Our voting system is going to be flawed; it is as inevitable as death, taxes, and a Trump presidency. As Kenneth Arrow's Nobel Prize-winning voting theorem states, it is impossible for a voting system to meet every criterion it needs to be indisputably ideal. There will always be imperfections in the system. At times, the "wrong" person will be elected, opponents- sometimes even the majority of the country- will be angry. People will feel like their voices cannot be heard. The Electoral College is much less than ideal. However, switching to a different system will not make all of our problems go away.
I agree that the Electoral College is broken. I agree that Clinton's more than 2.8 million popular vote margin is outrageous. All that I am arguing is, instead of throwing away the system, why don't we fix it?
Take the map below. Using census data, Business Insider found that about half of the population was located in these 146 counties, shaded in blue:
This map is why abolishing the Electoral College would be more detrimental than helpful to our union. The counties in blue are almost all urban areas. Think of an election without the EC. The politicians' strategies would completely change. They would not need to worry about the counties in gray; there would barely be a need to visit any of them, to care about their opinions or their struggles. The winning strategy for the politician is simple: pander to the urban areas that dominate the population. The rural areas are completely left in the dust. Flyover states with one, two, or no blue counties cease to exist to the presidential nominee. We must remember how different the opinions, struggles, and needs of rural areas are to urban ones- and we must never let the majority be a tyrant over the minority. The United States is too large, too divided, and too sectional to have a direct democracy.
However, there is still hope. The Electoral College will never be perfect, but we can still strive to make it better. One possible solution is to allocate the electoral votes proportionally.
Currently, for every state except Maine and Nebraska, the winner takes all of the electoral votes. This means that whoever claims the most votes claims every electoral vote in that particular state, no matter how little they win by. For example, in Florida, Trump won all of the electoral votes despite only receiving 48.6% of the popular vote. The Winner Takes All method disregards the votes of people who did not vote for the majority. This means bad news to a republican living in a consistently blue state, and vice versa. If we get more states to use a method that factors in the proportionality of the votes, then more people can have their voices heard.
Maine and Nebraska use the Congressional District (CD) method which allocates two electoral votes to the popular vote winner and one electoral vote to the winner of each congressional district. While this method is a step up from Winner Takes All because it disregards fewer votes, it leaves room for strategic gerrymandering, a problem in congressional elections that should not spill over to the presidential election.
To take all votes into account and best represent the people, the Popular Vote 1 and Popular Vote 2 methods can be utilized. Both focus on the state-by-state popular votes.
Popular Vote 1 allocates two electoral votes to the winner of the state's popular vote and the rest of the electoral votes are distributed proportionally, by the percentage of the popular vote each candidate received.
Popular Vote 2 is very similar except it is distributed completely by the percentage of the popular vote. It is only different to PV1 in that it does not allocate two electoral votes to the popular vote winner.
These methods make it so that all votes count. They do not abolish the Electoral College, giving rural areas and rural states a voice. They do not make swing states the only votes that matter and they do not disregard your vote if your political affiliation is the minority in your state. The methods are not perfect (could increase the power of third party spoilers, but that is a problem for another article). They are, however, massive improvements.