Letter to the Editor: Permanence of Electoral College

Letter to the Editor: Permanence of Electoral College

John B. Allen of Alexandria responded to my letter published in the Jan. 26 Gazette. In my letter, I quoted the oath of office for members of the House of Representatives and criticized Congressmen Beyer and Connolly for boycotting the inauguration ceremony for now President Donald J. Trump. I questioned whether their boycott complied with the oath of office in which they swore to "bear true faith and allegiance" to the Constitution.

Strangely, my letter amused Mr. Allen as he stated it made him laugh. He also made reference to the fact that President Trump "lost the popular vote ...". People who refer to the popular vote totals in analyzing American election results show their true ignorance of the system by which we elect Presidents or their sad refusal to accept those results. As everyone who has taken a civics course knows, under the Constitution, the candidate who receives the most electoral votes wins the Presidency without regard to the popular vote. In the recent election, Mr. Trump won 306 electoral votes to Hillary Clinton's 232 electoral votes. When the Electoral College met in the respective state capitals and the District of Columbia, taking into account so-called "faithless electors," Trump won the election 304 - 227.

Here are a few more facts. Mrs. Clinton's entire popular vote "victory" occurred in California where neither candidate campaigned. Mrs. Clinton won California by over 3.2 million votes and Mr. Trump won the rest of the country by over 1.4 million votes. The electoral college method of electing Presidents will never be repealed. Its premise is to make sure states with smaller populations have an influence on the election. As a part of the Constitution, the electoral college method can only be changed or eliminated through approval of an amendment by 2/3 of the House of Representatives and the Senate and 3/4 of the states. Thus, so long as the 13 states smallest in population oppose a change, it will never occur. Those states are, in descending order of population, West Virginia, Idaho, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Montana, Delaware, South Dakota, North Dakota, Alaska, Vermont, and Wyoming. Of course, any collection of 13-plus states will defeat such a proposed amendment.

Mr. Trump won 30 States to Mrs. Clinton's 20 States (and the District of Columbia). Mr. Trump won the majority vote in 2,626 counties while Mrs. Clinton won the majority vote in 487 counties.

Nothing Mr. Allen said in his letter changes my view that once a congressman has been elected, he or she is obligated to represent all of their constituents, not just the ones who voted for them. In so doing, they ought to show respect for the Constitution of the United States including by attending its most important ceremony, the inauguration of a President.

H. Jay Spiegel

Mount Vernon