Do You Understand the Electoral College?
Articles Blog

Do You Understand the Electoral College?

August 27, 2019


I want to talk you about the Electoral College
and why it matters. Alright, I know this doesn’t sound the like
most sensational topic of the day, but, stay with me because, I promise you, it’s one of
the most important. To explain why requires a very brief civics
review. The President and Vice President of the United
States are not chosen by a nationwide, popular vote of the American people; rather, they
are chosen by 538 electors. This process is spelled out in the United States Constitution. Why didn’t the Founders just make it easy,
and let the Presidential candidate with the most votes claim victory? Why did they create,
and why do we continue to need, this Electoral College? The answer is critical to understanding not
only the Electoral College, but also America. The Founders had no intention of creating
a pure majority-rule democracy. They knew from careful study of history what most have forgotten today, or never learned: pure democracies do not work. They implode. Democracy has been colorfully described as
two wolves and a lamb voting on what’s for dinner. In a pure democracy, bare majorities
can easily tyrannize the rest of a country. The Founders wanted to avoid this at all costs. This is why we have three branches of government
— Executive, Legislative and Judicial. It’s why each state has two Senators no matter
what its population, but also different numbers of Representatives based entirely on population.
It’s why it takes a supermajority in Congress and three-quarters of the states to change
the Constitution. And, it’s why we have the Electoral College. Here’s how the Electoral College works. The Presidential election happens in two phases.
The first phase is purely democratic. We hold 51 popular elections every presidential election
year: one in each state and one in D.C. On Election Day in 2012, you may have thought
you were voting for Barack Obama or Mitt Romney, but you were really voting for a slate of
presidential electors. In Rhode Island, for example, if you voted for Barack Obama, you
voted for the state’s four Democratic electors; if you voted for Mitt Romney you were really
voting for the state’s four Republican electors. Part Two of the election is held in December.
And it is this December election among the states’ 538 electors, not the November election,
which officially determines the identity of the next President. At least 270 votes are
needed to win. Why is this so important? Because the system encourages coalition-building
and national campaigning. In order to win, a candidate must have the support of many different types of voters, from various parts of the country. Winning only the South or the Midwest is not
good enough. You cannot win 270 electoral votes if only one part of the country is supporting
you. But if winning were only about getting the
most votes, a candidate might concentrate all of his efforts in the biggest cities or
the biggest states. Why would that candidate care about what people in West Virginia or
Iowa or Montana think? But, you might ask, isn’t the election really
only about the so-called swing states? Actually, no. If nothing else, safe and swing
states are constantly changing. California voted safely Republican as recently
as 1988. Texas used to vote Democrat. Neither New Hampshire nor Virginia used to be swing
states. Most people think that George W. Bush won
the 2000 election because of Florida. Well, sort of. But he really won the election because
he managed to flip one state which the Democrats thought was safe: West Virginia. Its 4 electoral
votes turned out to be decisive. No political party can ignore any state for
too long without suffering the consequences. Every state, and therefore every voter in
every state, is important. The Electoral College also makes it harder
to steal elections. Votes must be stolen in the right state in order to change the outcome
of the Electoral College. With so many swing states, this is hard to predict and hard to do. But without the Electoral College, any vote
stolen in any precinct in the country could affect the national outcome — even if that
vote was easily stolen in the bluest California precinct or the reddest Texas one. The Electoral College is an ingenious method
of selecting a President for a great, diverse republic such as our own — it protects against
the tyranny of the majority, encourages coalition building and discourages voter fraud. Our Founders were proud of it! We can be too. I’m Tara Ross for Prager University.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. When politicians utter the word democracy, they are using a code word that signifies their total allegiance to the state. They are using mass hypnosis to manipulate the people against human liberty. The U.S. was founded as a republic. When asked what type of government they had created, Benjamin Franklin replied, "A republic, if you can keep it." The Founding Fathers feared two things above all else: a democracy and an overly powerful executive. The Electoral College was designed to prevent both.

