High Points: Winners and losers
As this is written we still don’t have a clear idea of which candidate will win the Presidential election, and conversely, which will lose. We do know that, again as of the moment this was written, that Joe Biden has received 72,242,032 votes to the sitting President’s 68,475,408 votes. A difference of THREE MILLION SIX HUNDRED SIXTY SIX THOUSAND TWENTY FOUR votes.
But, as we all also know, who gets the most votes in our democracy is not what matters. What matters is who wins a contrived system for selecting a President known as the Electoral College. And then, of course, who then wins the legal challenges in court to the election.
On five occasions, this could be the sixth, a President lost the popular vote but was elected to run the country based on a victory in the Electoral College. A democracy is defined as something that represents the rule of the majority. One-person one vote and all of that. They with the most votes win, so the idea goes.
But our founding fathers put together a system where a separate group of assigned voters would represent the actual voters in a final Electoral College election. Beyond that they tussled with how these votes would be allocated amongst the states. They came up with the “three-fifths compromise,” which said that slaves, blacks, would count as “three-fifths of a person for the purpose of allocating representatives and electors and calculating federal taxes.” Using this definition they assigned representatives by state for the Electoral College.
Yes, that is the basis for the situation we currently find ourselves in. To change this a constitutional amendment would have to be passed requiring a two-thirds supermajority in Congress plus ratification by three-fourths of the states.
This year Colorado had a ballot proposition, Prop 113, that would allow the state to join the National Popular Vote Interstate compact. 52% of us, a majority, voted to approve it. The vote brings the electoral votes to 196 nationally of the states that have approved, including California, Connecticut and twelve others. For it to become a binding proposition states totaling 270 electoral votes must approve it. Yes, the same number that needs to be achieved to win the presidency.
The system is far from perfect as it stands today, as is the entire voting process. But the fact remains that over 140 million people participated in an election to determine who they want to have lead them and their country into the future. As far as we can tell there was little interference, fraud or malfeasance.
Americans should be proud. They are the winners in this year’s election.
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The COVID-19 pandemic has caused untold amounts of suffering and disruption, and we’ll probably tell those stories for the rest of our lives.