I totally get why so many people are upset about the results of the United States Election 2016. The fact is more people voted for Hillary Clinton than voted for Donald Trump. But Mr. Trump won because he has obtained more electoral votes – votes that will be officially cast on December 19th. This whole electoral college thing seems to be a complicated way to elect a president.
But in a weird way, I'm grateful for it.
How We Elect a President
Each state is allotted a certain number of delegates – a minimum of 3 votes – to represent the state in the election. A few states split those votes by county or other mathematical methods, but California sends all 55 of their votes to whichever candidate gains the popular vote. It’s simple democracy in action. Majority rules. And the majority in California was solidly for Mrs. Clinton.
What does that mean?
That means before I even marked my ballot, my vote was counted. Frankly, it didn’t matter which box I checked. If you need proof of this, watch any national election – especially a presidential one – and note how California’s vote is decided “with 0% precincts reporting.”
I don’t worry so much about it when my opinion is in line with the majority, but when I want to vote for a different candidate, it bothers me that I have no voice.
Obviously Flawed System
It’s no wonder politicians are suggesting we get rid of the electoral college. Mr. Trump himself said the election was rigged. We love to say we are a democracy, but in truth we are not. We could always amend our Constitution so we are. But as a people we need to think long and hard before making any changes to our electoral process.
Lessons From the Kid Lit World
Let’s talk about a wonderful campaign in the writing world #WeNeedDiverseBooks.
Editors and agents have woken up to the fact that children’s books should reflect the diversity of our world. Books should provide mirrors and windows to children of all ethnicities and backgrounds, and every writer regardless of their race or culture should have a voice. According the 2010 Census, about 25% of Americans identify as nonwhite. But another static indicates that only about 10% of children’s books contain multicultural content. That’s exactly why the kid lit world seeks to reflect this diversity with the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign.
Now imagine a publishing world where only the majority culture had a voice. Instead of 90% of the books being about and by white culture, 100% would be. In my opinion that would be going in the wrong direction.
So why would we want that in our election process?
Mend Don’t End
Just as we need MORE diverse voices in the kid lit world, we need an electoral system that allows more American votes to be counted. But reverting to a simple majority vote is not the answer. Such a change would choke out minority voices that need to be heard. We are a smarter than that! And we have smart friends all over the world. Let’s…
Brainstorm a Better Way
What would be a better electoral system? I have a couple ideas - not great ideas, but ideas...
Maybe all states could split their votes the way Nebraska and Maine do. These two states use the Congressional Method - the majority automatically gets two votes, but the other votes are split by district.
Maybe the electoral college should better represent the voter turnout.
An Important Conversation
If there’s one thing I’ve learned as an author, it’s how many people it takes to create something worthwhile. Please, add your ideas below, blog about this yourself, or share your opinions on social media. We need to have this conversation – that’s how we will fix the system.
I write about, with, for, and around kids all day. (Well, maybe I do the dishes too. Sometimes.)