Explaining the American presidential elections

 A presidential candidate can still lose the election despite winning the popular vote


The system to elect the US president is complicated. This system is the combination of popular votes and electoral votes. The popular vote’s means the total votes a candidate gets from across America. The electoral votes mean that each state in America has allotted electoral votes according to its population. Like California has 55 Electoral College while Nevada has just 03 electoral votes.

Electoral vs popular votes

 A candidate that gets the majority of votes casts in a certain state wins all the electoral votes that state has. For instance, if Democratic candidate Joe Biden wins the popular vote in California-he will gets all the 55 electoral college votes. A candidate needs 270 electoral votes out of total 538 electoral college votes to win the presidency. 

That’s why in 2016, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton lost the presidential election despite winning the popular vote against president Trump.  Hillary Clinton got 232 electoral votes while Trump got 306 Electoral College votes and won the 2016 presidential election.

More Americans voted for Hillary Clinton than any other losing presidential candidate in US history.

Hilary Clinton outpaced President-elect Donald Trump by almost 2.9 million votes, with 65,844,954 (48.2%) to his 62,979,879 (46.1%), according to revised and certified final election results from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Clinton's 2.1% margin ranks third among defeated candidates, Andrew Jackson won by more than 10% in 1824 but was denied the presidency, which went to John Quincy Adams. In 1876, Samuel Tilden received 3% more votes than Rutherford B. Hayes, who eventually triumphed by one electoral vote.

In the final count, Clinton surpassed President Barack Obama's 2012 total by 389,944 votes, but narrow losses in key battleground states meant Obama won 100 more electoral votes on Election Day.

Trump's victories in swing states like Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida -- all carried by Obama four years ago -- gave him a comfortable edge in the Electoral College. Still, Trump's claims of a "massive landslide victory" are belied by past statistics, which place his win among the narrowest.

 If all the electors had voted in accordance with their states' results during meetings on Monday, Trump would have garnered 56.9% -- or 306 -- of the 538 available electoral votes. Two defections lowered his final share to 56.5%. Clinton won 232 electoral votes on November 8, but "faithless electors" also brought down her total.

It can happen again in 2020 elections. Biden is certain to win the popular votes against president Trump but he could still lose the elections on the basis of electoral voters. 

How the electoral college was created? 

The Electoral College polarized Americans from its inception. Created by the framers of the Constitution during the 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, the College was put forth as a way to give citizens the opportunity to vote in presidential elections, with the added safeguard of a group of knowledgeable electors with final say on who would ultimately lead the country, another limit on the burgeoning nation’s democratic ideals.

“One of two biggest divisions at the Philadelphia convention was over how slaves would count in purposes of apportioning the House of Representatives," he explains. The issue vexed and divided the founders, presenting what James Madison, a slave owner, called a “difficulty…of a serious nature."

At the time, a full 40% south population was enslaved, and the compromise famously reached by the founding fathers determined that each slave would be counted as three-fifths of a person when it came to dividing the nation into equal congressional districts. The Electoral College, in turn, provided each state with an allotment of electors equivalent to its Congressional delegation (two senators plus its number of representatives). There are 100 senators and 435 Representatives in America.  

Neither women nor white men without property could vote at the time, either—meaning that slavery was not the only factor that made the allocation of the Electoral College out of sync with reality.  “A relatively small number of people actually had the right to vote.

Even though the franchise was long ago extended beyond white, male landowners, to women and black Americans and the way Americans vote has changed radically, the Electoral College remains, a vestige of the country's slave-owning past and anti-populist founding.

How the Electoral College works?

A state’s electoral votes are equal to the number of representatives and senators the state has in Congress. House seat apportionments are based on population and are reapportioned every decade after the census. Every state is guaranteed at least one seat in the House and two in the Senate.

The Electoral College is supposed to guarantee that populous states can’t dominate an election, but it also sets up a disparity in representation. While California has one electoral vote per 712,000 people, Wyoming — the least populous state in the country — has one electoral vote per 195,000 people.

Each state is allotted one elector for each U.S. representative and senator it has. Washington D.C. receives three electors, the same number of electors as the least populous state.

Mostly, electors are nominated at state party conventions and their names are given to the state’s election official.

Voters in each state cast their ballot for the slate of electors representing their choice of presidential ticket. Electors’ names do not usually appear on the ballot.

The slate of electors for the presidential ticket that receives the most votes is appointed and all of the electoral votes for that state go to those candidates (Except in Maine and Nebraska, which each give two at-large delegates to whoever wins the state and the rest to whoever wins in each congressional district.)

A candidate needs to win a majority of 538 electoral votes — 270 — to be elected president. If no candidate wins a majority of electoral votes, the House chooses the president and the Senate chooses the vice president.

In December, in a largely ceremonial gesture, the electors cast ballots for president and vice president and are expected to follow the popular vote of their state. The votes are counted at a joint session of Congress, and the president is officially elected.

When voters casts their ballot for candidate A to elect that presidential ticket to the White House they are in actuality casting their vote for a ‘slate of electors’ that have promised to vote for ticket A.

And in most states the Electoral College votes are not proportionally distributed to the candidate’s tickets based on what proportion of people vote for one ticket or another. The Electoral College is a winner-take-all system: Maine and Nebraska are the only exceptions to this rule of ‘winner-take-all’.

The number of ‘electors’ that each state has is essentially the number of State House Representatives the state has — which is calculated according to the population of the state in question, plus it’s two Senators — all ‘states’ have two Senators.

Several examples are: California, being a large and populous state has 53 House Representatives, plus two Senators so California has a total of 55 electoral college votes Louisiana has 7 House Representatives and 2 Senators and consequently has 9 electoral college votes Texas has 32 State House Representatives and two Senators so it has 34 electoral college votes. Florida has 25 State House Representatives and two Senators that gives Florida 27 electoral college votes. Nebraska and Maine, as mentioned, are the two exceptions. 

                                                               Khalid Bhatti    

 




1 comment:

  1. Popular vote is still with Biden, Trumph has lost so can be a change

    ReplyDelete

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