OK, so we can say that Secretary Hillary Clinton won more votes nationwide than did President-elect Donald Trump. Not only can that concession be made, but the concession that she won by 2.5 million votes — hardly a razor-thin margin. So how does one make the argument in favor of keeping the Electoral College, a mechanism built into the very fabric of the original text of the Constitution?
To begin with, I read where one of our esteemed lawmakers in Congress questions the constitutionality of the Electoral College. For real? Dude, it’s part of the text of Article 2, Section 1, of the Constitution: “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress.”
So what portion of the question of constitutionality can be debated before the U.S. Supreme Court to have the Electoral College stricken down as unconstitutional? From what I read, not a single word. But then it is the right of the desperate to crow about such things, even when it makes them look foolish. Far be it from me to wish to encroach on the rantings and ravings of the dispirited.
To do away with the Electoral College would require that the Constitution be amended in such a way that this clause would be repealed. Unfortunately, there are those delusional cases who believe they can actually muster enough signatories to enact legislation having the Electoral College invalidated for all time, the result of which would magically nullify Mr. Trump’s victory. The coronation of Hillary Clinton could then move forward and all would be well as the universe would once again be in order. (Already a Republican member of the Electoral College from Texas says he won’t cast one of his state’s 38 electoral votes for Trump because “I am here to elect a president, not a king.” He cites Trump’s repeated attacks on the First Amendment.)
To truly amend the U.S. Constitution would require two-thirds of both houses of Congress, then ratification by three-fourths of the state legislatures or ratifying conventions in those states. Yeah. Just figure the odds of that happening.
I also read a letter to the editor in which a supporter of Mrs. Clinton was disenchanted because he or she felt that his or her voice was stifled by this “winner-take-all” scheme employed by the state of Texas. The premise was that since Mr. Trump took only 4.6 million votes and Mrs. Clinton garnered 3.8 million, “3.8 million of us who voted for Secretary Clinton got none of these [34 Electoral College] votes. Not one.”
Even if we did a district-by-district or proportional assignment of votes, there would not be enough votes to get her to the 270 electoral needed to win nationally.
For what it’s worth, the Electoral College was put in place for a reason and woe betide those who monkey around with a process that has endured and kept us democratic for 240 years.
The problem is that when the colorful election-results maps are seen as a whole, only part of the story is told. The county-by-county tally maps show a much more impressive picture of what actually happened the night of Nov. 8. There is a noticeably redder hue to that map than the state-to-state depiction. For the most part, the Democratic voters prevailed in seaboard areas — populations concentrated on the California coast and Atlantic seaboard. However, the American Heartland — the wide-open spaces between the two — are regions where blue-collar workers, farmers, ranchers, oilfield hands and laborers ply their trades making an honest living. And that region was markedly devoid of Democratic blue.
For the most part, the vista seen on that map is enough to demonstrate that those in the mid-section of America would not be too keen on the coastal dwellers having more of a say than they do. More people may live in those few concentrated areas along the coast, but there are many other areas of interest in the interior of our nation.
There are 3,083 counties nationwide. Of those, Mr. Trump won 2,597. That leaves Mrs. Clinton with 486 counties. That is probably the greatest teller of the tale that can be shown. With reference to the letter I cited before, in Texas, 227 counties voted Republican and only 27 voted for Hillary Clinton.
Where is support for the argument against the Electoral College? It’s certainly not apparent from a county perspective.
Pete Commander is a Navy veteran who lives in Bellmead. He holds a master of arts degree in international relations.