"Abolishing the Electoral College would make Los Angeles county stronger than 43 states."
Astonishing. I hardly know where to start. But this statement is currently floating around on social media. Intending, I assume, to spur an alarming reaction. What could be more terrifying than national elections by popular vote?
Hmm. In completing my graduate program, I had to take Educational Statistics. Almost did me in. Math, you know.
But I did grasp the basics. Like that research conclusions are only as good as the data collected and/or the person compiling it. Which, or who, can be biased, flawed, unethical, manipulated--you get the picture. . .
Take, for example, the "research" on MMR vaccines and autism done by a British doctor. His test pool? Twelve children. His funding? Paid by a law firm wanting to sue vaccine manufacturers.
Conversely, Denmark conducted two studies, in 2002 and 2019, funded by Novo Nordisk (which doesn't produce vaccines) and the Ministry of Health. Their test pools? Between the two, over one million children. They found no correlation between MMR vaccines and autism.
Now which seems more reliable? Twelve subjects or one million? A law firm, or a non-involved pharmaceutical and the government (not ours, you note).
Oh don't be daft! People will believe whatever they want. Hence the notable outbreak last winter of measles.
But getting back to my voting issue. First, why LA county? Would popular vote go by county? Or by state, for that matter, except maybe to collect data? But this compares a county to 43 states. Apples to oranges.
And okay, which states? California already holds the most Electoral votes, at 55. Based on that, it could take 14 states to neuter them. Or two, depending on which states you choose.
The same could go with the popular vote. Depending on the source's numbers, the population of LA county must have been offset by our least populous states. I guess. Because in 2018, they had approximately 10,105,500 people. Men, women, and children.
For that matter, NYC had an estimated 8.55 million in the city alone (it comprises four counties). As cities, that more than doubles LA's population of 3.97 million.
In California, in 2016, the total vote was approximately 14,186,000. In Florida, 9,420,000; New York, 7,721,000 (I've rounded these figures). If you want, you can find the stats for percentages of eligible voters in those states. That, it seems, should be the ominous news . . .
We have, then, a statement designed to alarm us with the power of Los Angeles county. I lived there once. Now that was really alarming. But it was only for about a year, and I got out before it affected my sanity. I think.
I'm not trying to argue for or against popular versus Electoral College elections. I expect you can find lengthy debates on the subject, if you're interested in doing that.
We tend to focus on two recent elections, but the question goes all the way back to John Quincy Adams (you know, our 6th President, son of John, our 2nd). Including John Q, we have elected presidents five times without their winning the popular vote.
That's the way our system works. Changing it would take an act of Congress. Which, judging on the current atmosphere, isn't likely to happen. So, what, specifically, is the point of the statement, anyway?
As a nation, we don't seem to care much about our responsibility to vote. But I'd be willing to bet that many of the people complaining about whether or not we should ditch the Electoral College didn't bother to vote in the first place (I think I've addressed this before). Now that, I think, is what you should find alarming.