Politics Take a Back Burner – Sort of

The election is finally over, and we can return to normalcy now.  Well, as normal as you can get with a noreaster’ on its way, devastation still taking its toll on the northeast, and people still spewing hatred. I think I have had enough of politics for now.  Not only was I subjected to it on the television, and the Internet, and the radio, but from my own daughter. Not much of a surprise that her class chose this time to study how our government works.  Therefore, I got to hear all about our Constitution. A wonderful document, and I wish I was entitled to all of the rights under it, but that is a different topic for another day.  The leap into civics and history made me think about some little known facts. Might as well overdose on the politics, and explain some concepts that might be interesting (or at least my commentary on them I hope will be…)

Just to continue this theme of politics, let us consider the electoral college.  Why did the founders of our great nation design the electoral college?  Well, to begin with, they didn’t think the common man (not woman, as they were still considered goods and chattel) was smart enough to know how to vote. They thought that the non-landowners were too stupid to decide properly and would merely vote for whomever was local and popular. Don’t believe me?  Well, initially, only landowners were allowed to vote, and only if they were white and male.

Need more evidence that the electors didn’t trust the general public?  Each state had to pass its own law stating that the elector must vote the way of the popular vote of that state.  And not all states have passed such a law.  That means that the elector can vote any way he (or now she) sees fit, despite the will of the people.

Now many would point to the concept of losing the popular vote but winning the electoral votes as evidence that the electors are up to something.  However, the way Congress is set up, which determines how many electoral votes a state receives, makes it so that the total popular vote in the country doesn’t make much difference.  It is the popular vote in the state that can, but not necessarily, determine that state’s electoral vote.  Some states even split their electoral votes based on districts.  So, a candidate can win a whole bunch of states, lose the nationwide popular vote, and win the election.  Of course, we saw that in 2000.  Many states are now signing a compact to give their electoral votes to the candidate who wins the nationwide popular vote, but it will not take effect until they have the majority of the electoral votes.  If enough states sign, it will change the face of politics forever in this country.  See National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.

By the way, the only US President to ever win all of the electoral votes was George Washington.

Aren’t you glad you know that?



One thought on “Politics Take a Back Burner – Sort of

  1. Pingback: For Those Of You Who Haven’t Had Enough Presidential Politics … « YouViewed/Editorial

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