  2. I spread this video as much as I can, it is a great explanation that very few people know. It should be criminal not to teach this in schools and colleges anymore. Our education system is rigged and it needs fixed. It was not that long ago that they would have tarred and feathered a bad teacher, then run them out of town. Maybe we need to go back to that. They should get rid of tenure so the bad teachers can get booted out of the educational system.

  3. Big cities with millions of people tend to be more liberal, ( they tend to be multicultural, mostly immigrants with no idea how capitalism works) so they vote for liberal parties, and liberalism eventually leads to communism. So electoral college is a brave and wonderful idea to save humanity from the tyrannical Idiocracy or Communist dictatorship. Good job America. Don't loose it for some ungrateful socialist idiots.

  4. I mean great fact, and simply explained but damn this is so boring … she look and sounds like a Zombie …. We need some spice in this, show interested in it at least, she sounds like she's reading ….

  5. I just came on here to say that those Electors of the Electoral College must be getting ready to CON the American people to GO OUT and VOTE for the next American president—-which will probably just be Trump again. I guess he'll be campaigning for re-election next year? Well, I don't CARE, especially since the votes of the ACTUAL American voters don't even COUNT in that DECISION! I just WONDER WHEN the American people are gonna finally WISE UP and VOTE those Electors OUT of OFFICE, huh? It's like they think that 21st century Americans are TOO STUPID to ELECT our own leader. I think that's the REAL INSULT to our democracy, which is WHY I REFUSE to PARTICIPATE in voting ever again. Whenever the VOTE comes up to finally ABOLISH the Electoral College, come SEE ME!

  6. What an outdated system. Why not move to proportional representation like many other countries? Theres no such as thing as a pure democracy but you could at least make the election system a little less arbitrary?

  7. With all of the misinformation going around today, it's critical that people (especially young people who are no longer being taught this in school) know why the Founders chose for us to use Electoral College. And, because of that people who are pushing a form of tyranny are feeding off that ignorance.

  8. Most of the concerns voters have would not change regardless of what state they are in so the electoral college is not necessary. My concerns of the economy, racism, and healthcare is the same if i move to Oh from GA. The electoral college is useless but people are blinded by democrat vs republican issue.

  9. Thats wrong…the founding fathers knew the common man didnt know who was running for president…they just knew who was in the local races…so they didnt trust the common man with a choice that crucial…the invention of the radio made it obsolete…and it should have been abolished at that point…the point in the video about populations of California and Wyoming would never had been even dreamed up by the founding fathers…sadly it is now a way people are cheated and disenfranchised…

  10. the video is bs, not only can you get 270 electors with only 11 states but what true democracies did the founding father research to determine that all of them will fail?

  11. Hi! Right winger here. It still does not make sense to me. Let’s see if this video gets the explanation correct. Whelp Tara, you failed to educate me. On to video 1247 to see if they can.

  12. WV: do not look for ANY democratic candidate to spend any money in your state. That is what they think about you.

  13. I was actually just thinking about how I didn't understand the electoral college, last night. Thanks for explaining!

  14. And now states are grouping together to give their electoral votes to whoever has the popular vote. I really think now that if Democrats win this time, America is truly over. I watch the insanity build up everyday and America can't survive with people like that in power.

  15. It is ironic we elected the strongest president to defend democracy in 2016 via the "undemocratic" electoral college system. The evidence is found by the Democrats doing nothing to stop the narco-state in Venezuela with Obama and opposing its end today because democracy for them is to oppose whatever Trump does. Thank you for the infinite wisdom to have the electoral college; looking forward it could save us in 2020.

  16. I wonder if Democrats would still abolish the EC if Hillary got to 270 and Trump won the popular vote. Not likely, they would parade about claiming that the EC is stops populists from taking power. I imagine some trumpers would flip the script as well, but solid conservatives have always supported the EC, because they understand basic civics.

  17. Hmmm … no mention of how gerrymandering can be used to diminish the impact of specific groups' votes.

  18. "Pure democraty doesnt work"…?? 🤦‍♂️😂 yeah cause the US is doing so great with their losing retarted president 🙈😂😂😂😂

  19. EC works as long as this recipe is followed. The real reason is that the founding fathers realized you never can tell who the idiot masses will want as president.

