American Idol Analogy for How the Electoral College Works


Now, the popular vote is a no-brainer… It’s how many people voted for either Obama or McCain, no special formulas or secret magic riddles.

But how does the Electoral College work? And why the huge discrepancy between the Electoral College result and the popular vote?

This analogy may help, as was stated way back long ago by Ann Coulter:

When you vote for president this fall, you will not be voting for Barack Obama or John McCain; you will be voting for an elector who pledges to cast his vote for Obama or McCain. (For those new Obama voters who may be reading, it’s like voting for Paula, Randy or Simon to represent you, instead of texting your vote directly.)

Got that? More accurately, you send in your sms or phone call, and pick someone (anyone at all!) to become an Idol judge.

When the final performances are over, those picked to become judges choose the next Idol – the viewers no longer have any say in the matter at this point.

And this may surprise you: America does not have to be a democratic nation of the people where the principle of ‘one man, one vote’ is adhered to!

Unbeknownst to liberals, who seem to imagine the Constitution is a treatise on gay marriage, our Constitution sets forth rules for the election of a president. Under the Constitution that has led to the greatest individual liberty, prosperity and security ever known to mankind, Americans have no constitutional right to vote for president, at all. (Don’t fret Democrats: According to five liberals on the Supreme Court, you do have a right to sodomy and abortion!)

Americans certainly have no right to demand that their vote prevail over the electors’ vote.

The Constitution states that electors from each state are to choose the president, and it is up to state legislatures to determine how those electors are selected. It is only by happenstance that most states use a popular vote to choose their electors.

Any state could abolish general elections for president tomorrow and have the legislature pick the electors. States could also abolish their winner-take-all method of choosing presidential electors — as Nebraska and Maine have already done, allowing their electors to be allocated in proportion to the popular vote. And of course there’s always the option of voting electors off the island one by one.

Consequently, under both the law and common sense, the famed “popular vote” is utterly irrelevant to presidential elections. It would be like the winner of “Miss Congeniality” claiming that title also made her “Miss America.”


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17 Responses to “American Idol Analogy for How the Electoral College Works”

  1. jezb1 Says:

    Are you proposing abolishment of the Electoral College? I’ve proposed that before. It seems an unnecessary entity, especially since the electorates have never deviated from their state’s popular vote results, or their district’s popular vote results (as is the case in Nebraska and Maine).

    If presidents were elected by popular vote, George W. Bush would have lost the 2000 election, and I have to believe that America and the rest of the world would be a much better place than it is today if Bush had never been POTUS.

    Popular vote: Bush – 50,456,002, Gore – 50,999,897
    Percentage: Bush – 47.9%, Gore – 48.4%

    Electoral vote: Bush – 271, Gore – 266

    At one point in early U.S. history, the law only allowed white male property owners the right to vote. That would have excluded Asians, amongst many other demographics, from the right to vote. How would that be fair?

  2. Scott Thong Says:

    Hey, come on, I didn’t make any shots at Obama. I didn’t even file this one under the Obama Sucks category.

    All it is, is a short Politics 101 lesson for the vast majority of non-Americans who have no idea what those numbers mean.

    IMHO, Democracy is fundamentally flawed, precisely because it gives everyone an equal vote. People are not equal in terms of intellect, wisdom, decision-making, socio-economic contribution…

    (They are equal in terms of life and right to seek happiness, however. And the value of their souls.)

    Under a pure Democracy, the beggar on the street and the high school drop out and the drug addict selling her body get one vote each. The hard working businessman who, by his own sweat and skill, provides 1000 workers with their ricebowls, also gets one vote.

    Is this fair – to the state of the nation? Should unemployed slackers really have just as much weight in deciding the policies of the nation, when they do not pull their own weight in society?

    Add to that the propensity of the poor, ill-advised and uneducated to breed at a far higher rate. I believe it’s called the demographic bomb.

    But as Churchill said, worst except for all the others…

  3. jezb1 Says:

    “Democracy is fundamentally flawed, precisely because it gives everyone an equal vote. People are not equal in terms of intellect, wisdom, decision-making, socio-economic contribution…”

    A friend of mine brought up the same point prior to this election, ie. “shouldn’t there be a competency threshold for voters?”

    It seems this was the original intent of the Electoral College, since electors are allowed to vote for a presidential/VP candidate different than their state’s popular vote would indicate, so there is a mechanism in place (from the Constitution) to address this issue. Unfortunately, it’s not a perfect process either.

    But, how would one, and who would, determine what that competency threshold should be? It would seem to introduce a whole other layer for corruption and manipulation in the “testing”.

    Furthermore, if the “deemed incompetent” are given unequal representation, how do we prevent their exploitation by the more educated and/or more affluent who prefer them to exist as they are, thus providing a cheap labor pool without rights against their employers, without access to education in order to improve their position in life and, thus unable to contribute more to society?

  4. jezb1 Says:

    “Hey, come on, I didn’t make any shots at Obama. I didn’t even file this one under the Obama Sucks category.”

    You’re right, you didn’t!

