Re: The Trouble With The Electoral College – Cities, Metro Areas, Elections and The United States

Hello, internet. Let’s talk about this map,
this argument, and the Electoral College in general. In my “Trouble With The Electoral College”
video from 2011, I was wrong to use the city limits
for that part of the argument, rather than the more expansive metro area. The lawyerish nerd inside of me still wants to argue
“technically correct” on that one. I used the city boundaries because
the metro areas are often vague and absurdly large: the New York City metro area is
6700+ mi² over four states, and from where I partly grew up,
it seemed that a lot of that area had nothing to do with
New York City proper. So, at the time,
I disregarded the metro boundaries. But using the strict city boundaries in that video
was the wrong decision in retrospect. In addition to being a bad argument to make, it also doesn’t address
the concerns this map expresses. And this is correct! Half the population
does live in the grey counties. And more than that, the map gets at a fundamental
division in the United States and other countries that leads partly to the politics we see: the difference between the rural and the urban. If trends continue, a higher and higher percentage
of the country will live in urban areas. In another eight or sixteen years,
this map will be even more extreme: the metro areas even denser. Which, if you’re in favour of the Electoral College, will seem like even more of a reason to keep it. Now this is where we must discuss the idea
that the Electoral College ensures the president is elected by the states. It doesn’t. A candidate can win the Electoral College
with just the eleven biggest states This collection may seem unlikely, but as urbanization
and the politics it creates continues, it becomes increasingly likely. The Electoral College doesn’t ensure
the president wins with a lot of states, or even geographically diverse states. Now, “Should the president represent the people,
or should the president represent the states?” is a question without an answer. This is about preference in style of governance. One moves power up to the federal level,
and the other moves power down to the states. And given the vastness of the country
and the difference in her geographies, it’s reasonable to believe that
states with greater power is the better, less divisive solution
to the problem of governance. But the Electoral College
does nothing to help that. It happens to be that recent wins
have been geographically spread, but the Electoral College
doesn’t ensure that outcome. Cram everyone into California,
leaving one person in each state, and the Electoral College says:
“California alone, she decides.” We could have a system where
the president must win a majority of the states, which is what some think
the Electoral College is… but it isn’t. The election only happens
to make it look that way. The protection of the Electoral College
is only an illusion. Even if you still like the Electoral College, though it doesn’t actually
protect the small states, the Electoral College still comes with
the most bitter of anti-republic pills. For even if you win
the election in November, your victory can be taken away
from you in December. The Electoral College votes your state gets
aren’t really votes, but are individual members
of the political parties, who perform the real vote for president in December. No citizen voted for these electors
to cast a vote on their behalf, and many of the electors
are free to vote for whoever they want. Their election in December is the real election. The Electoral College was designed to be able
to overwrite the will of the people, or its own election process, any time enough of a small number of
unknown, unelected political party insiders don’t like the result they got. If you’re in favor of the Electoral College, you have to accept that,
by its own rules, it can take away your victory, under the guise of
protecting you from yourself. This has never happened in American history,
nor should it. But it is crazy to leave in place
for future elections a system that benefits no citizens and protects no states. It’s time to get rid of the Electoral College
and have a real discussion about what a modern government and election system
should look like.

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