SAN DIEGO, November 9, 2016 — The Democratic Party is still in shock over last night’s resounding Trump victory. Some consolation is being articulated in the knowledge that Hillary at least won the popular vote.
VP running mate, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine said:
“She became the first major party nominee as a woman to be president and last night, won the popular vote of Americans.”
Many Americans do not like or understand our electoral college system. In their minds Hillary’s popular vote victory may be interpreted as a conviction that she is the true election winner.
For this reason, some perspective is in order.
Actually, Clinton did not win the popular vote because we were not taking a popular vote. We were taking an electoral college vote. True, technically she did win a certain nation-wide counting that we call a popular vote but in reality this tally is nothing more than a mere shadow of the electoral college, showing how the votes would look if we were to ignore the states they came from and throw them all into one bundle. However, this was a nation which knew ahead of time that the votes were going to be determined by the states. Knowing this effected the way people voted.
For example, many Democrats in California may not have felt the need to vote for Clinton since they knew California was not a battleground state, but rather, a blue state. In California, Hillary was a shoe-in. Likewise, many Republicans in California, who preferred a different nominee than Trump and wanted to appease their consciences by not voting for him have admitted over Facebook and other Internet exchanges that had they thought their California vote mattered, they might have plugged their noses and marked the ballot for Trump as the lessor of two evils in order to prevent a Clinton victory. But knowing Trump had no chance in California, they were able to have their cake and eat it too. On one hand, they can brag that they never voted for Trump. On the other hand, they would not have been held responsible for a Clinton victory.
The situation was the same in state after state. Nobody in Tennessee or Alabama had doubts that Trump would win. Nobody in Massachusetts or New York had doubts that Clinton would win.
Had our country thrown out the electoral college and decided to go with a straight popular vote, our citizens would have viewed their own votes as being far more important. Nobody knows how it would have come out. Therefore, the so-called “popular vote” that Clinton won does not really tell us anything.
In the face of such elections it is important to review the wisdom of our Forefathers in setting up the electoral college.
We must keep in mind that America was created to be a union of separate states functioning in many ways as their own separate countries, but united for common good such as mutual protection. In this vein, each state individually names its own pick for president. If this were not the case, politicians would do the lion’s share of their campaigning in our most heavily populated areas such as New York City and Los Angeles. The middle of the country could be virtually ignored.
Our country is not called America. It is called The United States of America. That is why we have an electoral college and that is why the ill titled “popular vote” does not matter.
Bob Siegel is a weekend radio talk show host on KCBQ and a columnist. Details of his show can be found at www.bobsiegel.net.