Why the Electoral College is Terrible

Why the Electoral College is Terrible

August 24, 2019 100 By Stanley Isaacs


Hi! I am Mr. Beat and I come from the small state of Kansas. t only has around 3 million people, which is still more people than were living in the United States when it first became a country. But yeah, by today’s standards, it’s still small. I’ll come back to that later. This video is about how the Electoral College works. Ok, you know what? Scratch that. This video is about how the Electoral College is horrible. So yeah, this is one of my rare opinion videos and long-time viewers of the channel already know how much I hate the Electoral College but here, finally, is my epic video making the case that the Electoral College should be abolished, or, at the very least, reformed. I’ve been wanting to make this video for a long time. Last summer, I happened to come across CGP Grey. Ok, so I was stalking him. CGP Grey has several fantastic videos about the Electoral College, one completely trashing it, and I excitedly told him I was making a video also trashing the Electoral College. And he seemed genuinely happy that I was making it. I hope that he actually gets to see this but if he doesn’t this video is really intended for the 30 percent of Americans who still think the Electoral College is the best method we have to elect the President and Vice President. Hopefully I change your mind. Hopefully I change your mind. So first, what is the Electoral College? It’s the system of electing the President and Vice President every four years in the United States. It’s described in Section 2, Article 1 and the 12th Amendment of the Constitution. First, in general, the political parties in each state pick these people called electors. They often choose these electors based on their service to the party, and typically these electors are elected state officials, state party leaders, or even people who have connections to their party’s Presidential candidate. These electors can’t be in the United States Congress, but otherwise each state is fairly loose with their requirements. In the 2016 election, the youngest elector was 19 and the oldest 93. There are a total of 538 electors in the entire country, which is a random number the Founding Fathers pulled out of their- alright… I guess there’s a good reason why there’s 538. The 538 number is based off of 100 Senators plus 435 representatives plus 3 for the District of Columbia because heaven forbid we forget them. So it’s partially based on an equal vote for every state, and also based on population. Kansas currently has six electors because it has 2 Senators plus 4 representatives representing 4 districts in the House of Representatives. Together, these 538 electors make up the Electoral College. On Election Day, tens of millions of Americans go to a voting booth and cast their ballots for President and Vice President, except that they are not really casting their ballots for President and Vice President. What counts in the Electoral College are the votes of the 538 electors. Now, these electors usually look at who the majority of their state voted for and vote with them, but still, they COULD vote for whoever they want. When this happens, they are called faithless electors, meaning they cast their vote for someone other than who the majority of their state voted for. This has happened 167 times in American history, and 10 times in the 2016 election. In these states, you can get punished (usually it’s just a fine) for being a faithless elector. However, it’s rarely been enforced, and there are no laws whatsoever forcing electors to vote for who they were supposed to vote for in the other states. Whichever presidential candidate gets the majority of electoral votes wins, so the magic number is 270 out of the 538. In each state, it’s winner takes all. The candidate who wins the electoral votes only has to win the plurality of the vote, not the majority. So the most votes, even if it’s far from 50%. So, hypothetically, let’s say there are 10 candidates on the ballot running for President, and their support is fairly evenly distributed. The winning candidate could squeak by with 11 percent of the popular vote and win the state. Say this is in California, which has nearly 40 million people. That’s 4.4 million people getting representation and 35.6 million people not. Maine and Nebraska have what’s known as the Congressional District Method, which is a proportional representation for the electoral votes. Each district has one elector who votes on behalf of their district. That’s why in 2016 Maine’s map looked like this. So already, just by giving you the definition of the Electoral College, I’m hoping you already realize how terrible it is but in case you haven’t, let me elaborate. First of all, it’s undemocratic. Puppet: But we live in a republic. not a democracy. Crowder clip: Every four years, we hear the words Electoral College over and over again. but we never talk about what a ridiculous and, frankly, undemocratic system it really is. Oh ok. Undemocratic. This is the crux of the argument against the Electoral College, alright? “It’s undemocratic.” Yes. Like they fooled…no that’s by design. The United States has never been a democracy. “The United States has never been a democracy.” He’s so bold with that statement, but I cringe every time I hear it. It’s so utterly wrong. Yes, we have democracy. It’s called voting. Americans do it every two years. Ok, so if you claim we don’t have democracy, then why bother having elections? What is the point? Puppet: We live in a republic. Yeah, but can you even define what a republic is? Puppet: Uh, uh…oh no, you’re not pulling out the dreaded Dictionary again, are you? Why yes I am. A republic is a type of government in which supreme power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by