I read with interest and concern Mark Schwiebert’s Nov. 12 column wanting to abolish and replace the Electoral College.
His position is, essentially, the popular vote should determine the outcome of the presidential election. At first blush it seems simple and straightforward. But does he mean whoever gets the most votes? Does the winner have to get to the 50% threshold like we are seeing in Georgia? Every presidential election which lacked a popular majority featured significant third-party candidates. Gary Johnson in 2016, Ralph Nader in 2000, and Ross Perot in 1992 and 1996, are prominent examples of presidential races where the winner didn’t get 50%.
Schwiebert's historical background on why it was established can be debated. But the reality is if we follow his wishes, the disdain for rural America and its disproportionate impact cannot square then with the disproportionate impact of small compact geographic areas with tremendous population densities.
In the 2016 election, Clinton won the popular vote by less than 3 million ballots. There are over 3,000 counties in the United States; she won about 12% of the counties; Trump won about 88%. There are five counties encompassing New York City — the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Richmond. Trump won just Richmond County. Add in Los Angeles and Cook counties and Clinton won by over 2.8 million votes in these counties. Therefore, these six counties accounted for Clinton's popular vote margin for the entire country.
Under Schwiebert’s wish for a popular vote model, why would any candidate ever give us a second thought out here in corn country?