    “All it is, is a short Politics 101 lesson for the vast majority of non-Americans who have no idea what those numbers mean.”

    I didn’t realize that was your intent.

    But, for all the flaws of our election process, I like the fact so many people get to vote.

  5. Scott Thong Says:

    So true about the competency test thing… I mean, you need a test or a license to drive a car or own a dog, and you need ID to get a loan or rent a video…

    But you can have children and vote for the future leader without either!

  6. standby Says:

    Someone explain to me the purpose of the “news” media!

    While visiting at Always on Watch, I noticed the following from Wednesday’s Washington Post:

    “At home, Obama must revive an economy experiencing some of the worst shocks in more than half a century. Abroad, he has pledged to end the war in Iraq and defeat al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. He ran on a platform to change the country and its politics. Now he must begin to spell out exactly how.”

    “Now he must begin to spell out exactly how???”

    NOW???

    You mean the guy was campaigning for years and even the Washington Post doesn’t know what he would do once elected? All those debates. All those speeches. All those press conferences (oops! scratch that, he has held so very few) and we don’t know what Obama would do once he’s in office?

    What were all those thousands of reporters doing when they weren’t busy investigating Sarah Palin’s children or Joe the Plumber? Don’t you think they could have asked Obama a question about the economy, Iraq or the Taliban?

    It’s no coincidence that the Dow Jones Stock average dropped a dramatic 486 points on Wednesday with the news of Obama’s election. Uncertainty breeds fear.

    We are in such trouble!

  7. pistil Says:

    The voting public has spoken and chose the most unqualified person imaginable for President of the United States. Then again, the voters were ripe for the winds of change and would have voted for Pol Pot if he were the Dem’s presidential candidate.

    We are now have front row seats to the spectacular failure that will define the Obama presidency. Of course, all abject failures of this regime..er..presidency will be blamed on Bush administration, the main stream media will concur, until they can’t hide the inadequacy of this new administration.

    I’m disappointed that the nation will have to endure this quisling-in-chief for four long years. This could have been avoided, but maybe it IS a good thing. Obama may be revered by low information voters; but they are in for the mother of all buyer’s remorse when they realize that Obama will not direct rays from heaven to erase their mortgage payment and provide them with an O-nation gas card.

    This administration will not be the end of the United States, it will do its damn best to change the fundamental character of the United States and fail – magnificently.

    Today the Dow sank below 400 erasing gains, yesterday hamas rocketed Israel and a chill wind blew in an overcast, rainy day in Philly. A sign of things to come?

  8. direstraits Says:

    Steve Den Best [http://chizumatic.mee.nu/not_the_end_of_the_world] makes some prediction, and I have tacked on to the list some of my own (7-10).

    1. Obama’s “hold out your hand to everyone” foreign policy is going to be a catastrophe. They’ll love it in Europe. They’re probably laughing their heads off about it in the middle east already.

    2. The US hasn’t suffered a terrorist attack by al Qaeda since 9/11, but we’ll get at least one during Obama’s term.

    3. We’re going to lose in Afghanistan.

    4. Iran will get nuclear weapons. There will be nuclear war between Iran and Israel.

    5. There will eventually be a press backlash against Obama which will make their treatment of Bush look mild. Partly that’s going to be because Obama is going to disappoint them just as much as all his other supporters. Partly it will be the MSM desperately trying to regain its own credibility, by trying to show that they’re not in his tank any longer.

    6. Obama will not be re-elected in 2012.

    7. The nation of Georgia is toast, Ukraine and Poland should be very, very concerned. The US will boycott the Olympic Games in protest of the occupation of these nations

    8. Myself, along with the posse over at Flopping Aces are looking forward to his coming failures and will point out at every opportunity how his future comments regarding foreign policy are identical to President Bush’s.

    9. Obama is NOT the Anti-Christ. The Anti-Christ has an actual plan and millions of years of experience to call upon. Obama the President can claim NONE of these qualities.

    10. Change is not such a bad thing. Today I crossed over into the light, changing my party registration to Republican.

  9. direstraits Says:

    Four years of an Obama administration should provide much entertainment, in two short years, midterm elections will begin to turn this nation back from the precipice. In the meantime, life will go on, peace movements will have members charged with assault, winter soldiers will continue to smear the reputation of their fellow soldiers, and a new stronger conservative base will rise.

  10. Obama, Obama OBAMA! Says:

    Palin’s abyssmal knowledge

    http://uk.news.yahoo.com/5/20081106/twl-palin-said-africa-was-a-country-3fd0ae9.html

    Sarah Palin did not know Africa was a continent rather than a country, according to information leaking out from the failed Republican campaign.

    Aides to John McCain were shocked by the gaps in the Alaska Governor’s knowledge at briefings after she was announced as his running mate, according to Fox News chief political correspondent Carl Cameron.

    “She didn’t understand, McCain aides told me, that Africa was a continent and not a country and actually asked them if South Africa wasn’t just part of the country as opposed to a country in the continent,” he said on The O’Reilly Factor programme.

    Mrs Palin was also unable to name the countries involved in the North American Free Trade Agreement, which was “a major campaign issue”, Cameron said.

