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The worst argument for the Electoral College

The weakest argument for the Electoral College goes something like this:

The top ten states population is about 165 million total. 119 million people counted so far as of today voted in the 2016 presidential election. This is why the electoral college was created. So that the other 40 states matter! Otherwise the candidates just go to where the biggest populations are.
Yeah. Otherwise, we'd have candidates spending all their time in Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio — the fourth, sixth, and seventh-most populated states, respectively. 

Oh. Wait. 

The truth is already this: Kansas never sees a presidential candidate during the general election campaign. New York and California do, a little bit, but only because those are great places to raise funds. Otherwise, they're so solidly Democratic that it's not worth the time or money to bother with them.

What's more likely is this: Abolishing the Electoral College opens up the map. A Democratic vote in Kansas becomes meaningful — it won't be wiped out by the state's winner-take-all method of distributing electoral votes. A Republican vote in New York, similarly, would also be more valuable, for the exact same reason.

Candidates would have to go where the votes are; in a popular vote system, the votes are everywhere. Yes, there are more votes in the cities, so candidates would naturally gravitate there, but smart candidates would think in Moneyball terms, trying to find votes where their opponent might not. So maybe you start seeing smart campaigns target Latinos in Western Kansas and other groups in rural areas, people whose votes didn't really matter under the Electoral College, but might be vital under a popular vote system. 

It's too late to fix this year. But it's not too late for next. 


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Tonight, friends, I noticed a piece of trash on the floor. I bent over at the waist and picked it up, and threw it away.

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Small victories, people. Small victories.

Liberals: We're overthinking this. Hillary didn't lose. This is what it should mean.

Nate Cohn of the New York Times estimates that when every vote is tallied, some 63.4 million Americans will have voted for Clinton and 61.2 million for Trump. That means Clinton will have turned out more supporters than any presidential candidate in history except for Obama in 2008 and 2012. And as David Wasserman of Cook Political Report notes, the total vote count—including third party votes—has already crossed 127 million, and will “easily beat” the 129 million total from 2012. The idea that voters stayed home in 2016 because they hated Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is a myth. We already know the Electoral College can produce undemocratic results, but what we don't know is why — aside from how it serves entrenched interests — it benefits the American people to have their preference for national executive overturned because of archaic rules designed, in part, to protect the institution of slavery. 

A form of choosing the national leader that — as has happened in …

I'm not cutting off my pro-Trump friends

Here and there on Facebook, I've seen a few of my friends declare they no longer wish the friendship of Trump supporters — and vowing to cut them out of their social media lives entirely.

I'm not going to do that.

To cut ourselves off from people who have made what we think was a grievous error in their vote is to give up on persuading them, to give up on understanding why they voted, to give up on understanding them in any but the most cartoonish stereotypes.

As a matter of idealism, cutting off your pro-Trump friends is to give up on democracy. As a matter of tactics, cutting off your pro-Trump friends is to give up on ever again winning in a democratic process.

And as a long-term issues, confining ourselves to echo chambers is part of our national problem.

Don't get me wrong: I expect a Trumpian presidency is a disaster, particularly for people of color. And in total honesty: My own relationships have been tested by this campaign season. There's probably some damage…