Saturday, February 15, 2020

CNBC explains why the Electoral College exists

When I mentioned how the delayed results of the Iowa Caucuses inspired me to wrote FiveThirtyEight's Primary Project explains how the U.S. primary system evolved and asks if there is a better way, I only told most of the story.  The rest of my inspiration came from seeing CNBC's Why The Electoral College Exists appear among my YouTube subscriptions.  It made me think I should explain how the nominees are selected before I share how the President is elected.  Now that I have, I think it's time for my readers to understand how the United States has such a peculiar way of choosing its Chief of State who is also its head of government.  Watch.

Around 138 million people voted in the 2016 election, but 306 people officially elected the president by using their electoral college votes. Here’s why the Electoral College exists.

The Supreme Court will decide whether Electoral College voters have a constitutional right to cast ballots for candidates who didn’t win their state’s popular vote, the justices announced in an order on Friday.

The justices said they will hear two cases brought by Electoral College voters in Washington state and Colorado who refused to vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016 despite her wins in those states.

Like most states, Washington and Colorado require their electors to follow the will of their states’ voters. But those laws are now being challenged by Electoral College voters who argue that such laws are unconstitutional.

A decision in the matter is expected by the end of June, ahead of the U.S. presidential election in November. The cases are the latest in a string of high-profile disputes the top court is expected to resolve in a contentious election year.

Historically, the faithfulness of Electoral College voters has largely been a formality. In 2016, 10 out of the total 538 electors attempted to cast ballots out of line with their state’s popular vote. But attorneys on both sides of the issue urged the top court to resolve the constitutional question before a crisis emerges.
In addition to the case before the Supreme Court, Virginia's House passing a bill to give its Electoral College to the popular vote winner is another reason the institution is in the news.  I wish it weren't as important as it is, or even still existed, but the video above explains why it was formed and how it was important in putting our country together.  As William Faulkner wrote, "The past is never dead. It's not even past."

Enough politics and history for today.  Stay tuned for the Sunday entertainment feature.


  1. The last word on voting

    1. Well, that video is an improvement over your usual suspect links you use to back up your positions. That written, it still fits with the Ayn Rand quote you posted in response to a post of mine supporting vaccination; it's very Libertarian. Also, it's six years old. I looked at the videos James Corbett has been uploading lately and they're just as fringe and conspiratorial as the rest of the links you post here. No wonder you like Corbett!

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. Save this spam for an entry about food and diet. I'll let it stay there. Anywhere else, like here, I will just delete it.