    Infighting over her performance intensified after her interview with Katie Couric of CBS, for which she refused preparation, was widely criticised.

    “It didn’t go well,” Cameron said.

    “She blamed Nicole Wallace, a senior adviser who had worked for CBS with Couric and had organised some of that interview, and then the rift began to really unfold.

    “That refusal of debate preparation caused some problems.”

    He went on: “Afterwards, Mrs Palin began to attack staff and suggest she was mishandled and communicated that to some people within the McCain campaign and outside.”

    Mrs Palin became a nightmare to deal with and started to throw tantrums over negative press, Cameron’s sources told him.

    “The way I understand it, there were times when she would be so nasty and angry to staff that they were virtually reduced to tears.

    “There was throwing of paperwork and things of that nature.”

    McCain staff also suggested to the Fox correspondent that Mrs Palin was a “shopaholic” who bought extra clothes despite the Republican party spending a reported $150,000 on her wardrobe

  11. sandy Says:

    Buyer’s Remorse? Newsweek Honchos Peg Obama’s ‘Slightly Creepy Cult Of Personality’
    http://www.breitbart.tv/?p=214933

  12. Change Says:

    Peter Hitchens tears into the cult of Obama like no one else:

    Anyone would think we had just elected a hip, skinny and youthful replacement for God, with a plan to modernise Heaven and Hell – or that at the very least John Lennon had come back from the dead.

    The swooning frenzy over the choice of Barack Obama as President of the United States must be one of the most absurd waves of self-deception and swirling fantasy ever to sweep through an advanced civilisation. At least Mandela-worship – its nearest equivalent – is focused on a man who actually did something.

    http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2008/11/the-night-we-wa.html

  13. Change Says:

    Peter Hitchens tears into the cult of Obama like no one else:

    Anyone would think we had just elected a hip, skinny and youthful replacement for God, with a plan to modernise Heaven and Hell – or that at the very least John Lennon had come back from the dead.

    The swooning frenzy over the choice of Barack Obama as President of the United States must be one of the most absurd waves of self-deception and swirling fantasy ever to sweep through an advanced civilisation. At least Mandela-worship – its nearest equivalent – is focused on a man who actually did something.

    I really don’t see how the Obama devotees can ever in future mock the Moonies, the Scientologists or people who claim to have been abducted in flying saucers. This is a cult like the one which grew up around Princess Diana, bereft of reason and hostile to facts.

    It already has all the signs of such a thing. The newspapers which recorded Obama’s victory have become valuable relics. You may buy Obama picture books and Obama calendars and if there isn’t yet a children’s picture version of his story, there soon will be.

    Proper books, recording his sordid associates, his cowardly voting record, his astonishingly militant commitment to unrestricted abortion and his blundering trip to Africa, are little-read and hard to find.

    If you can believe that this undistinguished and conventionally Left-wing machine politician is a sort of secular saviour, then you can believe anything. He plainly doesn’t believe it himself. His cliche-stuffed, PC clunker of an acceptance speech suffered badly from nerves. It was what you would expect from someone who knew he’d promised too much and that from now on the easy bit was over.

    He needn’t worry too much. From now on, the rough boys and girls of America’s Democratic Party apparatus, many recycled from Bill Clinton’s stained and crumpled entourage, will crowd round him, to collect the rich spoils of his victory and also tell him what to do, which is what he is used to.

    hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2008/11/the-night-we-wa.html

  14. jezb1 Says:

    Some of these voting demographics may surprise you. Some probably won’t.
    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1108/15471_Page2.html

  15. ichibankenshi Says:

    Abolish the Electoral College, because it “Always” votes as the election goes?? I guess a similar analogy would be to stop caring a spare tire because you never have tire problems.

    We are not a Democracy, we do not make decisions by mob rule, 51% of the people do not get to tell 49% of the people what to do and how to do it. We are a Constitutional Republic where the powers of the government are chained by that same Constitution or contract which is what it really is. In essence, in a democracy the rights of the many outweigh the few, in a Constitutional Republic the rights of the few outweigh the many.

    The Electoral College is just one more of those infamous checks and balances that the framers of our Constitution and Government had the foresight to install for all of us. You really think all the bozos in Congress could do a better job?

    The quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin I think says it all: Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. A Constitutional Republic is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote! (paraphrased)

    Abolish the Electoral College? I DO NOT THINK SO!

  16. Change Says:

    Just When You Thought The Times’ Op-Ed Pages Couldn’t Get Moonbattier..
    Can I see a show of hand from those who understand why the Grey Lady’s stock and subscriber base is in the prison yard port-a-potty?
    http://www.stoptheaclu.com/archives/2008/11/23/just-when-you-thought-the-times-op-ed-pages-couldnt-get-moonbattier/

  17. simon thong Says:

    In Malaysia, we don’t vote for a President. We have a Prime Minister, and he is the leader of the ruling party; correction, he is the leader of the party with the largest no. of parliamentary seats in the ruling coalition. It’s another version of democracy, Westminster style.

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