One theme says it is unfair or even immoral that Clinton won the national popular vote yet Trump won the election. Memes appear on social media as Clinton’s national popular vote tally increases to near 2.5 million. The disgruntled anxiously await the next tally announcement. The press continues to report the count in daily headlines as if it means something to the election. It does not.
The United States of America was founded as a representative republic under a federalist system - NOT A DEMOCRACY. The sovereign states joined in a federation under specific rules embodied in the Constitution.
The Constitution was by necessity a negotiated agreement that accommodated many competing interests in order to obtain the consent of 9 of the then 13 original states for its ratification. The Tenth Amendment defines federalism very clearly in its one sentence "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
The states defined and conveyed to the federal government certain specific powers and reserved all others to themselves. Each state having two senators regardless of population was another related accommodation. Compromise was necessary to reach an agreed document that could be ratified.
The method for selecting the president and vice president underwent significant debate during the Constitutional Convention. Proposals for electing the president included the Congress making the choice, another sought to have the Governors of the states make the selection, and yet another proposed the popular vote of the people. In the end a compromise was struck that we call the Electoral College.
Alexander Hamilton wrote of this compromise in Federalist #68, “It was desirable that the sense of the people should operate in the choice of the person to whom so important a trust was to be confided. This end will be answered by committing the right of making it, not to any preestablished body, but to men chosen by the people for the special purpose.”
Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution states, “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress.” Hence, the President and Vice President are determined by separate and distinct elections in the fifty states and the District of Columbia. It is not a national election.
There are 538 electors in the Electoral College. Each of the 50 states has two senators totaling 100 electors. There are 435 members of the House of Representatives apportioned throughout the states based on population. The Twenty-Third Amendment to the constitution established the right of residents of the District of Columbia to vote in presidential elections and allocated three electoral votes to the District.
A Constitutional Amendment is the only way to change the manner in which we elect the President and Vice President. Four times previously in our national history the winner of the presidential election did not win the popular vote and supporters of the loser proposed changing the system to one of a direct national popular vote. No proposal to amend the Constitution in this regard has ever made it through even the first step in the amendment process.
To my disappointed friends I say – let it go.