I suspect polling on the question of the EC probably falls along Party lines, and why wouldn’t it? It’s how the GOP ended up in the White House the last two times they did. Republicans know that their appeal to voters as a party is in decline (1).
Another interesting point is that we have to go back to the 1800s to find the only other times when the EC chose a president the voters did not. (2)
As the above linked video shows, Trump used to hate the EC until he loved it. It’s pointless to address this contradiction except to point it out and to let it speak for itself and for who he is.
And as the linked video also shows, John Boehner’s spokesperson, Michael Steel, is making the argument that the founders gave us this system and that eliminating the EC would mean candidates would pay little to no attention to small states.
My response is simple. So what?
One person, one vote means just that, doesn’t it?
Of course the president should care about everyone. To that exact point, there are greater concentrations of people in urban areas. In a system where the popular vote elects the president, of course candidates will do what they’ve always done, and that’s to chase voters and their votes needed to win. If that means urban areas and large population centers, so be it. They still have to motivate Americans to show up on election day, and they still have to inspire Americans to vote for them.
More candidate visits to southern CA and fewer to Madison, WI, is, in my view, better for democracy. And, let’s be real. In this day and age, residents of Madison, Anchorage, and Burlington, VT, don’t need to have a candidate visit their quaint Rockwellian diners for those Americans to know what the candidate is proposing.
IMHO, the EC is a zero-value-add step in the electoral process. And if 2016 wasn’t evidence of the EC failing in their mission, there never will be one.
As Alexander Hamilton writes in “The Federalist Papers,” the Constitution is designed to ensure “that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.” (3)
I also wish that some Americans – mostly, in my view, conservatives and Republicans – would also stop with what looks like actual religious worship of the founders.
So what if the venerated founders set down the EC? It’s 2019, and it’s embarrassing to see adults seemingly worshiping and even attributing divine intervention and influence to the thoughts and actions of rich, white, slave-owning men of the 18th century. They were colonial oligarchs, and they weren’t perfect.
Perhaps these very same founder-worshipers haven’t noticed or have chosen to ignore that there are 27 Amendments to the Constitution. Changing how the government operates – including how officials are elected, vis-a-vis the 17th Amendment – has happened before. Why can’t the presidential election be a popular vote? (Even better, why can’t it be ranked choice voting? (4) )
Candidates know how to do math. They do it now. It seems to me that Republicans should be bragging about how Trump “won” because he actually went to more places than Clinton. He even went to some places that Republican strategist, Ryan Williams, called “head scratchers.” (5)
Oh. Wait. That’s right.
They aren’t bragging because he lost the popular vote by 3 million votes.
What Republicans also fail to mention in their vilification of “coastal elites” is that every city also has Republicans living in them, and that not all cities on the coasts.
Fun facts for the fact-averse Republicans:
4 out of the top 10 largest cities – Houston, Phoenix, San Antonio, and Dallas – are in red states (6), and the 25 cities reported with the largest percentage of growth are all in red states except two, Bend-Redmond, OR, and Greeley, CO. (7)
Seems that Republicans should have nothing to fear from a popular vote if they truly believe that they have policy ideas that appeal to large numbers of Americans.
They also should be advocates for making voting easier and more inclusive for all Americans if they don’t fear voter participation.
They should also be confident enough in the value and broad appeal of their ideology and their policy ideas to agree that democracy should be about total votes cast for the president regardless of the state in which they are cast.
The president is supposed to represent people, not states.
(1) “America hits new landmark: 200 million registered voters”
(2) “Presidents Winning Without Popular Vote”
(3) “The Reason for the Electoral College”
(4) “Ranked Choice Voting / Instant Runoff”
(5) “Where have Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton spent their time?”
(6) “Cities and metropolitan areas of the United States”
(7) “These 25 cities are seeing a huge boost in residents as population grows”