Color Me a Democrat – June 2024

I Love Wyoming, but…

—By Fraser Perkins

I love Wyoming, but when it comes to presidential voting, I believe all votes should count equally.  A vote in California should have the same impact as a vote in Wyoming.  I’d even go so far as to say that a vote in Texas should count the same as a vote in both California and the Cowboy State.  As things stand now, this is not the situation; voters in lower population states have outsized power due to the vagaries of the Electoral College.  On average California has 721,000 people for each of its electoral votes, and Texas has even more, 762,000 people per electoral vote.  This stands in stark contrast to Wyoming with only 195,000 people per electoral vote.  In essence when it comes to presidential voting, it takes 3.7 Californians to equal 1 Wyomingite.

The presidential discounting of large population states has traditionally worked against Democrats, but burgeoning populations in the Sunbelt states have shifted the situation ever so slightly.  Here are the four most populous states. their electoral votes, and the people per electoral vote.

State Pop (millions) Electoral Votes Pop/Electoral Vote
CA 39.0 54 721,000
TX 30.5 40 762,000
FL 22.6 30 754,000
NY 19.6 28 699,000
Top Four 111.7 152 735,000

As Texas and Florida have added people, the number of people per electoral vote in their states have also increased.  At the other end of the scale, four New England states, traditionally Democratic, fall into the least populated category, and like states such as North and South Dakota, have a disproportionate impact on the Electoral College vote.  

The chief factor in the disparity of voters per electoral college vote is the assignment of one vote per Senator and Congressperson.  As all states have two senators regardless of population, this allocation disproportionately enhances the power of thinly populated states.

A second factor which skews presidential voting away from electing the popular vote winner is  the disenfranchisement of votes cast for state-wide losing candidates.  The winner-take-all system in most states discounts voters who vote for the losing candidate.  Whether you are a Democrat in Texas or a Republican in California, your vote is pointless because Republicans lose in California and Democrats lose in Texas.  A negative side-effect of the current allocation is the impact on down-ticket races.  

I get along great with my all-in Trump supporting cousin in San Antonio, Texas as long as we don’t discuss politics.  However, if there is one thing that both of us should agree on, it’s that the current Electoral College system hurts both California and Texas. 

The message is clear – the Electoral College, an eighteenth-century relic, should be abolished in favor of electing the president by popular vote. 

In the meantime, all patriotic Palos Verdes Club Democrats should decamp to Wyoming; I recommend Jackson over Rock Springs.  Saddle up, all you buckaroos!

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