Loyola protest

ADVOCATE PHOTO by Matthew Hinton -- Protesters gathered at Loyola University to challenge president-elect Donald Trump's immigration policies. 

The Electoral College system is an idiotic way to choose a president for a number of reasons. First, at the state level, only two states award Electoral College votes proportionally, Nebraska and Maine. In every other state, the winner — by however large or small a margin — gets 100 percent of the votes. This means that, even if a candidate wins by a single popular vote, he or she gets all of that state’s Electoral College votes. And what this means is that those who voted for the losing candidate might as well not have voted at all, because their votes simply don’t count for anything under this system.

Second, the Electoral College electors are not obligated to vote for the candidate their state’s voters choose. A delegate may opt to go rogue and vote for the losing candidate instead. Robert Satiacum, an elector for Washington State, announced he would not cast his ballot for Clinton no matter how his state voted (it voted for Clinton). The fact that electors are not bound by the vote of their state’s citizens is completely absurd and contrary to the idea of democracy.

Third, the historical excuses for the Electoral College have become anachronistic. Mass media and the constitution have seen to that. Now that information is so plentiful and so readily available to everyone, there is absolutely no need to rely on educated and informed surrogates to do the thinking for the rubes in the hinterland. Slaves were freed in by the Emancipation Proclamation and made full citizens by the thirteenth and fourteenth amendments, thus obviating any need to afford the additional advantage previously given to southern states by the Electoral College system.

Fourth, the Electoral College system is counterintuitive. The person who gets the most votes should be the winner. That’s the way it’s done in every other competition where points are scored or votes counted. In 2000 and 2016, we have seen the candidate who got the most votes actually lose the election. The Electoral College system, in 2000, gave us the George W. Bush administration, a disaster by any measure. The 2016 result could potentially make the Bush administration appear a panacea by contrast. The Electoral College system is an annulment of the democratic principle of one person, one vote. It is well past time to change this system so that the vote of the people actually means something.

Michael Russo


Baton Rouge