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Since the results of the 2016 election, a meme has been floating around.

Basically, it’s a thumb your nose moment from conservatives stating that THEY hold the true values of the United States and that their way of thinking and voting is a much more accurate reflection of the way the country should be.

But, is it, really?

As we know, Hillary Clinton won the Popular Vote across the country, meaning that she was voted for by more Americans than her opponent. But, because of the configuration of where those votes were, the Electoral College stated that she did not win, and her opponent would assume the presidency.

There are two points that need to be made about this map to put it into context. The first is that the Electoral College seems to be a problem. But I have a couple of suggestions as to why we have issue with it. The first is that Electoral College vote distribution needed an update to properly reflect the population.

Here’s how it stands right now. The state with the smallest population, Wyoming, with just over a half million citizens, has been assigned three (3) Electoral Votes. South Dakota, a state that also has three (3) Electoral Votes, has a population of more than eight hundred fifty thousand, or roughly 350K more than Wyoming. It seems like it deserves at least one or two more Electoral Votes than Wyoming, doesn’t it? Compare that to California, the state with the most Electoral Votes: 55. With a population of over thirty-eight million (38 M) people, we should expect that Electoral Vote total to be closer to at least 130 and possibly a little more. I mean, if we're going to be fair and base this on where in the country people live, that only makes sense, right? Of course, we would have to change the number to win from two hundred seventy (270) to a higher total as well, but that’s easily done and again, in the name of creating a ballot that truly reflects the will of the people.

But, here’s an additional tweak that really should be brought to bear.

Even though the population determines the number of Electoral Votes any state receives, they get those votes whether their population votes or not.

That shouldn’t be the case.

We know that a bit more than forty-seven (47) percent of the population did not vote in the 2016 election. But their states still receive the same number of Electorates. How does THAT make sense? The number of “popular vote” ballots cast in each state should be reflected by the number of Electoral Votes permitted to vote on behalf of that state in the Electoral College.

Think about it. The point is in REPRESENTATION. If the number of Electoral Votes cast by any state remains the same no matter how many (or how few) people vote, that gives a completely inaccurate tally of the voice of the citizens of this country. Electoral Votes are being placed on behalf of people who did not vote. That is, in my view, the biggest overlooked problem with the Electoral College and the entire process of how it works and why people perceive it as completely unfair.

Tweaking the vote to base it on number of ballots received will also mean that everyone’s vote actually will count, and in a direct correlation way to how the results will be presented. Suddenly, a state like Colorado, with its nine (9) Electoral Votes could out vote Georgia’s fifteen (15), because they turned out the vote with many more ballots cast. Then it becomes a real battle to make sure every state has everyone voting so they can retain their Electoral Votes and will get their fullest representation. And this would have the added benefit of practically preventing voter suppression. In this configuration, no matter who the population of your state votes for, it relies on people who actually vote to determine if you get Electoral Votes.

How would the vote have gone if we weighted the Electoral College balloting based on actual number of voters per state? I’d have to do the math to figure it all out, but no matter what, I know it would be a more equitable result, based on who actually voted, and the results really would produce a case where you could truly say “If you didn’t vote, you can’t complain.”

But there’s another element about this map that I think is just as important and maybe goes a bit deeper into the psychology of our collective consciousness.

The bulk of the midsection of the country is conservative. The bulk of the south is conservative. And the only blue areas in those wide swaths of red are in or near larger cities. We also have more blue in places where liberal thought is welcome, like in Vermont and Washington.

Here’s the thing about that.

When you live in a rural area, the communities are homogeneous. It’s mostly all white people who have a fairly rigid sense of who they are, what they believe, how they think and where they want the country to go.

Meanwhile, in a city, you typically have people of many different sorts all sharing the same geographic space with you, sometimes in the same block, sometimes in the same building as where you live.

You have to be liberal to be in a city because you know and understand that you are sharing your home with a lot of other people who aren’t exactly like you! Everyone wants to have a chance to live the life that they want. So, what people in cities understand is that you have to leave space for everyone to do that. In a rural or even in a suburban area, that kind of thinking doesn’t enter because people who are different typically do not enter.

If the United States were a vehicle, liberals would be the accelerator, pushing to change things, moving us forward, taking us to a place where all of us can be open, free and able to have the American Dream. Conservatives would represent the brake, slowing or stopping any changes, sometimes even shifting us to reverse as far as where we are going collectively.

The problem is also reflected in the responses we have seen from these two camps.

