More on the Absurdity of the Electoral College
A game wherein one team has to score more points to win than does the other.
I was looking at the latest 538 forecast and was looking over the “Weird and not-so-weird possibilities” section.
|Trump wins the popular vote regardless of whether he wins the Electoral College||14 in 100|
|Biden wins the popular vote regardless of whether he wins the Electoral College||86 in 100|
Now, this really should be the issue: what are the odds that a given candidate will win the popular vote.
Indeed, the real issue should be who can win 50%+1 support nationally:
|Trump wins more than 50% of the popular vote regardless of whether he wins the Electoral College||10 in 100|
|Biden wins more than 50% of the popular vote regardless of whether he wins the Electoral College||80 in 100|
But, of course, we have to look at the EC. Overall, the model shows Biden winning the presidency 74 out of 100 times, and Trump 25 out of 100, and a tie is 1 out of 100.
Here’s the breakdown for inversions (as well as for a tie):
|Trump wins the popular vote but loses the Electoral College||<1 in 100|
|Biden wins the popular vote but loses the Electoral College||11 in 100|
|No one wins the Electoral CollegeNo candidate gets 270 electoral votes and Congress decides the election||<1 in 100|
So, a tie is crazy unlikely–it is practically a unicorn, and yet a tie has the same odds at the moment as Trump winning the popular vote and losing the EC. Meanwhile, the chances of that happening to Biden is 11 out of 100.
That really underscores how much the system gives Trump an advantage.
Indeed, as per the above, Trump is only at 14/100 to win the popular vote. That means a chunk of his pathways to winning the presidency (a total of 25/100 as of this writing) are, again, popular vote/electoral vote inversions.
This reminded me of a column I read last night by Jesse Wegman in the NYT: The Electoral College Will Destroy America.
It’s hard to find anyone who disputes that Mr. Biden will win the most votes. This isn’t a liberal’s fantasy. In a recent panel discussion among four veteran Republican campaign managers, one acknowledged, “We’re going to lose the popular vote.” Another responded, “Oh, that’s a given.” The real question is will Mr. Biden win enough more votes than President Trump to overcome this year’s bias in the Electoral College.
This is just an absurd system that is truly difficult to defend.
The panel that the piece references contains the following passage:
ROE: We’re going to lose the popular vote.
DIAZ: Oh, that’s a given. That’s a given.
HANSEN: Yeah, for sure.
DIAZ: I believe if there’s record turnout, Trump can still win because of the power of the Electoral College. There’s still a pathway for him and it’s the pathway that I’ve been talking about forever. Hold the Sun Belt: North Carolina, Florida, Georgia and Arizona. Then, play in the Rust Belt and upper Midwest, [where he would only need to win one of these to reach 270]: Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
The four panelists are GOP were former campaign managers for Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Ted Cruz, and Marcp Rubio.
Back to Wegman:
The Electoral College as it functions today is the most glaring reminder of many that our democracy is not fair, not equal and not representative. No other advanced democracy in the world uses anything like it, and for good reason. The election, as Mr. Trump would say — though not for the right reasons — is rigged.