Explaining the popular and electoral vote

For the second time in 16 years, a democratic candidate for president won the popular vote, but lost the Electoral College

state-by-state-votes

(CNN) – Hillary Clinton did not lose everything. Secretary Clinton won the popular vote for president and ended up capturing more individual votes nationwide than Donald Trump, by the narrowest of margins.

However, because Trump won the necessary number of Electoral College votes, he’ll become America’s 45th president.

That’s a formula under fire.

Political Analyst David Gergen said, “There are a lot of Democrats, especially, who will question the fairness of the current system of the Electoral College.”

For the second time in 16-years, a democratic candidate for president won the popular vote, but lost the Electoral College, and lost the election.

It happened to Al Gore in 2000.

Three times in the 1800’s, a candidate won the popular vote but lost the presidency because of the Electoral College.

Trump himself, now set to take the oval office because of this strange system, once blasted it, tweeting in 2012, the day Mitt Romney lost: “the Electoral College is a disaster for democracy.”

Under the Electoral College system, in all but two states, a candidate who wins the most votes gets all of that state’s electoral votes.

A candidate can win millions of individual votes in a state like Florida, like Clinton did, and still lose all that state’s electoral votes, because they lost the popular vote there.

So a candidate, like Clinton, whose voters are all concentrated in a few states, won’t score well in the end.

States with smaller populations get disproportionate influence. While larger, more populated states, can sometimes have less influence. What party does that favor?

Gergen noted, “The Republicans would like to keep the system. It works well for them.”

Prof. Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia said, “There is a Republican bias in the Electoral College, simply because, in the modern era, Republicans carry most of the smaller states.”

Why did the founding fathers create this system?

Sabato explained, “They feared mob rule. At the time, when the Electoral College was put into the Constitution, there was no popular vote for president.”

Experts say, like it or not, we’re probably stuck with this quirky arrangement. To get rid of the Electoral College, Congress would have to pass a constitutional amendment. Then, 38 of the 50 state legislatures would have to ratify it. Experts say that scenario is very unlikely.

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