To what should we liken the Electoral College? How about another favorite American pastime—baseball’s world series. Because of the Electoral College, the presidential election is different than all other elections in the United States. Other elections are like a single baseball game in which the winner is the team which scores the most runs. But the presidential race is more like the world series. The baseball team that wins the world series does so not by making the most runs in the series but by winning the most games. The winning presidential candidate does not win by receiving the most individual votes (runs) but by winning the best of 50 games (states).
In 2003, the Florida Marlins beat the New York Yankees in the world series four games to two even though the Yankees outscored the Marlins during the series by scoring 21 runs to the Marlins 17. The Yankees decisively beat the Marlins in the two games they won, winning each 6-1. The Marlins, on the other hand, beat the Yankees in four games but only by one or two points. A similar thing happened in 2002 when the Anaheim Angels beat the San Francisco Giants four games to three, while only scoring a total of 41 runs to the Giants 44. And it happened in 1997 when the Florida Marlins beat the Cleveland Indians but only scored 37 runs to the Indians 44.
I could go back through baseball history and show many more years in which the team that scored the most runs during the world series lost the series. But this article is not about baseball. It is about the electoral college, and the three examples I have given are enough to prove my point, that the team that scores the most runs does not always win the world series, just as the presidential candidate who wins doesn’t always receive the most votes. It has happened several times, including the most recent race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
No one seems to complain about the way the world series was set up. No one says, for example, that the winner take all world series rules nullifies all the runs made by the losing team in each particular game. No one complains about the world series rules not being fair. People do complain, however, about the Electoral College.
Granted, the stakes for the presidential election are much higher than the world series.There are are also some good arguments for getting rid of the Electoral College, just as there are good arguments for supporting it. But the rules are the rules. They are in the Constitution. If people want them changed, there are mechanisms for that. The Constitution can be amended, for one. If it can be shown that the Electoral College does not jibe with other parts of the Constitution, possibly a court could rule the Electoral College unconstitutional. Some states have nullified the Electoral College by requiring electors to vote in line with the popular vote.
Meanwhile, whining about the game’s rules will not help anyone win the game. Instead each party, each candidate, needs to focus on game winning strategy and go out and play ball.