Do you support the system that elected Donald Trump President with a 304-227 Electoral College win in 2016? Do you believe Hillary Clinton’s 4 million vote win in California that gave her a national majority despite losing the other 49 states by a combined 2 million votes have made her the President? Would you prefer dividing each State’s electors proportionally, a system that we calculate would have resulted in a 263-263 tie between Clinton and Trump in 2016 (see table below)?
On Saturday, June 26th at 4:00 PM Eastern Time, you are invited to join an event with Deliberations.US and their event partners for a discussion of how we elect the President of the United States. Advocates for each approach might include:
ELECTORAL COLLEGE. Take Back Our Republic’s case for keeping the Electoral College as-is can be found in these posts in NewsMax and The Hill, as well as this podcast (44:15 mark). The Electoral College prevents Presidential candidates from focusing only on the wealth population centers. This is a safeguard against Hillary Clinton’s 2016 mistake of ignoring the Midwest en route to losing Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania to lose the Electoral College 304-227.
NATIONAL POPULAR VOTE. On the other side, The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact argues that the overall popular vote should determine the President, meaning the legislators of the 30 states whose people voted for Trump in 2016 should have passed legislation awarding all their electors to Clinton for winning the national vote.
PROPORTIONAL ELECTORAL COLLEGE. The compromise offered by Harvard’s Dr. Lessig during the Equal Citizens interview with Pudner is that the Electoral College should stay in place, but with each state’s electors proportionally awarded based on the overall vote. While TBOR still believe this gives candidates too little incentive to visit the “fly over” states, we do admit the compromise fixes some of the problems with a National Popular Vote, such as states like California refusing to check Voter’s IDs (despite 70 percent of Americans supporting Voter ID requirements). When we ran the model to determine who would have won in 2016 using this model the result was very interesting - a 263 to 263 tie based on these state-by-state results:
This model assumes a candidate gets the number of electoral votes from a state that results from the calculation of the percent vote they won in the state ROUNDED to the closest full vote. (e.g. 33% of the vote in Wyoming should equal one of the three Wyoming electoral votes, and since Clinton’s 22% there is closer to 33% then to 0%, she rounds up to one Elector and Trump’s 68% rounds to 67% needed for two Electors).
The only state in which the rounding yields too many votes is Michigan, where both Trump and Clinton round up to 8 votes a piece and Johnson rounds up to 1 vote to give 17 total Electors. Since the state only has 16 electors, we gave Trump 8 and Clinton 7, since Trump won the state, and Johnson the remaining Elector.
Under this system, 17 Electors around the country are not tied to any candidate because extra votes for minor candidates round the major candidates down. In a state in which an Elector is not awarded, we assume the State Legislatures choose additional Electors who would support the Party Nominee of the same party.
Under this model we assume the legislatures in Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas and West Virginia would have picked 10 Trump electors to go along with the 253 Electors won through proportional state votes for 263 total.
On the flip side, the legislatures in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maryland, New Mexico, Virginia and Washington were assumed to pick seven Clinton electors to go with her 256 Electors won through proportional state votes to give her 263 as well.
Gary Johnson is awarded 10 Electors (2 from CA, plus 1 each from FL, IL, IN, MI, NY, OH, TX and WA).
Evan McMullin receives one of Utah’s electors.
Jill Stein receives one of California’s electors.
WIth both Trump and Clinton needing seven more Electors to become President, this leaves a number of scenarios.
If those totals held and neither had 270 after the Electoral College voted in each state, then the election would be thrown to the House of Representatives, with each State Delegation casting one of 50 votes, and Trump winning easily.
If Johnson could release his 10 Electors and, as a former Republican Governor, instruct them all to vote for Trump instead of him, and they did, then Trump would project to win 273-263 before the Stein and McMullin elector chose.
In the actual election, Clinton’s team did convince two Texas Electors obligated to Trump to switch their votes, so perhaps her team could have one over a few more votes to take the Presidency.
Our preference in the Deliberation would still be for the current Electoral College system, but …
Regardless of who you wanted to win in 2016, which system do you support for future elections? The current Electoral College system backed by Take Back Our Republic? The National Popular Vote proposal? Or the compromise proportional Electoral College system advocated by Dr. Lessig?
Please join the hour long deliberation to talk through these or other options for electing our President, and perhaps you will win others over to your view or modify your own view.
Sign up at Deliberations.US/Join-the-Conversation.