bad if you’re a Republican, just ask Killary!! LMAO

  3. Pcmerry says:

    Large urban areas will determine the outcome – there will be no need for folks in small states with no large, heavily populated city make their state’s votes even count. Not fair.

  4. John DeWitt says:

    I guess it could also be viewed another way. Ronald Reagan was the last Republican to win California. California gets 55 electoral votes which is 20% of the 270 needed to win the Presidency. So Republicans don’t waste their campaign dollars trying to win voters only to come up just a little short. Imagine someone wins California by one vote. That candidate gets 55 electoral votes making that one vote as important as 20% of all voters in the nation. Likewise, electoral votes are apportioned based on census counts. The census counts everyone including citizens, legal residents who can’t vote, and even illegal immigrants. So California packs it state with illegal immigrants and ultra liberal policies. This gives them the added advantage of motivating conservatives to leave the state. Then they get probably 5-7 extra electoral votes because the census makes no distinction on voting status. I say bring it on. As long as we play by one set of rules, Republicans can compete nationwide for the popular vote. New York and Illinois are also packed with illegal immigrants. This makes total sense to me. Even if not one single person voted unlawfully, the massive population of illegal immigrants clustered in Blue states are skewing the election results because they give their states more electoral votes. Also, let’s pass a balanced budget amendment. If we the people have to truly pay for all the government we demand then we the people will demand less from government. While we are at it, let’s have a primary where everyone votes for any candidate regardless of party. If one person gets over 50% of the vote they win the whole election. Otherwise we have a runoff for the top two vote getters. It is conceivable they could both be Dem or Rep. That way we don’t let either party nominate their most extreme candidates where we end up getting only two shit birds to choose from in the general

  5. Traveling Rep says:

    Get a grip! We are a CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC. Not a democracy. Our founding fathers in their infinite wisdom decided that mob rule would not be the modus operandi of these United States of America. Be well comrade!

  6. Mark says:

    That’s easy to say if you live in a big state. Should New York and California be the only states choosing the President and Vice President? I think not. Seems lopsided. It’s worked for all these years, why change it? If one party doesn’t like the results then let’s change the rules? I think not. Remember there could be negative unintended consequences, like civil war, one party running the nation, etc. Look how well the nuclear option is working out for the Dims. How about the party come up with some helpful ideas and win the electoral college like so many have done before them.

  7. Unreal says:

    Please don’t try to be like the mainstream media and become a liberal pundit! The Electoral College INSURES the smaller states have an EQUAL vote in the Election process! The votes are to provide states lacking in population the SAME weight as those who have huge population. Without the Electoral College states like New York, California, and Chicago would decide EVERY ELECTION – which is what the Democrats want. Nothing would insure the complete imbalance in the elections!

    How can you advocate for that? And I am willing to bet if California and Nrw York suddenly became RED states, no one would be advocating for this! This is pathetic and beneath anyone’s dignity. Stop trying to create an imbalance of power!!

  8. Veteran says:

    Go to popular vote and the big cities elect the president. Always a Democrat. Another way to look at it is if the democrat in CA wins by one vote he gets all of the 58 electoral votes while the republican in WY wins by one vote he gets 3 electoral votes. Electoral college gives the small states a voice, which is why the founders created it.

  9. Douglas says:

    Like with all Left-leaning half-truths, this article purports to have the best interest of the country at heart. That is either a blatant lie or factual stupidity, because what it suggests is that Mob-Rule is the only fair way to make sure every vote counts. However, if the Electoral College were abolished, (and it never will be in our current political climate) the only votes that would count are those of the most populous states.

    According to Wikipedia’s entry on the populations of each state, as of 2018, there are approximately 330 million people in the United States. That means a candidate could win the Presidency by securing the popular vote of states totaling 165 million. Now, obviously, the underage can’t vote, and many citizens don’t exercise their right to so. Assuming the percentages of young and non-voters were consistent across all 50 states, the only states that would matter are those with the largest populations; California, Texas, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina, Michigan, and maybe New Jersey. That means the votes of the 39-40 other states would be irrelevant. Candidates won’t even bother with the 25 least populous states, because there’s just not enough votes to there. California alone has more people than the bottom 20 states combined.

