Balance lacking in Electoral College
In the recent presidential election, a candidate who did not win the popular vote won the Electoral College and the presidency.
This has happened more than I thought.
In the 56 presidential elections since 1788, five (1824, 1876, 1888, 2000, and 2016) — or almost 9 percent — had this outcome.
I pondered whether we might see this outcome even more in the future and came to the conclusion that we very well might.
The division between Democrat (liberal) and Republican (non-liberal) is pretty even nationwide.
Most presidential elections fall within the 55 to 45 percent range for the two parties. That’s pretty small.
However, we seem to be experiencing a clustering of liberal voters in certain geographic areas.
These areas include: the Northeast corridor (from Baltimore-Washington, Philadelphia, New York, to Boston), the West Coast states of California, Oregon, and Washington, urban areas with significant minority populations, and college cities and towns.
As a result, we should expect to see liberals run up the vote (score) in certain areas, but fall short in others.
As it turns out, the margin of victory in the popular vote of the Democrat candidate can be explained entirely by the margin of victory in the city of New York and the county of Los Angeles.
The expression “flyover country” means the part of the U.S. that one flies over while taking a flight from the Northeast Corridor to the West Coast.
A liberal flyer traveling between the Northeast corridor and the West Coast could be forgiven for not knowing that much of the U.S. is inhabited by a majority of non-liberals.
However, it is in “flyover country,” where the non-liberals gain the electoral advantage.
There may be some cultural basis for the uneven geographic distribution of liberals and non-liberals. (Warning: these stereotypes may offend some reader’s sensibilities.)
Liberals may see themselves or be seen as more intelligent, better educated and more sophisticated.
As they are successful in controlling their own lives, they likely conclude that government is a useful instrument to effectively address social issues.
They are also likely comforted by living in areas surrounded by likeminded individuals and be able to enjoy the cultural advantages of more urban environments.
Non-liberals may be seen as less intelligent and less educated.
They are not trusting of the “elites” who want to, in their view, unduly control their lives through government.
They like space between themselves and their neighbors and tend to famously “cling to their guns and their religion.”
They gravitate to non-urban areas.
Given these considerations, liberals could win the popular vote and lose the Electoral College.
To prevail in the Electoral College, liberals would need to transfer some of their large voting margin to areas where non-liberals now dominate.
Unless the nation experiences a migration of liberals to flyover country, the margin non-liberals enjoy in the Electoral College may very well persist.
Gable resides in Altoona. He is an occasional contributor to the Opinion page.