When Barack Obama was elected in 2008, the basic response of conservatives was to close up shop. There was no protest, but there also was no support from that side. In fact, the brakes were in full effect as every program and bill that President Obama put forth was challenged and sometimes gutted to slow or block any progress.

Now, what we have is a case where the conservatives are shouting they have a mandate, that they are the best, and that liberals have to kowtow to what they want. It’s a difficult situation to negotiate, especially since the race, even by our unaltered standards, was basically a dead heat.

So, the problem really is, how do we connect these Two different iterations of the United States?

The answer is, quite simply, through communication.

Well, it's quite so simple, though. Have you ever tried to discuss political issues with a person who has an opposing view? Depending on the topic, it can get quite personal and emotional very quickly. It often dissolves into value judgments, insults and worse.

And yet, that is the ONLY way we can pull ourselves through this. We are going to get a little personal because these are elements of life that are dear to us. This will become a little emotional because we really do care about these points. But, and I know I’ll get some flack from some people about it, that leads us to the following truth:

Liberal thinking MUST rule the country.

See, you can always be conservative for yourself. If you feel like the direction of the country is too progressive for your tastes, that’s fine. You don’t have to change what you’re doing. Stay exactly like you are, as far as your personal life is concerned. But not allowing everyone else to move forward, simply because you don’t want to change, is not fair.

The problem is in thinking that we are trying to offend the sensibilities of people who don’t always agree with these changes. And that’s the thing that city people understand so much better than folks who live in the less populated areas of the USA. If I can put it in an agrarian way, we are constantly re-potting our plant, adjusting to allow growth. We can’t stay stagnant. That benefits no one. We have to continue to move forward.

Ultimately, we are a nation of many different kinds of people. If we are true to the tenets that the Founding Fathers wrote into those documents we cherish, the Declaration of Independence and The Constitution of the United States, we have to make space for our citizens, ALL of our citizens to live free, to not fear, to have the same opportunities to help themselves and to help their country. OUR country.

That’s the way to Make America Great Again.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 13th, 2016 01:53 am (UTC)

I agree with so much of this. I have nothing useful to add, but I want my voice heard here. :)

Nov. 13th, 2016 06:05 am (UTC)
Thanks for reading and thanks for responding. I guess we'll see how it all goes.
Nov. 14th, 2016 01:23 am (UTC)

Completely agreed. This is a nightmare. I was so moved by Dave Chappelle's monologue on SNL. My community is in protest.

Nov. 14th, 2016 03:56 pm (UTC)
I've been watching the protests in the cities I visited and already I feel like this isn't the same country I was in just a few weeks ago...

What now?
(no subject) - face39214 - Nov. 17th, 2016 02:06 am (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 24th, 2016 03:40 am (UTC)
Just hopping by... and I have to say, this way of voting/counting the votes is neither fair nor democratic.

Democratia means 'rule of the state's people' IIRC, but if not every single vote is counted properly, then something's wrong in the USA.

Now you guys are left with an orange c*nt-face as POTUS who will be joined by all his rich, male GOP Politicians, making the USA a hidden Oligarchy.

I just hope the whole World won't suffer too much from this.

P.S.: Happy Thanksgiving to you over there...
Nov. 29th, 2016 07:32 pm (UTC)
Theoretically the electoral college was put in place to stop demogoguery, with the electors empowered to cast their votes against the majority in their states if their conscience required them to do so. I can't help but pray that "faithless electors" come out of the woodwork on Dec 19. It won't happen, but....

Anyway your argument about recasting the electoral college was very interesting. In our state we elect our electors. So I guess the number of electors per state would have to be based on the number of voters from the previous presidential election. :)

I heard some political commentators talking about why the electoral college is needed. They said, without it, campaigns would only ever go to the populous coastal cities and never visit the rural areas. The rural folks deserve to have some sway even though they are less populous.

But, as a progressive, I do agree that a progressive platform doesn't harm the conservatives who don't choose to adopt those views for themselves. However, the demogogues and fearmongerers have convinced so many people that Terror and Immigration are the same thing. So much xenophobia. (It's also behind the anti-gay and pro-gun lobbies).

Just sitting in my local Ethiopian restaurant the other day, surrounded by Amharic speakers, enjoying the heck out of the wonderful food and gracious hospitality (the owner lives nearby). So sad how afraid people are, too afraid to embrace the wonderful diversity of our country.

The red map above will soon find out that they do NOT have a mandate.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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