Processing the 2016 Election: I’m Not Going Anywhere

Woman Holding Us Flag during Daytime

I had a post lined up for this weekend that had nothing to do with the US Presidential election, but then the unthinkable happened: Donald Trump won, not by popular vote, but because the US presidential elections still use the electoral college to choose who will be president. Regardless of who you voted for, there’s no denying that this system is deeply flawed.

For those of you who aren’t sure what the electoral college is or why this is crazyballs, read this paragraph and click the links. If you get nothing else from this post, understand that the electoral college is an actual group of people who vote for the president at a later date on behalf of everyone else, and who don’t always have to vote for the person their state already chose via popular vote. It’s not a one-elector-per-state situation either. The number of electors per state is awarded based on population size. But  wait, there’s more! The electoral votes are not really dispersed evenly by population, because a minimum number of electoral votes (3) is given to small states that, if it was all really awarded proportionally to population, might only get one or two, taking some votes away from densely populated states. Even states that have more cows than people get at least 3 electoral votes.  The system is undemocratic, making individual votes in densely populated states count less than votes in sparsely populated ones. If you live in California, your vote doesn’t count as much as a vote from someone in Wyoming, and really, neither of those hypothetical voters’ votes go directly to electing the president because of the electoral college. The electoral college hasn’t voted yet, but as far as I am aware, they have never gone rogue and changed the outcome of the election, although individuals in the electoral college can and do (sometimes) vote differently than they are expected to.

As I write this, we are in the weird limbo between the popular vote that took place on November 8th, awarding more not-yet-placed electoral votes to Trump than to Hillary, and the actual final voting of the electoral college that takes place on December 19th. Historically speaking, there is no reason to believe that Hillary will be selected over Trump, even though this is technically possible. It would take an unprecedented number of electors going rogue. His electoral lead is too large thanks to the number of states that he won, despite the fact that he actually lost the nationwide popular vote.

The results of this election shocked many. I live in a blue, east coast state. My friends and colleagues are definitely in a state of fear and uncertainty, and I’ve seen a lot of joking posts about moving to Canada that were going around the internet pre-election turn serious now that it’s over. My friends aren’t the only ones doing this either. Canada’s immigration website crashed on November 8th.

I completely understand wanting to leave if it’s a matter of safety or a matter of protecting your rights. I’m a woman, and I’m afraid of a Republican controlled US government overturning Roe v. Wade, the landmark supreme court decision that legalized abortion in my country. But you know what? I have a job, and I could probably scrape together the cash to travel somewhere to get an abortion if I absolutely had to. Many women can’t.

Minorities face poverty at greater rates than others. Many of them have way more reasons to fear a Republican-controlled US government than I do, and would have a more difficult time leaving the country if it became necessary. If people like me–liberals who can probably survive 4 years of Trump–leave the country right now, then there will be fewer people to vote in support of those minorities. To say no to a Trump reelection, and to vote for more progressive representatives at a local level who will fight Trump on our behalf.

Yes, consider your safety. Of course. But leaving the country right now only fixes the problem for you. It does nothing for the people who are stuck here. I’m not saying it’s going to go well over the next four years, but if the people like me who can afford to stay stick around, we can make sure those four years don’t extend into eight.

Because Trump’s America isn’t the nation we know and love. Let’s remember to cherish our diversity. To keep welcoming immigrants, because our parents, grandparents, or great grandparents were just like them.

Happy thinking,



6 thoughts on “Processing the 2016 Election: I’m Not Going Anywhere

  1. I had this conversation with a conservative friend of mine this weekend. His point was that, if you looked at the map, the east and west coasts were blue, but pretty much the entire rest of the country was red. “Is it fair,” he asked me, “that the entire country should be run by the votes of New York, California, and a few other states?”

    My problem is that, even in all these red states, there are large segments that vote democratic that end up largely ignored. I live in one of the reddest states there is, and my vote, therefore, never matters in the slightest. Is this fair? The electoral college will always favor the Republican vote in that it gives a little extra weight to votes in the smaller, more rural states (which tend to be right-leaning). I understand his criticism that these heavily populated, liberal states have more voters than other areas of the country, but that is the nature of ‘one person, one vote.’ Is it fair that votes should be weighted according to how many neighbors you have?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m definitely in favor of one person one vote. The map we see during elections is very deceiving too since, as you said, the coastal states have more people in them than the central ones. I’d argue that in order for voting to be fair, each individual’s vote should be weighted equally regardless of who they are or where in the country they live. I think even though this doesn’t favor them the way that our current system does, I’d hope that conservatives see how this ensures more fairness. If we abandoned the state-by-state, winner-take-all system and went with the popular vote, we could truly have a one person, one vote situation.

      (And what’s with Puerto Rico and the other territories not being allowed to vote? Come on now.)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “The system is undemocratic, making individual votes in densely populated states count less than votes in sparsely populated ones.”
    Even worse, thanks to the fact that all but two states’ electoral votes are winner-take-all, 51% of the people in 1 “swing state” counts for more than than 40% of the people in 10 “red states”. Often, candidates use this to basically write off half the states as not worth campaigning in.
    In particular, Trump won many states by very small margins, creating the largest difference between the popular and electoral votes in living memory.

    Liked by 1 person

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