Though Boxer claims that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote and that was her reasoning for introducing the legislation, the reality is that the united States is not a democracy, but a Representative Republic, and our founders specifically established the Electoral College to spread things out evenly so that a popular vote did not determine the presidency.
The LA Times reports:
Retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) filed legislation Tuesday to abolish the Electoral College in light of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton winning the popular vote but still losing the election.
Such legislation makes a statement after an election that shocked Democrats, but is unlikely to gain traction with Republicans holding control of both chambers of Congress in a lame duck session.
Her bill calls for an amendment to the Constitution that would end the Electoral College system. Should such a thing pass, the amendment would only take effect if ratified by three-fourths of the states within seven years after its passage in the U.S. Congress.
“In my lifetime, I have seen two elections where the winner of the general election did not win the popular vote,” Boxer said in a statement. “The Electoral College is an outdated, undemocratic system that does not reflect our modern society, and it needs to change immediately. Every American should be guaranteed that their vote counts.”
The presidency is the only office where you can get more votes & still lose. It's time to end the Electoral College. https://t.co/OXZ9vHaIH1
— Sen. Barbara Boxer (@SenatorBoxer) November 15, 2016
Boxer even made reference to Donald Trump in pushing her agenda, something I think we all need to be very vigilant in keeping an eye on him for once he takes office.
“In 2012, Donald Trump tweeted, “The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy,'” Boxer added. “I couldn’t agree more. One person, one vote!”
The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 7, 2012
Well, that’s just too bad Senator Boxer. Everyone knew the rules going into the election. So, to sit and cry over it and demand what is an established method of determining the president is just too bad. Trump now claims the Electoral College is “genius.”
The Electoral College is actually genius in that it brings all states, including the smaller ones, into play. Campaigning is much different!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2016
Call me cynical, but I question the timing of such a statement and believe he actually needs a civics lesson on our Republic as much as Boxer does.
Tyler Durden echoed my sentiments when he commented, “Hillary Clinton had a majority but still lost? It may seem unbelievable and unfair, but really….it’s as fair as it’s been for more than 200 years.”
This isn’t Boxer’s first attempt at pushing the Electoral College out of the Constitution either. She has co-sponsored several bills to repeal the Electoral College, none of which have even been considered. I’m guessing this one won’t be either.
Zero Hedge has laid out a few simple reasons for why the Electoral College work. Here they are:
- A small swing in a handful of states seem to decide the elections. This may appear to be the case, but that’s only when the elections are really really close. We’ve see the colors of the electoral map change dramatically in a short space of time. In 1964 the entire map was blue. In 1972 the entire map was red. Whenever an election is close, by definition a small percentage of the population decides the race.
- The system forces candidates to address people across the country. If polling were nationwide a candidate could theoretically sweep regions with large populations and win the nation-wide vote. This would basically leave rural America at risk of being ignored.
- The marginal balance shifts to smaller states. In a national wide system a candidate could win heavily in a few heavily populated states and in the process ignore voters in less populated states.
- Population and demographic changes are taken into account over time. Look at California, for example. For many years the state accounted for less than 5% of the Electoral College. Over the last few decades the population has increased sharply and now California is more than 10% of the Electoral College. Similarly, Texas and Florida have become more important in recent years. New York, on the other hand is less important than it used to be.
- Minority matters. The election we’ve just witnessed is a case in point. It rarely happens, but from time to time a candidate wins enough states to obtain a victory in the Electoral College. Democracy is not about 51 people getting their way all the time and 49 people always losing. If year after year 49 people lost while 51 won over time the 49 would lose faith in the system. They could become effectively disenfranchised and systematically abused. From time to time the minority needs a break! They need to get their turn at the helm for the good of the greater whole. Much as I don’t like Donald Trump, maybe, just maybe, he’ll really fight for the minority that elected him and America will really be better. Or maybe he’ll turn out to be a disappointment and a disaster. If so, then so. At least the minority can’t argue they didn’t have a chance.
- States have rights. America is one nation, but one nation composed of 50 individual, sovereign states, each of whom can determine its own affairs. If the people of Maine want to divide their Electors proportionally instead of winner take all, that’s their choice. If the people of Alaska want to legally bind their Electors to vote according the will of the majority, that’s their business and their right.
- The College Provides A Safety Valve. There are 21 states at the moment where Electors can break from the popular will. Almost never do Electors vote as anything other than a proxy for the results of the electorate. But maybe, there will be a day when we will thank ourselves that possibility of Electors overriding the electorate exists.
For more on why this is a bad idea, I suggest reading Publius Huldah’s excellent article titled National Popular Vote: Goodbye, Sweet America.
One thing to be thankful for right now is that Senator Boxer is soon to retire.
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