    The Electoral College was conceived to keep this exact thing from happening; To keep the more populous areas from imposing their values on the rest of the country. To make sure the farmer’s vote counted as much as the Gender-fluid, PC, Woke San Franciscan’s. The writer of this article is clearly still mad that Hillary lost and points to the national popular vote total, screaming that out current President is illegitimate. Well, HRC did win the popular by nearly 3 million votes, but if you throw out 1 state (California) and it’s warped values, Trump won the popular vote by nearly 2 million votes.

  10. Virginia Markowski says:

    Whoever is for this must be some kind of stupid! Think about it….HRC suposidly won the popular vote in NY and CA….take a look at the condition of just those two Democratic run states. The poverty and crime alone is enough for me to lose sleep thinking about it. And you want those two states to choose our President??? Really??? If so, you really have lost your ever loving minds!!!

  11. Realist says:

    Only the uneducated would advocate for this. It will never happen but if it did, places like Wyoming, the Dakotas, etc would never see a presidential candidate. New York and California would elect the president. The whole rest of the country would be held hostage to liberal views that most abhor. Fortunately the population is beginning to shift as clear thinking people are fleeing these liberal/democratic hellholes.

  12. Richard says:

    Level WHAT playing field? What Pocahontas is stating is that every DEMOCRATIC vote counts and the hell with all of the Republican votes. Anyone that has even an ounce of common sense would understand EXACTLY why the Electoral College was formed. If the Democratic idiots in Washington abolish the Electoral College there will most definitely be a Civil War but it won’t be the The South against the North it will be the Donkey Asses against the smartest pachyderms on this planet.

    Who in their right mind would want the state of California where most of the loonies live plus the state of New York where all of the Rich people tax the hell of out the blue & while collar workers AND the state of Illinois where the wind blows through their brainless heads control the entire country as to who becomes our president? NOT ME!

    And it is obvious to me that the author of this article is a full blown Democrat who is a strong follower of Pocahontas.

    Not on MY watch!

  13. Pogo says:

    @The Electoral College is a racist relic – abolish the Electoral College now.

    The foundation of equal representation and equal protection
    https://www.google.com/search?-b-1-d&ei=naa9XLetMI6Rggeuu6q4DQ&q=one+person+one+vote&oq=one+person+one+vote&gs_l=psy-ab.3..0l10.35065.42592..44539…0.0..0.118.814.6j3……0….1..gws-wiz…….0i71j0i13j0i7i30.6i7UgmtKNuM

    Wake up. Pay attention. Abolish the Electoral College now.

  14. Cantfoolme says:

    romanhart@me.com
    Wake up!! If the Electoral Vote is done away with the large
    States will always elect our President, leaving the rest of the states
    Without a voice!! This is precisely why our Founding Fathers did it this
    Way. Look at the map from 2016 & you will see how many states went for
    Trump & Hillary carries just a few! You are making it appear the Republicans are
    Against the popular vote when it’s the Democrats who want to change
    The playing field! And only legal citizens should be counted in distributing
    Electoral votes, thus taking away the advantage of states like California & New York! Who use illegals to give them greater electoral votes! STOP WANTING TO CHANGE THE RULES IN THE MIDDLE OF THE GAME!

  15. Jane Gentile-Youd says:

    Heaven forbid a mob vote… If we are that stupid we could become another Venezuela – or Cuba or worse.

    I agree with ‘Realist’, ‘Virginia’, ‘Douglas’, ‘Veteran’,’Unreal’, ‘Mark’…., ‘Traveling Rep, ‘John’ , ‘ Alice’ and PcMerry. Both parties are in a mess but we don’t need to destroy what’s left with total ignorance and stupidity.

  16. Tulip says:

    On the surface, popular vote should win, and I used to think that until I began really paying attention to the subject after the 2016 election. I definitely agree that ALL parties should be able to vote in the Primaries nation, state and county wide. However, the reasons given by people responding to this article as to why there should be electoral vote are very valid and correct. The only way I could think to make it more “fair” would be to either Increase the amount of electoral college votes for smaller states a bit more and Decrease the amount of votes for the larger states somewhat and maybe get rid of the “half” votes in the states that have it. People nowadays are constantly moving around the country I am not a political scholar so maybe this sounds naive, but it’s only my thought.

