Wednesday, November 7, 2012

On the Electoral College

"But a government in which the majority rule in all cases cannot be based on justice." - Henry David Thoreau in Civil Disobedience (1849)
 "To secure the public good and private rights against the danger of such a faction, and at the same time to preserve the spirit and the form of popular government, is then the great object to which our inquiries are directed."  - James Madison, Federalist #10

At the time of writing, some conservative friends of mine are freaking out over Obama being reelected, while liberal friends are rejoicing. That's all well and good, but I'd like to address a pretty common complaint I've seen tonight:

"If Obama and Romney are within 160,000 votes of each other, out of 100,000,000, why does Obama have 33% more electoral votes than Romney? The electoral college is unfair!"

This is a good question, as the relationship between the popular and electoral votes are not easily grasped. Instead of explaining the electoral college myself, I'm going to direct you to the most excellent CGPGrey. Watch his explanation, then we'll continue this little conversation!


 

(more after the jump)