  20. So the minority tyrannise the majority rather than the majority tyrannise the minority… Pure democracy is fair as fair goes. This all seems an elaborate excuse to ignore the votes of California and New York in order to listen to North Dakota and Iowa. If cali and NYC have more people there, then their vote should be as decisive as one from Iowa. And funnily enough it's only Republicans who defend the electoral college. Pure democracy in the UK elects leaders in an unbiased manner. But in the US u can't.

  21. Electoral college means every vote doesn’t count so don’t vote and let the electoral college vote for you. It’s undemocratic

  22. The framers knew how wicked men are so they created the electoral college to protect us from our evil selves!

  23. Our presidents do not win election by popular vote, they are elected by 538 electors. We do not live in a pure democracy. Our framers knew that throughout history, democracies don't work, they implode.
    Our presidents are voted in 2 elections, the first, is purely democratic. In the presidential primaries by voting for a candidate you are actually voting for 4 electors of the corosponding political parties.
    The 2nd election happens in December and determines the presidential winner. At least 270 votes are needed to win.
    Why is this important? This system encourages national campaigning and votes from different geographical and sociopolitical groups of citizens.
    Winning the south or Midwest, is not enough, you cannot get 270 electoral votes. If winning were one about getting the most votes, then the candidates would only have to campaign in the largest cities and biggest states.
    Under this system, no political party can ignore any state for too long without suffering the consequences.
    Every state and therefore every voter in every state is important.
    The electoral college makes it harder to steal elections! Votes must be stolen in the right state in order to change the outcome of the Electoral College. With so many swing states, this is hard to predict and hard to do.
    Without the Electoral College, any vote, stolen in any precinct in the country, could affect the national outcome, even if the vote was stolen in the bluest California, or the reddest Texas.
    The Electoral College is an ingenious method of selecting a President for a great, diverse republic such as our own – it protects against the tyrany of the majority.
    THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE:
    *protects against the tyrany of the majority.
    *encourages coalition building.
    *discourages voter fraud.

  24. Nice video & I wish that this should been used in my country, the Philippines during the election period. There so many so called BOBOTANTES (or dumb voters) in the Philippines for more than 30 years but if Electoral College would use it then those Filipino dumb voter's days will be over! 😁

  25. This woman is part of the system, of course she wont say its bad.
    In the age of the internet the electoral college is even more obsolete.

  26. This video did not age well since a stolen election by the Russians in three key states (WI, MI, and PA) did just what she said is impossible and give the loser of nearly 3 million votes the presidency.

  27. Hmm…then why do republicans support states rights? You always hear “ leave it to the states to decide” where often, decisions are put to a statewide popular vote. This is especially true with regard to societal issues like reproductive rights or gay rights. I thought You just said that’s like “two wolves and a lamb” and that direct democracy is destined to failure? Oh….never mind, I see this is published by PropagandaU. Lol. Got it.

  28. two wolfs and a lam? more "the one percent" and the 99%, it should be two wolfs and 200 lams.
    prager u is the worst and most shity of learning tools. propaganda factory

  29. founders are the worst people on earth, genocidal abusive slave and land owners.
    keep up the hypocrisy, and under with the world hates the usa.
    DEATH TO AMERIKKKA

  30. As far as i can tell the problems with democratic voting according to here could be fixed with a voting system that finds the most liked and least hated candidate that the most people can trust. (Ahem average scored voting ahem)

    Also in the past 4-5 elections the only small states visited by a good chunk of candidates was new Hampshire and Maine the rest were big states. Also even with popular voting the top 10 most populated city's make up 7% of the population with the top 10 states making up around 50% but most of the states have very different popular ideologies meaning smaller states are Extreamly important.

  31. Though experiment time. As the video claims, "the electoral college is there to make sure that someone can't become president by being voted just by one kind of people".

    That seems like a noble reason. But hey, the current system doesn't seem fit for it. It makes sure the president is only elected if voted in a number of places, but it doesn't garante diversity of votes. 
    For examples if every white voter in the US voted for the same candidate, that would be enough for them to be president! But then, since there are about 6 times as many white people as black people, to balance black people vote's out a black vote's should be worth about 6 white persons' votes!