    If Donald Jackass Trump doesn’t get voted out of office, the electoral college issues will be the least of our concerns during his next four years of tyranny.

  17. Pat Block says:

    Aside from the fact only the metro areas deciding our countries futures, just imagine a recount. What a horrible idea!

  18. MR G says:

    the founding Fathers have it correct stop with trying to make cali & ny the 2 states that decide who is our president … such foolish talk …..sore losers .

  19. Bill says:

    The undoing of the electoral collage is a sure way of making sure many VOTES DONT COUNT. a simpler solution would be for ALL states to go this route >>>In all but two states, electoral votes are ‘winner-take-all’. The candidate winning the popular vote normally receives* all of that state’s votes. Maine and Nebraska have adapted a different approach. Using the ‘congressional district method’, these states allocate two electoral votes to the state popular vote winner, and then one electoral vote to the popular vote winner in each Congressional district (2 in Maine, 3 in Nebraska). This creates multiple popular vote contests in these states, which could lead to a split electoral vote.

  20. Kim says:

    Seems like the only ones complaining on this are Republicans. I believe every vote matters. The way it is set up now is not fair and makes people not want to vote cause they feel that their vote wont matter. I say go for it and stop your whining. If your candidate is the best for the job then they will win plain and simple.

  21. Tulip says:

    To Kim: I used to agree with your last sentence in your post until I realized that once people began thinking that their state or vote didn’t matter that much, they would not vote or pay too much attention to whom is actually running on what platform. People are already lazy about voting and hat would definitely give the bigger states total control of who wins, and, therefore, more control of our USA.

    I am an Independent so I feel that Independents in every state should be allowed to vote in the primaries. I admit I did not vote for a President in 2016 because they were both terrible candidates in their own way, but I like the freedom of voting my choice and not what a political party tells me I should vote for. There are good and bad candidates in both the Rep and Dem parties.

  22. Sherry says:

    “States” should NOT be electing Presidents, “individual” citizens should be. The Electoral College is nothing but a relic of the past that we have all out grown. Not everyone in a state thinks or votes the same way. Each and every vote from every verified citizen should be counted EQUALLY.

  23. The original woody says:

    This would’t be a topic if crooked Clinton won.

  24. Randy Jones says:

    Traveling Rep is spot on. You want MAJORITY RULE? Consider if you will the fact that a few years ago the MAJORITY of voters in California voted to ban same sex marriage. Well, because of our form of government the SCOTUS said NOPE!, the majority does NOT rule and they overturned the will of that MAJORITY. So for those of you who want MAJORITY rule be prepared for the majority to RULE in ALL maters.

  25. Agkistrodon says:

    I guess if One cannot win, they can always Change the rules so they CAN win. These people are not for the “country”. They just want CONTROL. SAD.

  26. snapperhead says:

    What other election does a candidate win with fewer votes than their opponent? Name one. Using the “logic” some Republicans regurgitate I’m guessing Florida, and every other state, should change it’s voting system for statewide offices to an electoral based system so those MOBS in urban areas like Miami, Orlando, Tampa etc don’t rule the state. And majority rule is so bad let’s change the legislative process so bills with less than 50% of support from legislators pass as laws. Of course Republicans don’t want to change to a popular vote for President.They’ve only won the popular vote once since 1988. Let that sink in….ONCE in over 30 years!

  27. Bill says:

    If you want to eliminate the electoral collage, amend the constitution. I’m sure that will work out just fine. LOL

  28. Richard says:

    I will bet the deed to my house that every post here wanting to eliminate the Electoral College was written by a Democrat who is still pissed off that Trump won and Crooked Hillary who colluded with the Russians did not. Once AG Barr is done investigating the REAL truth to the 2016 election the Demorats will be trying to dig up whatever skeletons they can find besides their own. Maybe they should look into their OWN closets FIRST.

  29. Steve says:

    Abolish the Electoral College. Anything other than popular vote is a miscarriage of our voting rights.

  30. Chris says:

    The Dems are still frustrated that, despite all of their efforts to harvest large groups of illegal, uneducated and dead voters in the large coastal states Hillary still lost. They thought that the low hanging fruit was a better pick. Too bad. Hillary lost because she was a horrible candidate and not because of the Electoral College. Or the Russians. Or the Martians.

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