representatives responsible to them and governing according to law In other words, a government run by representatives who have to follow the law. How do these representatives get into office? Citizens VOTE FOR THEM. It’s indirect democracy, sure. But still freaking democracy. Puppet: But the Founder Fathers hated democracy. Well of course the Founding Fathers were not a fan of democracy. I mean, Several Founding Fathers also thought slavery was ok. And they thought that only white, property-owning males, should be the ones to vote. As much of a fan that I am of Benjamin Franklin and George Washington, they were not perfect. And yeah, the United States didn’t become that democratic until years later. When Andrew Jackson became the first President of the “common man” in 1828, a big reason why was because men didn’t have to own property anymore to vote. The 15th Amendment, passed not until 1870, said that men could vote no matter what their skin color is and regardless if they used to be a slave or not. The 17th Amendment gave people the right to vote for Senators. The 19th Amendment, passed in 1920, finally gave women the right to vote. After whites kept finding ways to suppress the black vote throughout the South, the 24th Amendment ended taxes having to be paid to vote in 1964. The next year, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act. to further protections for voting rights. In 1971, the 26th Amendment lowered the voting age from 21 to 18. So throughout American history, laws that were stupid have been changed. And we can change laws that suck right now through new amendments. Remember that a little later. The Electoral College also gives more power to states with less people in them. Puppet: Well duh. Of course it does. The Founders wanted it that way. I don’t care if they did. It’s wrong. Crowder clip: If your state has less people, you have more power. Yeah So yeah, Crowder’s ok with one person’s vote being worth more than another person’s vote. But everyone’s vote should count equally. I am not better than you and my vote should not be worth more than yours. But currently, if you live in Texas, like Steven Crowder, my vote is worth more than yours, because I live in Kansas. Kansas has 6 electoral votes, or 1 for every 500,000 people. Texas has 38 electoral votes, or 1 for every 763,000 people. Or as CGP Grey puts it in his classic video destroying the electoral college: CGP Grey: One Vermonters vote is equal to three Texans votes. and one Wyomingite’s vote is worth four Californians. Puppet: But without the Electoral College, candidates would just ignore the small states They already do. Well, but we’re a republic. Now there’s a common argument that candidates would only campaign in big cities. Candidates would be campaigning in the big…Republicans would go to Tarrant County, Texas Fort Worth, and the suburbs of Houston and Orange County California, and Democrats would go to San Francisco and New York. and a big part of the country would be overlooked. A big reason for this is, you can’t just have candidates pandering to a few big cities. Uh, let’s stop by New York, D.C. Los Angeles, San Francisco, Detroit in the fifties promise them a bunch of stuff, wrap this up and go home. So let’s add all the places they mentioned up, just to be generous. That totals 25.8 million people. The U.S. has 326 million people. Why would candidates only focus on 1/13 of the country? And besides, under the Electoral College, they only focus on swing states, or states that are too close to predict who will win there based on polls. Sure, swing states can change, but Americans who don’t live in a swing state often feel like their voice is not heard. Crowder: Wyoming, they can’t have their vote drowned out by people who are corralled into the big cities. “Wyoming can’t have their vote drowned out by people who are corralled into the big cities?” First of all, people are not corralled into the big cities. They choose to live there for various reasons. Second, votes are not “drowned out.” Votes are counted the same in Wyoming as they are in Los Angeles. There’s just A LOT MORE votes in Los Angeles. Say candidates only focused their campaigns to the top 100 most populated metro areas in the country. Well those cities all have media companies that broadcast to the surrounding rural areas. They would not be ignored. The Electoral College makes it so candidates who represent the minority often get elected. As CGP Grey pointed out, a candidate who gets just 22% of the popular vote can be elected President in the Electoral College system. Puppet: But without the Electoral College you’d still have candidates who don’t get a majority of the popular vote but get elected President. Hey, you actually made a good point there. Puppet: Heh heh heh…hey thanks Cavuto clip: We’ve had 14 Presidents who’ve been elected with a plurality of the vote. That is to say they didn’t get 50%. If we were to go to popular vote only, how long would it be before we had runoffs? I mean, Bill Clinton was elected twice. Never got more than 50% of the vote. Woodrow Wilson elected twice, never got more than 50% of the vote. Abraham Lincoln got elected with 40 some odd percent of the vote. Right. However, ranked choice voting would solve that problem. Also called Alternative Choice Voting, CGP Grey has a great video explaining that which I’ll link here. Oh, and Abraham Lincoln turned out to be a great President, so I think you’re hurting your argument there, bud. Some Electoral College supporters say that it protects our two party system. Without the Electoral College, we’d have too many choices for President? Too many choices for President! Wow, that would be horrifying. I hate choices. I’d rather just have two crappy candidates. Puppet: But people can’t handle more than 2 candidates. They’d