    Or yet again: how can a person who's only voted by heterosexual people be trusted to make sure they have, say, trans people's right in mind? There are what.. 300 times more cis people than trans people. Then taking the video's logic at face value, a trans person's vote ought to be worth 300 cis people's votes. 

    You don't like those SJW bs new age snowflakery? Let's look some of the most traditionally of them al. Let's look at the Amish. They are 330,000 of them. But then a whole culture has no saying in the federal government! We need to make things square – an Amish vote should count about 700 times a non Amish vote for that to happen.

    Now of course this is infeasible and nidicolous, but maybe wonder about who benefits from the electoral college (i.e rural areas, predominantly white and christian. then the Republican Party. Then ultimately big corporations and lobbies) and then please let me know if you can honestly say that the electoral college is there fo make things fair.

  32. I think the biggest thing that people get wrong is that we live in a democracy. We actually live in a republic, with the constitution as the foundation.

  33. So how did the electoral college protect the black minority? Or any other minority ever in America.

    This plan only works if minorities are focused into a few select states, but if they are evenly spread throughout the states like they usually are, they won't be able to get past the state majority and then into the national majority.

    The electoral college fails at representing fairly.
    If a party gets 51% of the vote in a state, it gets 100% of its support even though 49% don't want to.
    This is often the case in swing states.

    Yall should watch CGP Grey on his animal kingdom series.
    Fun, educational, and shines a light on why our first past the post system doesn't allow us to vote for the candidates we want but rather on the tactical candidate we need to vote for.

  34. PragerU, Buzzfeed for conservatives. The Electoral College emerged as a compromise between slave states and free states. Why is that missing? … He asked pointlessly.

  35. This video only gets half the story right. The Founders ACTUALLY created the Electoral College because not everyone in the Nation at that time was literate, nor were there many newspapers at the time. The only way you could truly be informed was by going to the major cities to watch debates or read the newspapers. They knew that and didn't want the uneducated masses to vote. This is what the video references as the study of history that the did, it was the study of 4th Century Greece and the readings of Plato's Republic that informed their opinions. The Greeks at the time had a very disparaging name for the uneducated masses and the Founders used it, the "Hoi Polloi", it literally means Mob or Rabble.

    The Founders did not want the same thing to happen in America, but the problem now is that we have TV, the Internet and so many other avenues for being informed and actually knowing anything about our politicians that we don't need the Electoral College anymore.

    Further, the way the Electoral College worked back then is different than how it works now. Back then it was only Electoral Members that voted for the President, they weren't beholden to their constituents at all, a candidate for president just had to get the College members behind them and they became president. Now there are all of these convoluted rules that govern how the Electoral College works that aren't even Laws. For example, after the Popular vote, each state then picks a number of people who worked for the party that won that state and they then become the Electoral College, then they vote. The assumption is that they will vote like their state did, but there is no Law that prevents them from subverting the whole process and just voting for a different candidate to begin with. You see how this system has numerous flaws in it already?

    On a second point, the claim that the Electoral College forces National Campaigning is simply not true. Most states are already firmly for one party or another, which makes them not worth visiting. Instead, campaigning is focused on what is called Swing/Battleground States, these are states that can go either way, Ohio is one such example. Usually, there are about 8 Battleground States during any given election, these States are the ones that Candidates spend most of their time campaigning in so they can use them to sway the vote in their favor. Realistically any given candidate only needs about 3-5 of these States in order to win the election. So, the claim that it promotes National Campaigning is simply false. The claim that Swing/Battleground States can't be predicted is laughable, all you have to do to figure out how one State will trend toward is its Districts and the House of Representatives. If a State voted for an overwhelming number of Democrats or Republicans, then it is safe to say it will vote that way in the Presidential election.

    Further, her claim that a Candidate will focus all of their attention on the biggest states doesn't make any sense either. If the election was based on a popular vote then you would never know how any vote could go, you would need to visit everywhere in order to get as many people as possible on your side. Going to the biggest cities doesn't make sense either since if you were to do the math you would find that the 100 biggest cities in America make up barely 1% of the ENTIRE population of the Country.

