Saturday, November 12, 2016

Random Look At The Electoral College Map -- November 12, 2016


November 24, 2016: at T+15, it's official -- Trump wins Michigan by 10,704 votes. To put that into perspective, Bush II won Florida over Algore by 1,500 votes before the recounts began.

November 21, 2016: father of the electoral college? Alexander Hamilton. 

November 20, 2016: eleven days after Hillard conceded the election to Trump, California is still counting votes.

November 17, 2016: The New York Times provides a map of the "two Americas of 2016." The link is behind a paywall but if you google it, you can get to the story. 

November 16, 2016: why the US will never go to direct voting for electing a president; they will be vetting these fraudulent voters for months; we will never know the "real" number of folks who voted for Trump or Hillary. That's why a spread of at least 1% is generally needed to "call" an election. Less than that, we may get a recount. At a very low spread, a recount is mandated by law. Winning by more than 1% provides a padding against fraudulent voting affecting the outcome. 

November 15, 2016: from a Facebook site --

November 15, 2016: Exhibit A -- why the popular vote will never decide the president of the US. From The Los Angeles Times:

At least 4 million California ballots left to be counted, likely adding to Clinton's popular vote lead. 
So, how many months from now will we know the official count, noting that the Secretary of State needs to certify every voter.

November 15, 2016: I hate to beat a dead horse, maybe a dead, non-thinking Democrat, but not a dead horse, but this is important. That trope, which is now a meme, that Hillary beat Trump in the popular vote is irrelevant (it will eventually proved to be inaccurate, also).

Winning competitors use the rules of the game to their advantage. Whether or not deflated balls made a difference in the Super Bowl game (they did not) someone knew the rules: the balls were tested once before the game but never again. Someone took advantage of that rule.

Likewise, in the 2016 election, the rule was that it would be the electoral college, not the popular vote, that would be used to determine the winner. For that reason Trump wasted no money by competing in states he knew he could not/would not win. He did not compete in California (that's why he lost the popular vote in Orange County) or Illinois (where he would have won if Chicagoans were not allowed to vote twice). He also did not compete in Massachusetts or New York State. He competed in Iowa and won there.

If Americans had decided that this year the popular vote would decide the winner, Trump would still have won. He would have competed in California, New York State, Massachusetts, and Illinois. He would not have gained the plurality in any of those states, but he would have received enough votes beat his opponent when all votes were tallied at the national level. He would have spent less money and less time in the fly-over states and more time and money on the coasts.

November 15, 2016: one option if folks want to go to popular vote to elect president? It won't happen on the national level, but two states have done it at the state level: Maine, Nebraska. Interestingly enough, California will never do this. California is dark blue and all its electoral votes go to the Democratic nominee. If CA  had "proportional voting" (or whatever it's called), Trump would have gotten 33% of the electoral votes, or 18 of California's 55 votes. At the national level, Trump's margin of victory would have been even bigger. 

November 15, 2016: the "excellent" electoral college -- The WSJ. California alone accounts for Clinton's lead in the popular vote. Trump did not compete in California or Illinois. I was curious why he did so badly in Illinois, and even in sold-red Orange County. This explains it.  

November 14, 2016: this is another reason the US will never adopt the popular vote as the way to select presidents. Secretaries of state, in each state, must certify the number of votes for all candidates. That can take upwards of six months; some times a year. The official numbers would not be known until well past inaugural day. Link here The trope/meme that Hillary Clinton received more votes than President-elect Trump is just that a trope/meme and it will eventually be disproved. Once disproved, it will only be covered by Breitbart.

November 13, 2016: when you look at the map below, something else pops up. "Diversity and inclusiveness" is one of the things that makes America great. If a few geographic locations could decide the president of the US, it appears almost 90% of the US would feel left out. Worse, the "diversity" demonstrated by the grey area would be lost. Many of the "original 13 colonies" don't have even a speck of blue. Other states without a speck of blue: Louisiana, Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, the Dakotas, Montana, Colorado, Idaho, West Virginia, Virginia. Some of the states with a single speck of blue is simply the state's one urban center: New Mexico, Oregon, Minnesota, Kentucky, Georgia, Utah.

Later, 10:09 p.m. Central Time: a reader suggests looking at this at the county level to get another view -- it's quite dramatic to say the least:  
Original Post
Despite all the analyses of the 2016 election, I haven't seen much regarding the change in the electoral map between 2000 and 2016.

I think in hindsight, the races in 2008 and 2012 will be seen as anomalies. Regardless, compare the electoral votes per state in 2000 vs electoral votes per state in 2016. First the maps, then the comments:


Electoral college vs popular votes: there are a gazillion reasons why the US will not move to a direct popular vote instead of the electoral college in selecting presidents, but the graph of the electoral map in 2000 provides the one over-riding argument (in green, in the map).

The electoral college means that the following states will never lose more than what they currently have (in a direct popular vote, each could lost significantly): MT, ND, SD, WY, DE, DC, VT

The following states become inconsequential or relatively inconsequential if we move to a direct popular vote:
  • ME, NH, VT, RI, ND, SD, MT, WY, ID, NV, UT, NM, DE, DC, NE, ID, HI, AK, VW = 38 Senate votes
  • throw in: KS, OK, MS, OR, IA, CT, AR = 14 additional Senate seats
  • total: 52 Senate seats
The next census is in 2020. The Senate won't consider the electoral vote/popular vote question until seeing the 2020 census data. One can assume several "small" states will lose an electoral vote, and FL, TX, CA, WA GA will each gain at least one additional seat after the 2020 census.

Comparing 2000 with 2016:
  • the south is becoming much more important:
    • 2000: NC, SC, GA, FL, AL, MS, LA, TX --
    • 2016:  +1; +1, +3, +4, NC, -1, -1, +6 -- net gain -- 16 electoral votes (more than any one state in most of the industrial Midwest; way, way more than any one state in most of the union)
    • add AZ to the south and one gets a net gain of three (3) more electoral votes, bringing the south to a net gain of 20 electoral votes in 2016 vs 2000
  • the elite northeast is becoming less important:
    • 2000: MA, CT, RI, NY, DE, NJ, DC, MD
    • 2016: -2, NC, NC, -4, NC, -1, NC, NC -- net loss -- 7 electoral votes; which is about equal to any one state in the Midwest
  • the Pacific Coast: 2016 vs 2000 -- plus 2 (+1 in WA; +1 in CA)
    • California: not much change, but it did gain one electoral vote
  • the industrial Midwest took a big hit in 2016 compared to 2000
    • 2000: PA, OH, IN, IL, MI, WI --
    • 2016: -3, -3, -1, -1, -1, -1 -- net loss -- 10 electoral votes (way more than any one state in most of the states west of the Mississippi River, the Great Plains)

Broader look:
  • the south vs elite northeast + Pacific Coast + industrial Midwest
  • +16 vs -7, +2, -10 = +16 for the south vs -15 for the rest of the country (forget about fly-over country) = a swing of 31 electoral votes in 2016 compared to 2000
Note: I often make simple arithmetic errors, and I sometimes have trouble reading small print on electoral college maps. On a long note like this, there are bound to be factual and typographical errors. If this is important to you, go to the source.

Bottom line:
  • comparing the electoral count outcome in 2016 to 2000, is comparing apples to oranges
  • the US will never go to a direct popular vote to select presidents
  • the presidential races in 2004 and 2008 were anomalies
Bottom line below the bottom line:
  • it is possible that additional states will award disproportionate electoral voting, or whatever it is called, like Maine and Nebraska do now, awarding electoral votes based on popular vote within the state. That, too, dilutes the "importance" of any given state, especially among small states

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