Charles E. Richardson

An interesting argument about the popular vote, but a moot point

wmarshall@macon.com

There were two pieces published last month in The Telegraph that took an interesting take on the November election results. One was by Miguel Faria, published on Jan. 3, titled: “How the Electoral College kept four California Counties from dictating to the entire nation.”And the other, published Jan. 30, by Rinda Wilson, titled “Why I jumped on the Trump train.

Wilson’s piece wasn’t about the Electoral College, but rather why she decided to vote for Donald Trump for president. However, near the end of her piece she did write, “I just realized that Hillary’s popular vote win could be viewed as entirely from the state of California — a state with over 13 million votes. Take away California and Trump wins the rest of the country, 49 states, by 1.4 million votes.”

I guess you could use that sort of logic, but that opens the door to the reverse, doesn’t it? You just can’t take a state away, can you? Nor can you just make to disappear the 15 other states and the District of Columbia, besides California, that didn’t go for Trump. It’s statistical hocus pocus. And you can’t get a 2.8 million vote lead without having the first 63 million votes, right?

Faria basically used the same flawed logic. His piece quoted an article from a foreign news agency, titled, “Popular Vote: One State Does Not Speak for the Nation,” that said, “Indeed, Clinton did win more votes across the United States by the large margin of 2.8 million. Trump garnered close to 63 million votes, while Clinton won nearly 65.8 million. However, here’s the rub: The numbers show that this entire lead, and then some, came from only one state: California. In fact, most remarkably, the city of Los Angeles alone gave Clinton 1.69 million votes more than it gave Trump.”

Faria then dropped the pin more specifically down to four areas of California. “Alameda County gave Clinton 418,000 more votes, Santa Clara gave her 367,000 more, and the city of San Francisco provided a margin of 308,000. Together with the 1.69 million of Los Angeles, these four alone gave Clinton nearly 2.8 million more votes — almost precisely the margin by which she won the national vote.

Faria also asks the question, “Why would left-wing Californians have the right to dictate what the rest of the country can and can’t do, under what logic, under what political philosophy?” The answer to that question is simple. There is no political philosophy. The Founders took care of that with the Electoral College.

I understand the point they’re both trying to make as they attempt to justify Trump’s popular vote loss, but no justification is needed. The president is not chosen by popular vote. There’s no debate about that, although some Democrats point to the popular vote win with a smidgen of satisfaction. It doesn’t matter, they lost, Trump is our president. He won the only vote that counts.

What I am here to debate is the thought that one area of the country is being targeted for no reason. It’s easy to paint California as the boogeyman to say “look what the Electoral College saved you from?” However, people in California or Michigan or Nebraska or any of the other 47 states have the same privilege and right to vote. We are a nation of diverse ideas and opinions and while we may not share the same opinions as other parts of the country, we must all be ready to defend the right of Americans to exercise basic rights — and one of those rights is the vote.

We haven’t always lived up to our creed stated in our Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

And there are times when we fail even today, but we have to keep on striving to become a more perfect union.

The system the Founders put in place worked as designed. It didn’t matter how many of California’s almost 12 million voters cast ballots for the Democratic nominee, the state only has 55 electoral votes and that’s not going to change.

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