    A Candidate would have to go everywhere in order to have a hope of winning. The only thing I can see a Popular vote doing is switching Candidates attention to Battleground Districts instead. Their focus would have to be primarily on what districts can be swayed onto their side, rather than which 3-5 States need to be. That to me means they would have to go to FAR more areas of the countries and to a wider variety of States in order to get Elected.

    For my last point, her claim that the Electoral College prevents election rigging doesn't make sense either. It is predicated on the claim that Swing States are impossible to predict, but I presented a method for how that is not true. To make a second claim, history is a good measure as well, how a State voted in the last few elections and by what difference it voted for one candidate over another is a strong indicator to who it will vote for. Her mentioning that California voted Republican in 1988 is ridiculous, that is 30 years ago, things have changed dramatically since then. For a third point, polling data is also a method that ALL parties use to figure out which States to campaign in. This is the single best method, if done correctly, to figure out which States are Swing States and the best part is it can be done in real time. Further, it is even easier to do nowadays with the advancements it technology that we have.

    So yeah, every single claim made by this video just doesn't hold up and I would challenge anyone watching this video to do some REAL research into this matter so you can truly inform yourself as to the FACTS.

    The Electoral College was a system that made sense once, but it no longer makes sense.

  36. The Electoral College does not encourage coalition building. Candidates only visit a few states every election and the rest are ignored.

  37. In the 90 biggest cities the total population only reaches around 19% of the population. The 90 biggest cities is no where near enough to win

  38. This is one of those elections (2016) we can all thank God that WA/OR and CA didn't get picked first. Otherwise the country would still be a mess like is was from 2008-2016.

  39. I'm from The Philippines and I completely understand why the US needs this kind of system. After all, The US is not just New York or California, it's a federal republic with 50 states.

  40. I don't think it should be abolished, but certainly reformed, possibly by other states adopting the Congressional District Method, as it is used in Maine and Nebraska. THe idea is to elect an elector from each House of Representatives district and 2 statewide for the party which won the majority, making for a less distorted system.

  41. While singing the praises of the electoral college, she still did not explain practically how it worked. How the electors are chosen, and their commitment to the candidate which receives the most votes in that state, which differs from state to state. She did very little to explain how the electoral can also be an impediment to expressing the will of the people, and what does she mean by "pure democracy" The United Staes as far as I know is the only country that does not elect the president or his party by popular vote. Is because they are just not as ingenious as America.

  42. The electoral college isn't democracy,you can win a majority in the electoral college with only 22% of the vote.

  43. The Electoral College caused the expansion of terrorism(slavery) in the USA. The Electoral College caused the civil war. After causing the civil war, the Electoral College has been used as a "welfare benefit" for states which suppress voting.
    Why do you lie, Prager?

  44. Wow, I'm an international student and everyone in my school (from teachers to students) told me the electoral college was a bad thing, without telling how the system works. This video really helped me open my eyes.

  45. The system helping us from democracy and tyranny of the majority? Arrogant bollox for the ignorant masses. Helping to establish coalitions? When did we see one in the USA? A candidate must have votes from different people and places to be elected? What kind of mumbo jumbo is that? The Electoral College are bound to vote for their parties, so they are a superfluous group. This is an official trick (fake news?) to express the voting process which has to great extent derailed from reality. Do Americans know that they have the oldest constitution on Earth suitable for another society? The World today does not look like it did in the 1770s and having more than two political parties is essential.

  46. Very basically, the candidate who gets the most votes in a state ( wins the popular vote) gets the electoral votes.

  47. Absolutely horrible analogies are used that make no sense. Her slow speech is monotone and makes the mind block it out. Could’ve been better.

  48. Today, 8/23/19, I heard that democrat Omar was campaigning to end the electoral college. This is proof that the EC is good for America. If Ilhan Omar and other democrats are against something, it must be good for America.

  49. States have rights too. A win based on popular would make candidates ignore smaller states such as Iowa, Delaware, and North Dakota. These small states need federal funds for highways and schools. Granted, they don't get many electors, but at least they get some.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *