Warren and the Electoral College

I have a question. But first, I want to say that the Electoral College, in my opinion, is an undemocratic body that needs to be abolished. There are so many reasons why I am against this archaic body that has chosen our presidents since George Washington.

1. It is unfair for both the majority and minority. The presidential elections of 1824, 1876, 1888, 2000 and 2016 all saw a candidate without the majority vote elected president. Conversely, the winner-take-all system employed by 48 of the 50 states completely ignores the minority voters of those states, awarding all of their electoral votes to whoever won the plurality.

2. Because of the winner-take-all system in 48 states, only the plurality vote in those states matters, meaning candidates target competitive states like Florida, New Hampshire, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Presented alone, that isn’t a problem. The problem is that candidates only focus on those competitive states and ignore the overwhelming majority of the country.

3. Again, thanks to the winner-take-all system and the focus on competitive states, the power of one voter in one state varies greatly from the power of another voter in another state. A voter in Ohio, for example, has more political power than a voter in a noncompetitive state like Massachusetts. For voters in Massachusetts, it’s almost pointless to vote in a presidential election because everyone knows how the state will go. Therefore, the Electoral College is another form of voter suppression, as it discourages voters in noncompetitive states from voting. Another example of how voters in some states have more power than others under the current system is the per capita power of voters in less populous states. A voter in a state like Vermont with a population of 600 thousand is arguably more powerful than a voter in California with a population of 40 million because someone’s vote in Vermont will simply “weigh” more than someone’s vote in California.

4.This next flaw of the Electoral College is highly unlikely to ever be realized, but it’s worth mentioning. Each state already has its slate of electors appointed. If the state votes Democratic, the Democratic slate of electors will be chosen, and the same is true if the state votes Republican. No matter how low or high the turnout in that state is, all of the states’ assigned electors will vote. If only one person in a state voted, however that one person voted would determine the votes of that state’s electors, despite the opinion of all of the other people in the state. Something even more mind-boggling: the 11 most populous states have a combined total of 270 electors, enough to elect someone president. If one person in each of those states voted for the same candidate, 11 people would decide the entire election, even if millions of others in all other 39 states voted for the other candidate.

  1. I’ve just presented to you a detailed list of why the Electoral College is undemocratic.

However, I’m a pragmatist, and I know that the body’s abolition won’t come any time soon. Just consider the process to amend the Constitution: you need two-thirds of both the House and Senate to support such an initiative, and then you need the support of three-fourths of state legislatures. (There is another way to amend the Constitution, but that requires holding a constitutional convention and that’s even more impossible than the first option.) You may have heard of the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC), an agreement among the states to give their electoral votes to the candidate that wins the national popular vote, no matter who wins in their state. This wouldn’t need amending the Constitution because it doesn’t abolish the Electoral College. Instead, it just takes advantage of a loophole. But even this proposal is unlikely to get enough support anytime soon. The Compact can’t be enforced until the combined total of electors from signatory states hits 270 electors. That number is currently at 181 thanks to the support of 12 states and the District of Columbia, but you should take into account that every signatory so far is a heavily Democratic state or district. The state that comes closest to being a “swing” so far is Colorado, and that’s still quite Democratic. My point: this proposal will not garner the support of competitive states because those states don’t want to give up their importance.

So, my question I had: What is Elizabeth Warren trying to achieve by making the Electoral College a top issue?