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The ongoing debates (August 2015)  among potential Republican presidential candidates reminded me of a note I posted several years ago. Below is a link to an updated (and hopefully better) version of this note:

How can a retired teacher miss an opportunity for sharing what he thinks he understands better? Feel free to share the above link with all who might be interested, especially students. Comments will be appreciated, as usual.

Ludwik Kowalski, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus,

Montclair State University

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Each state has a certain number of electoral votes dependent on the population of that state. The result is larger population states have more electoral votes, while smaller population states get fewer. Whoever, wins the state in terms of the popular vote gets that states electoral votes. If you win the vote, 51% to 49%, you get 100% of the electoral votes. That means 51% o f the popular vote can get you 100% of the electoral votes.

The problem this can creates is whether one gets 51% or 99% of the votes in a state, one will get all the electoral votes, while the other guy gets none. It is conceivable for one to get a little more than 1/4 of the popular vote and win the electoral vote. One could get 51% of the vote in enough states to win 51% of the electoral vote, while getting 0% in all the other states where they don't get any electoral votes.

One way to work around this is attach each electoral vote, to a specific voting district. Each voting district is then treated like we currently treat states, allowing electoral votes to spit inside states via districts. This better reflects the popular vote while not getting rid of the electoral college, entirely. Now you need at least 51% instead of 26%.

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The question becomes, why did the founding fathers set up the electoral college knowing it can override the will of the people in favor of strategy by those in power?

The answer is America was set up as a republic instead of a democracy. The majority of people are morons, who can be exploited with lies, spin and rhetoric. These same people are manipulated, daily, in the free markets, via advertising. They can also be manipulated to buy political pet rocks if that is the fad.

Say both political parties were connected, at the very top of the food chain; super rich. However, at the middle level of politicians,  they pretend to be enemies with two sides forming. They then use spin and rhetoric to divide the popular vote in ways that look fair but are fixed. The electoral college becomes a way to satisfy the very top, while throwing the masses a bone.

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