Over the last week or so since the election there's been a particularly pernicious series of stories and Facebook memes floating around about how Hillary won the popular vote (we don't actually know that yet, Michigan STILL hasn't been called and that could change things).
Folks, it's irrelevant. Seriously.
For those who just cannot seem to get this, we do not, and never have had a national popular vote for president. We have a series of 50 state races to determine the electors who will actually vote for president. In all but two states, Nebraska and Maine, the winner gets all of them.
In point of fact, it's not even required that a state allow a vote for president at all. The Several States are given the authority in the Constitution to determine how they select electors and how those electors will vote.
There are good and sufficient reasons for this. The Founders were not stupid and knew that direct democracy was a bad idea. That the tyranny of the masses was no better than the tyranny of a despotic king. They were also aware that if a popular vote were used to select the president, then a handful of populous states or urban areas would determine who won — and rural citizens would be completely disenfranchised.
Here's the thing, the Electoral College has its flaws — no doubt — but it does ensure that a candidate can't just campaign in a handful of big cities — where roughly 55 percent of the population lives — and win. Wisconsin has a mere 10 electoral votes, and yet the election more-or-less turned on that small state. Yes, it's annoying for those of us in reliable states like Kansas, because we are more-or-less ignored by the candidates.
You don't like that? You're a Democrat in Kansas or a Republican in Illinois? Get out and win converts. Get people to the polls, make your state competitive again and candidates will come and campaign — as they will next cycle in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan. All once reliably blue states. But eliminate the Electoral College and trust me, Missouri, your votes really won't matter Los Angeles and New York City will decide who wins.
And while we're at it, Lord, please? Can we start teaching civics in school again?
I saw an article this week from a nitwit at the Washington Post, whose name I will not give because he doesn't need any more publicity suggesting that not only should we abolish the electoral college, but we need to get rid of those pesky states and just have a federal and local government.
Because that's a good idea.
We have a federal system for a good reason. What works in New York isn't going to work in Kansas. California, in my opinion, has lost its collective mind but it seems to be what the voters want. But it's not what Kansans want.
The Founders wisely chose a system in which even a strong central government — and there is ample evidence what we have now is far stronger than they would have wished — can only do so much. That its power would be restrained by the collective power of the states. You think Washington overreaches now? Try eliminating the 10th Amendment and see how nuts things get.
Bottom line, our system may not be perfect, hell, it may not even be great, but it's better than pretty much every other system on earth and has served us well for more than 200 years.
So perhaps we should think twice before monkeying with something that works, yes?
All IMHO, of course.
— Patrick Richardson is the managing editor of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. He can be emailed at email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter @PittEditor.