have to research the candidates. Sounds good to me. When people buy a new car, they do their research before. It’s not like you just go to the dealership and say “I only want two choices, either a Geo Metro or a Chrysler PT Cruiser.” Right now, Americans often don’t feel like they have a voice due to the Electoral College. The Electoral College actually is responsible for lower voter turnout in states that lean either solidly Democratic Party or solidly Republican Party. It seems that I’ve already changed Crowder’s mind Crowder: It’s a representative republic. We should have terms. We should be changing these politicians regularly. Exactly! It’s called voting. It’s called democracy! Let’s get out that dictionary again and look up the definition of “democracy.” a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives. elected Other arguments fans of the Electoral College often bring up…. That’s how the Founding Fathers designed it. They feared a democracy and wanted a safeguard. Actually, no. Several of the Founders wanted direct elections. The Electoral College was a compromise to make those folks happy. And, again…even if they did design it that way, much of the other stuff they designed has since been changed. It forces a presidential candidate to have appeal across different regions This Slate article says “No region (South, Northeast, etc.) has enough electoral votes to elect a president.” I’m assuming this is based on the fear of a candidate like Abraham Lincoln getting 40% and still winning, completely neglecting the south. Again, ranked choice voting helps solve this issue. That Slate article also argued “a large state gets more attention from presidential candidates in a campaign than a small state does.” But that argument is weak, because large states would get more attention without the Electoral College as well. The Founders could not have foreseen the changes their country would go through in 250 years. The country has become more nationalized culturally. The internet and other mass communications has united the country in unforeseeable ways. The divide today remains rural and urban. But today, less than 15% of Americans live in rural areas. No offense to those living in rural areas, but should you have THAT much leverage over everyone else? What’s one of the real reasons why the Electoral College exists? Well the Founders knew that if the popular vote elected the President, then Northerners would dominate elections and the institution of slavery would be threatened. Why do Americans either really defend or really hate the Electoral College? There’s no way to no for sure, but there is one giant clue. Look at the political leanings of those who support it. They tend to be folks who like Republicans. The ones who usually hate it? Those who tend to like Democrats. Ain’t no George W. Bush supporter in 2000 saying he hates the Electoral College, and there ain’t no Al Gore supporter in 2000 saying he loves it. The same goes with 2016. The most vocal supporters of the Electoral College were Trump supporters, and the most vocal opponents were Clinton supporters. But here’s another example of how the minority actually has the power in the country. Poll after poll reveals that only 30% are ok with the Electoral College. 70% are against it. And they’ve been against for decades. 81% were against it in 1968. Oh, and Andrew Jackson was strongly against it. President Trump is against it. Well he used to be. Why must the minority continue to keep the status quo that the majority hates? Puppet: Minority? Better than a majority. What about mob rule? Well the minority can be just as corrupt as the mob. Anyway, more than 700 proposals have been introduced in Congress to reform or get rid of the Electoral College. There have been more proposals for Constitutional amendments on changing it than any other subject. A big reason why I am making this video now is because we are just about as far from a Presidential election as we can get here in the States. This should not be a partisan issue. This is a common sense issue. The Electoral College is horrible. Puppet: You would say that you Democrat What did you call me? You take that back man. That was really low. Puppet: I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings. Well I forgive you. Thanks for listening to my argument by the way. Puppet: What? I wasn’t really listening. Have I ever told you that we live in a republic? Anyway, remember how I told you Kansas has 3 million people? In the last presidential election, the candidate who won the election had 3 million less votes than the candidate who won the popular vote. Let’s introduce democracy to the United States. Let’s end minority rule. Let’s fix the horrible Electoral College. So what do YOU think? I did leave some arguments out for the sake of time. But feel free to add arguments from both sides in the comments below. One thing that I think the majority of us can agree on is that there needs to be reform. Oops. I said “majority.” If you want to keep the Electoral College you don’t give a crap about what the majority thinks. Ha! You like that sick burn? Anyway, thanks for putting up with another opinion video. I knew many of you already knew my stance on the Electoral College after watching my Presidential Elections in American History series, but I figured I would elaborate in a ridiculously long video, so thank you so much for watching. Oops I forgot some stuff. Thanks to Paul and the Felt Show for helping me make this video. Puppets just make everything better. Be sure to check out The Felt Show on YouTube. I’ve suggested a video to watch by them in the description. Also, thanks to Fernando from the YouTube channel E Pluribus Unum for looking over my script for this one. And finally, and feel free to send this video to Steven Crowder. I’ll see you soon.