Following the 2016 elections, there was a massive outcry due to the difference in popular vote results and the Electoral College results. There were calls to whiteout Article 2 Section One of the Constitution and its 12th Amendment—the pieces of legislation that establish and regulate the Electoral College. With that said, the outrage at the Electoral College subsided fairly quickly after the first few weeks of the Trump Administration.
This Administration has an odd press strategy that is perhaps not morally sound, but demands respect on account of its efficiency. Their strategy involves completing one egregious action to replace the preceding egregious action so that the people forget about the initial egregious action. Perhaps that is a topic for another article. I say all this to point out that for the past 596 days at the time of my writing this article of Trump’s presidency, we have been far too distracted by his administration’s unethical activity to deal with the crux of the issue, which is whether or not to abolish the Electoral College. In this article, I argue the case for the latter.
In gauging the political climate today, one might make a most accurate observation that Secretary Clinton, President George W. Bush, and the establishment are by far preferred over President Trump, Senator Sanders, and the Anti-Establishment. Do not take my word for it, Charles Koch, the conservative heavy hitter accused Donald Trump of having, “destroy[ed] our free society” with the initial success of his foreign policy i.e, “The Muslim Ban.”
The preference for the establishment can also be seen in the recent primary loss of Abdul El-Sayed, backed by the perceived anti-establishment politician Senator Sanders. Please note that I am not stating my own opinion when I say that Senator Sanders is anti-establishment but rather referring to a more general consensus.
For those of you reading this right now saying “I thought this was about the Electoral College,” be patient, I’m getting there. As much talk as there is about draining the swamp and toppling the establishment when it comes time to vote, why is it that independents and progressive-democrats (with the exception of a few such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York, and Ben Jealous in Maryland) often cannot even clinch primary victories? My answer is that I suspect that these independents and progressive democrats sometimes lack in strategy. It is not necessarily that independents are bad strategists, it just seems that establishment Democrats have too much experience to be out-planned. Here is where the Electoral College comes in.
There are a plethora of factors that go into state-level elections, factors for which establishment politicians have developed strategies, and though there may be many factors at play in national elections, presidential race strategies are mainly organized around the Electoral College and harnessing its power for the candidate’s own aggrandizement. Those with the experience needed to truly harness the power of the Electoral College are those who have spent the most time with it.
The people who have spent the most time with the Electoral College are the establishment, people like George W. Bush whose father dealt with the same system and people whose husbands utilized the Electoral College to attain the presidency like Hillary Clinton. The Electoral College itself is a test to the candidates, a test of the very strategic abilities that they will need in office. Without the Electoral College, the presidency would be a popularity contest based on who can make the most attractive promises. Without the Electoral College, there would be no strategy or skill necessary, to become president, you would only need charm.
The 2016 election was an exception. Trump’s team at different points in the election year consisted of Roger Stone and Paul Manafort. Those two gentlemen are very much a part of the establishment and knew the ins and outs of the system. Roger Stone worked in the New York region of Reagan’s campaign when he carried the state in the 1984 elections. Trump’s campaign team was stacked to the teeth with battle-hardened political minds. Without having made the connection with the two men, Donald Trump surely would not have won the presidency.
What we all need to understand is that those who claim to seek the destruction of the establishment, like President Trump, do not have connections like Paul Manafort and Roger Stone—for the most par—to help them navigate their election and build a strategy for them. The Electoral College serves as a ceiling that separates those who are serious about leading the country to the best of their ability from everyone else. The Electoral College is what allows the establishment, which America seems to love based on its voting record, to stay in power, and when it’s time to shake the establishment, the Electoral College allows for that flexibility too.
My point in writing this article is to challenge you the reader to be wary in calling for the removal of the Electoral College as a Democrat because it has done a disservice to you in the 2000 and the 2016 elections, and for you Republicans to be wary of defending it simply because it did you a good service in the 2000 and the 2016 elections. Dig deep into the recesses of your mind and truly reason with yourself about whether the abolishment of the Electoral College is a wise decision or not.