Is the Electoral College Antiquated?
As most of us “libtards” are aware, Trump lost the election last time around, only to be overruled by the Electoral College.
Hillary won the election by 2,868,686 votes, 65,853,514 to 62,984,828. Then, of course, the Electoral College turned that around and declared Trump the winner, 304 to 227.I’ve been in and around presidential elections since Kennedy-Nixon back in 1960. (I was a high school senior, primarily working to get out the Republican vote in Mesa, Arizona.) In the aftermath of that and several elections since, there’s been an outcry to eliminate the Electoral College.
The Electoral College was established in Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution. That means it would take a constitutional amendment to eliminate it. Nowadays we can’t even pass an equal rights amendment.
Why Have an Electoral College?
In the beginning, there was a perceived need for the Electoral College. It was put in the Constitution to keep the big dogs [New York, Massachusetts and Virginia] from dominating the smaller puppies [the other 10 states] when picking presidents.
It didn’t even work too well back then. 10 out of the first 11 presidents were from New York, Massachusetts or Virginia.
Of course, democratic voting back then was limited to white male property owners. [Between 10 & 16% of the population.] That’s obviously changed with the times, but the Electoral College is still attached. (And, like your appendix, mostly only noticed when it causes you pain.)
Not counting 2016, there have been several Electoral College pains in the ensuing years:
- (1824) Andrew Jackson won the popular vote, John Quincy Adams won the E.C.
- (1876) Samuel Tilden won the vote, Rutherford B. Hayes won the E.C.
- (1888) Grover Cleveland won the vote, Benjamin Harrison won the E.C.
- (2000) Al Gore won the vote, George Bush won the E.C.
Of the Electoral College winners, only John Quincy Adams has a good rating by presidential historians. (And, he came in at #21.)
In 1964, SCOTUS came out with a pair of “One Person – One Vote” rulings. Unfortunately, they only covered congressional and state elections, not presidential ones.
Could the Electoral College Strike Again?
So, could the Electoral College subvert the vote again in 2020? Well, it’s two years away, (Several lifetimes in “politician years.”) and with the current state of political malaise, nothing can be discounted.
However, the best way to pick up some clues is to see how (or if) the ground has shifted in the states that Trump won last time around. He captured a number of them by very slim margins (but still got all their E.C. votes).
Like all presidents, Trump got a honeymoon as his administration began. He started off with a net positive approval rating in 38 states. Unlike other presidents, his honeymoon ended pretty quickly.
According to the majority of polling in the last few weeks, Trump’s popularity has dropped to the middle to upper 30’s percentage-wise. But how does that relate to Electoral College votes? Fortunately, “Morning Consult” took a snapshot of his current popularity, state by state.
We’ll skip the states that didn’t give their Electoral College votes to Hillary. If you want to delve into those, click the last link. If you’re just interested in a brief summary, Trump is even less popular than when he lost them.
Since there are still 30 states to look at, I’ll break them down into groups. Also, to keep this simple, I’ll concentrate on their net approval [approval minus disapproval] ratings. The first number will be Trumps ratings as of January, 2017. The second number will be his ratings as of late August. The third number will be the difference between the two.
(The groupings are a bit subjective in a couple of cases, but the results are not!)
Slave State Trump Approval (165 E.C. Votes)
I’ll start off with the old South. They are far more conservative (and less educated) than the rest of the country. In other words, prime Trump territory! Normally, a conservative president, (or even a “so-called” one) should be flying high with these voters.
Let’s see if that’s true.
- Alabama: +38; +30; -8
- Arkansas: +30; +12; -17
- Florida: +22; +5; -17
- Georgia: +18; +7; -11
- Kentucky: +34; +15; -19
- Louisiana: +31; +25; -6
- Mississippi: +34; +23; -11
- Missouri: +19; +5; -14
- N. Carolina: +18; +2; -16
- S. Carolina: +25; +14; -11
- Tennessee: +33; +20; -13
- Texas: +20; +5; -15
As you can see, if the election were today, Trump would probably still win. However, what’s interesting is that in a section of the country that should be an easy win for Trump is edging closer. His average net approval ratings have dropped over 13 points since Inauguration Day.
Bread Basket Trump Approval
Next we come to the “Heartland.” The middle of America has been ripe for Republicans the last few decades. Trump won it, hands down!
Can he do it again?
- Indiana: +22; +8; -14
- Iowa: +9; -7; -16
- Kansas: +24; +8; -16
- Nebraska: +23; +6; -17
- N Dakota: +23; +6; -17
- Oklahoma: +34; +11; -23
- S. Dakota: +21; +14; -7
A bit more volatile down on the farm. Probably has something to do with tariffs, among other factors. Iowa drops out of the “Win Column,” and overall there’s an average drop of almost 16 points.
Rust Belt Trump Approval
This is an area of the country that feels somewhat abandoned. The good times of full factory employment are receding in the rear view mirror and people are hurting. Last election they seemed to think Trump was the solution. Actually, he was a prime example of the problem. Even his MAGA hats are made in other countries.
He needs the Rust Belt, but does the Rust Belt need him?
- Michigan: +8; -9; -17
- Ohio: +14; -4; -18
- Pennsylvania: +10; -4; -14
- Wisconsin; +6; -12; -18
- W. Virginia: +37; +27; -10
Currently, it looks like three Rust Belt states that went for Trump look unlikely to make that mistake again. West Virginia is still Trump territory, but by 10 points less. Overall, he’s had an average over 15 points.
Mountain State Trump Approval
This region roughly corresponds to the Rocky Mountains. And, yes I know that there are no Rocky Mountains in Idaho and Arizona, but they’re in the general region. Also, I put Alaska in this group. (They had to go someplace and they have two major mountain ranges.)
- Alaska: +24; +7; -17
- Arizona: +20; +2; -18
- Idaho: +29; +16; -13
- Montana: +24; +3; -21
- Utah: +27; +0; -27
- Wyoming: +40; +28; -12
All of these states went for Trump in a big way. However, the higher the altitude, the more severe the fall. AZ & UT are now basically tossups and the overall average plunge is 18 points.
Counting all 30 of the states that gave Trump its Electoral College votes, he’s down by an average of 15.1 points.
The 2020 Forecast
As I said earlier, it’s two years away and nothing can be discounted. However, while most politicians would make some changes in the way they operate in order to boost their ratings, Trump seems to have an aversion to changing what passes for his mind.
Instead, he tends to double or triple down and cater almost exclusively to his “Bubba Tudum” base. And, while that may keep him afloat in the south and a few other states, that won’t be nearly enough to capture the Electoral College the next time around. Plus, it’s quite likely that by then, he may have changed houses from “White” to “Big.”
p.s.: If my ramblings don’t revolt you, check out my FaceBook page (“Grouchy’s Grumbles”) you might just enjoy it. Better yet, you might “like” it. I’d love it if you did. It’s free (and worth every cent) and almost completely painless (other than the usual bad jokes).
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