Presidential hopeful and lifelong Texan, Beto O’Rourke disagrees with abolishing the electoral college (countering Elizabeth Warren’s recent comments), and instead thinks the electoral college votes should be distributed proportionally.
What exactly is that? There are two different methods for proportionality.
First method - you take the winner of each congressional district and award one electoral college vote, and whoever wins the state’s popular vote gets two additional votes. Lets take my state of New York. In the 27 congressional districts, Clinton won 18 of them, and Trump won 9 of them. Therefore, Clinton would get 20 electoral college votes (18 congressional districts + 2 for winning the popular vote), and Trump would get 9 electoral college votes.
Second method - You take the winning percentage in each state, and then times by number of electoral college votes, and then round down. Any leftover electoral college votes would go to the candidate which won the popular vote of that state. In NY for example, Hillary Clinton got 59.01% of the popular vote to Trump’s 36.52%. In that case, Clinton would get 17 electoral college votes, and Trump would get 10 electoral college votes. The two remaining would go to Clinton, making her final total 19.
Both methods are intriguing and present a viable alternative to our current system. I actually like the first one better, because it doesn’t involve people arguing over rounding issues and decimal points.
One thing for certain: it does change the game, and I think O’Rourke is correct about that. It would force candidates to focus more than 20 states during the general election. Hillary Clinton would have campaigned in Texas and Tennessee, and Trump in California and New York. It would also benefit Republicans living in California and New York, and Democrats in Texas and Tennessee. Their would be more of an incentive to vote.
But on the other hand, I do think it would make the campaign seasons go on longer. If more states are in play, then the candidates would need more than 4 months to prepare for the November election. Swing states are swing states because the population within that state are relatively undecided and lacks a comfortable lead.
What do you guys think?
Personally, I am in the camp of: (a) Keep the electoral college, but make the people appoint the electors rather than the political party heads, and eliminate faithless electors on the first round of voting. As in, if one candidate gets at least 270 bound votes, then the election is over. If no candidate gets to 270, then all the electors have to choose between the candidate who got the most electoral college votes or the 2nd most. (b) In order to win the presidency, you have to win the most states AND the popular vote. If there’s a split, then you use the proportional system #1 or #2 to break the tie.