- Is the Electoral College (EC) fair? At first look, it appears not. If a candidate can win the popular vote but lose an election, then all votes are not equal.
- However, we do not live in a democracy (one person, one vote), but in a republic (where representatives vote). Federal legislation is passed by Congress (and signed into law or not by the President). E.g., as individuals, we did not vote on ObamaCare. Passing Federal legislation is (basically) a three-step process.
- We elect our representatives.
- Our representatives write bills.
- The President signs the bills into law.
- As almost always, there's more than one way to look at things.
Case in point -- the 1960 Baseball World Series when the Pittsburgh Pirates (PP) defeated the New York Yankees (NYY) -- or did they?
The series went like this:
| Game || PP || NYY || Series |
| 1 || 6 || 4 || 1-0 |
| 2 || 3 || 16 || 1-1 |
| 3 || 0 || 10 || 1-2 |
| 4 || 3 || 2 || 2-2 |
| 5 || 5 || 2 || 3-2 |
| 6 || 0 || 12 || 3-3 |
| 7 || 10 || 9 || 4-3 |
| Totals || 27 || 55 ||Huh? |
- That's right folks. The PP won the series (electoral vote) 4-3, even though
they were outscored by over 2 to 1 (lost the popular vote) 55-27. Tough loss for
the NYY for sure. NYY fans can bemoan the unfairness of losing the world series
while outscoring the PP until Doomsday and it will do them no good. The PP won by
the rules -- and that's that.
- I know what you are thinking: "Yes, but winning Baseball's World Series requires
winnning more than one game. There is only one election." Well, not really. There are
50 states (plus D.C.) that vote independently. Each has its own rules regarding voting times,
early/absentee voting, whether the winning candidate takes all the electoral votes for that state, etc.
So, in that sense, there are 51 elections. The President is then elected by adding up the results
of the electoral votes of all 51 elections.
- Electing a President is also a three-step process.
- We vote.
- Our state determines how the electoral votes get carved up between the candidates.
- The electoral votes get added up.
- The EC was designed to be a compromise between:
- Congress voting for President
- a popular vote election
The idea was to have a system that help offset (but not necessarily prohibit) major population centers
from always deciding the outcome of Presidential elections.
- Should the EC be replaced by a popular vote? You decide.
- A couple of references: