On the Electoral College

 Some rights reserved by DonkeyHoteyWhen the electoral college and the popular vote don’t pick the same candidates for President and Vice President, many on the losing side are going to be upset.  It only seems right that the candidate with the most votes should be the victor – and for most elective offices in the U.S., it is. It would be for the presidential election, as well, if the country was a pure democracy.

However, if the country isn’t a pure democracy.  If it were, the campaigns would have been run much differently.

Presidential campaign strategies are not based on the popular vote and candidates don’t focus on the popular vote.  They focus on the states they believe can turn the election results, chasing the vital 270 electoral votes for a win.  Other states are essentially ignored.

If the presidential election was based on the one-person one-vote principle, voters in two-thirds of the country, or more, would be virtually disenfranchised. The largest portion of candidates’ effort, money, and time would spent in the highly populated states and regions, bypassing the concerns, problems, and desires of the voters in the rest of this vast nation.

The United States is a republic with a federalist form of government “where the power is supposed to be divided between the states and the central government and neither is subservient to the other. Both are supposed to get their powers directly from the people.1

Under the United States Constitution, each state selects as many electors as the combined total the number of its U.S. senators and representatives.  In addition, the District of Columbia “gets at most the number of electors it would have if it were a state but not more than the number of electors of the least-populous state (currently 3).2

In the U.S. House of Representatives, each state is represented “in proportion to its population as measured in the census, but every state is entitled to at least one representative. The most populous state, California, currently has 53 representatives. On the other end of the spectrum, there are seven states with only one representative each (Alaska, Delaware, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming). The total number of voting representatives is fixed by law at 435.3” The term of office for each representative is two years.  Those states that have more than one representative are divided into districts where each district elects one representative.

The United States Senate is comprised of 100 senators, two from each state who represent the whole state.  The senators for each state serve staggered six-year terms.

Changing the system used for election of the President and Vice President requires an Amendment to the Constitution (Wikipedia).


  1. Darrell Huckaby – Newton Citizen, Newton County, Georgia
  2. Electoral College (United States) – Wikipedia
  3. United States House of Representatives – Wikipedia

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  • Hilary Nov 15, 2016

    Hi Mike – it’s trying to make it fair to one and all … not easy, as we have also found here.

    Thanks for outlining it for us though … cheers Hilary
    Hilary recently posted…Gricer … Get Out and Push RailRoad … Adlestrop poem …My Profile

    • Mike Nov 15, 2016

      Hi Hilary — I thought I knew how it worked before I wrote the post — and I was pretty much correct in the mechanics of the electoral college. I learned, though, on the nuances of the campaign and how the numbers of electors actually play out.
      Mike recently posted…Dear JaneMy Profile

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