The "Russian Influence" Narrative Is An Important Scapegoat For The Electoral College

in politics •  10 months ago

Battleground States.png

If our election was manipulated, then that has much more to do with the way it's set up as a game of all or nothing votes in each state than it has to do with anyone's actions. It is clearly designed to be easily manipulated.

They say Russia employed a company that used highly targeted ads strategically on an individual basis to influence opinion in a few key places that had outsize impact on the election results. For clarity, apparently a few hundred thousand dollars worth of ads and an organized bunch of internet trolls is the entirety of Russia's ad campaign.
What this tells us is not that Russia went to extraordinary lengths to manipulate our election; it shows us that our elections are extraordinarily easy to manipulate, because it looks like they achieved it with a budget easily under $2 million. North Korea could afford that. Iran could afford it 100 times over. If we're worried about our adversaries manipulating our elections, we should make them more resilient.

The problem is that we left ourselves completely vulnerable, likely because our rulers like to manipulate our elections, themselves. But if they don't do it best themselves, then other nations will control the outcomes. Either way, every citizen's electoral power is diminished by the electoral college. Remember: Trump lost the popular vote, and about 40% of people didn't vote at all because they know their votes don't matter. The problem isn't Russia, it's U.S.

Our only hope of restoring rule by the American people to the American people is in reforming our voting system to be less of a game and more of a representation of actual public opinion. What do you think? Let me know in the comments!

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Nevada: 2,940,058
Colorado: 5,540,545
New Mexico: 2,081,015
Iowa: 3,134,693
Wisconsin: 5,778,708
North Carolina: 10,146,788
Virginia: 8,411,808
Florida: 20,612,439
New Hampshire: 1,334,795
Ohio: 11,614,373
Missouri: 6,093,000 (not really a swing state)
Michigan: 9,928,300
Pennsylvania: 12,784,227

Total population of these swing states: 100,400,749

Population of the United States: 325,365,189

Assuming proportions of eligible voters are similar, 30.9% of the population matters.

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Thanks for contributing! I will add that only 50.00001% of each of those populations is required, with no additional benefit for overshooting, so in some ways, only 15.46% of the population matters.

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Over 20% of Clinton's votes came from just 2 states: California and New York. Without them she would have lost the popular vote by over 3 million votes. You highlight 14 states that get more attention than the others because they come first, but votes in other states still matter greatly. With a straight popular vote you would have major population centers deciding the elections, and rural Americans being ignored, resulting in a situation of classes kind of like in the Hunger Games.

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You seem to be confused.

During the primary election, which is not what this post was about, states don't all vote on the same date.

During the general election, which IS what this post was about, states all vote on the same date. But, due to the electoral college awarding all-or-nothing electoral totals for a simple majority, any state whose population is far enough from center to assure a majority for one side is considered "safe" and has no impact on the election game.

The first reason that we wouldn't end up with "the Hunger Games" if we allowed a popular vote for President is that we still have a Bill of Rights which protects any majority short of 75% from imposing that kind post-apocalyptic fascist government on anyone. Seriously, get real.

The second reason is that the Senate still awards two representatives per state, vastly increasing the electoral power of rural states beyond their population weight.

And third, you may notice that I never said anything about a straight popular vote. You are presenting a false choice. It is obvious that we could vastly improve our current system by awarding proportional votes per state. For example, winning California with 70% should award only 70% of California's votes, and the other 29% to the Republican, and the other 1% or whatever to the Green party. Winning Florida with 50.01% should award 50.01% of the votes. In this way, we could maintain the existing electoral balance of rural/urban populations, but also eliminate the "game" aspect of the election and turn it into more of an indication of public opinion and the will of the people.

It could easily be argued that eliminating the electoral college altogether could have a negative impact on the rural backbone of America's economy. But, all I said is that the way the system is set up now is a game that makes us extremely vulnerable to manipulation of marginal populations in marginal states. We can fix that problem in a variety of ways, not limited to a straight popular vote. Try to be a little more creative.