Oct 17 2020
01:20 am

"The electoral college is so out of whack that it is theoretically possible that a candidate could be an electoral winner with only 17.56% of the popular vote", according to an analysis conducted by Charles Wessell, a mathematician at Gettysburg College." This is from Naples FloridaWeekly (scroll down to just below Key Dates schedule graphic).

Also see Math Horizons

You can download a .pdf at Gettysburg College

Hungarian mathematician George Pólya arrived at the same conclusion in 1961. The Polya online voting system is named for him.

BTW: DON'T do the math - your head may spontaneously combust!

R. Neal's picture

The Electoral College may

The Electoral College may have made sense when election results had to be delivered via Pony Express.

Anyway, it was also supposed to be a safeguard against electing a lunatic by having wise and learned men of good ethics and morals keep populist mob rule and foreign intrigue in check.

Or, as Alexander Hamilton put it:

It was equally desirable, that the immediate election should be made by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station, and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation, and to a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice. A small number of persons, selected by their fellow-citizens from the general mass, will be most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated investigations.

...It was also peculiarly desirable to afford as little opportunity as possible to tumult and disorder.

...Nothing was more to be desired than that every practicable obstacle should be opposed to cabal, intrigue, and corruption. These most deadly adversaries of republican government might naturally have been expected to make their approaches from more than one quarter, but chiefly from the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils. How could they better gratify this, than by raising a creature of their own to the chief magistracy of the Union? But the convention have guarded against all danger of this sort, with the most provident and judicious attention.

So, how's that working out for us?

fischbobber's picture

Great point.

And one that one would think more of these so-called right wing constitutionalists would be aware of and endorse.

michael kaplan's picture

It was designed to do what

It was designed to do what it's doing.

Read Black Reconstruction in America: An Essay Toward a History of the Part Which Black Folk Played in the Attempt to Reconstruct Democracy in America, 1860–1880, a history of the Reconstruction era by W. E. B. Du Bois, first published in 1935.

BoB W.'s picture

the whole thing?

Do I really need to read a 762 page book to understand where you're going with "It was designed to do what it's doing"?

Could you please condense that a bit.


R. Neal's picture


BoB W.'s picture


Thanks - The Atlantic article cleared it up for me. I didn't pay attention in my high school American History class. It coincided with my increased awareness of girls!

Mike Cohen's picture

Electoral college

I see where there are problems with the EC.

I also see where going to total popular vote means that a whole bunch of states, including Tennessee, are largely meaningless except for fundraising.

The EC gives each state some meaning.

Maybe there is something between the current EC and the straight popular vote.

Not sure we, as a country, are anywhere near where we could approve a constitutional amendment anyway. We are so damn divided.

Mike Daugherty's picture

The bottom line is that

The bottom line is that electing the President by popular vote is the right thing to to in a real democracy. Every citizen's vote should count equally. Under the Electoral College and our U.S. Senate it does not. There is nothing Democratic about California, with 40 million citizens having two Senators and Wyoming or Alaska with less than one million people having equal representation in the Senate. In the soon to be vote on the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett, the five least populated states with a total population of under 4 million, will have the same clout as the five most populated states with a combined population of over 120 million. That is a flaw in our constitution that needs correcting asap. The President should be elected by popular vote and that will take a constitutional amendment that cannot pass because the least populated states will never give up than unfair advantage in representation. Our constitution needs to be amended to correct the mistakes made in 1787. If it is wrong it is just wrong no matter the 55 white guys that fell short of perfection. The Electoral College and the Second Amendment have long since needed to be abolished.

JaHu's picture

As I see it, eliminating the

As I see it, eliminating the EC might make the states themselves meaningless but would make each voter in the state have a voice, and isn't the election for a president supposed to be more about the people and not so much the states. The way it stands right now, living in Tennessee, my vote can basically be considered a useless waste of time, it doesn't count for anything towards the national scheme of things. As it is, in Tennessee, my vote isn't as important as others if they have a "R" beside their name. This is the same for Democrats and Independents alike. I still vote in hopes that there will be enough Democrats who get tired of their votes not counting and will drag enough of their friends to the polls to make a change.

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