I Still Hate the Electoral College

Almost two weeks after the US Presidential Election, and people are still angry about the outcome, including me.  In a post right before the election, I talked about the 2000 Presidential Election and how the Electoral College was unfair.  Much like what happened to Al Gore in 2000, Hillary Clinton was not elected president, even though she won the popular vote of the nation. Donald Trump was elected only because he won over 270 Electoral College votes. 

There has been a lot of talk from people who are happy that Trump won that are calling out people who aren’t.  Some are saying that the only reason people are upset is that their candidate didn’t win, not the Electoral College. This is definitely true for some people, but not all. The fact is that the Electoral College is unfair to the candidates and the American public. If I vote for someone, I want my vote to stand by itself, and count towards the big picture in the outcome.

The Electoral College stifles the vote of the public. Clinton received over 1.5 million votes more than Trump did, but not the right amount of Electors. It doesn’t make sense that a candidate with the highest amount of votes, could not get elected.  

The amount of electoral votes that a state has is equal to the number of people in Congress that the state has. The minimum being three, representing two people in the Senate and one in the House of Representatives. There are people from each party who are elected to vote in the Electoral College. They are usually very involved and are trusted to vote with the party they associate with.  The party of the candidate that wins more votes in the state gets to be the electors for that campaign.  This means that since Trump won the state of Texas, the only electors who get to vote in December are the ones appointed by the Republican Party.

North Dakota has a population of 756,927 people and has three electors.  This means that each vote represents 252,309 people. Texas’ population is nearly 27.5 million people and has 38 votes in the Electoral College. Each of those votes represents almost 723,000 people, which is almost as much as the whole state of North Dakota. If I vote in Texas, my vote could only be potentially 1/723,000 of one of the votes, but in North Dakota it could be 1/252,000.  The votes of people in smaller states are mathematically more reliable and accurate. Over 3.8 million people in Texas, and over 64 million in the whole country voted for Clinton, but because the majority of states with a higher, more influential population voted leaned towards her opponent, she lost.

When it was created, the Electoral College made some sense.  It was difficult to count all of the votes and get that information spread, but it was much easier for individual states to count them and send representatives. Now we have amazing technology and easy communication, so the system is impractical and makes our votes not count as much.  I don’t want my vote to be discounted because more people in my state voted a different way, regardless of my party affiliation.

By Bethany LaChance

How Social Media Ruined the Election

 

by Elena Alvarez

@elenaalvarezpr

I was a much more optimistic person before this election. I was an even more optimistic person before I was on social media. Social media completely warped the way we talk to each other about political ideologies. Facebook is perhaps the worst of the political social media demons when it comes to the public. Before the election, everyone’s friends were posting about the election endlessly. Afterwards, the public bragging or outcry of disappointment in this country is rampant. And from both sides, public declarations of the end of friendships due to politics. On the other hand is Twitter, the mecca of public shaming. A constant cycle of rebuttals of foul politically fueled exchanges. And this is perhaps the reason we were all so shocked.

I can personally attest that I was shocked, I was hurt and I was horrified at the turnout. But immediately afterwards, I felt disappointed in myself because I was one of the many so blindly confident in Clinton’s election because I was swayed by the media. I believe that because all we chose to see on our social media was that of our candidate, it was so easy to see the outcome in our favor.

This is the actual flow of our contemporary political social life. We seem to relish political strife.

Every social media character played a major role in the American political discourse this election season. One could spend days on analysis on just Donald Trump’s effect, especially on Twitter. His combative nature seemed to spill over well onto the internet.

Overall, the environment of theses platforms forced us to allow the contentious air of our online political life to swallow us whole, making the Election 2016 and its results one of the most unbearable, shocking ever.

Just like this election, social media, at the hands of the People was ruined, because of we won’t take our head out of the sand and address problems head on.

 

Sources:

Roettgers, Janko. Blaming the Media for Trump? Don’t Forget Facebook, Twitter and Reddit. Retrieved Nov. 13 2015 from http://variety.com/2016/digital/opinion/election-2016-blame-facebook-twitter-reddit-1201913946/

Sanders, Sam. Data Scientists Find Consistencies In Donald Trump’s Erratic Twitter Strategy Retrieved Nov. 13 2015 from http://www.npr.org/2016/08/18/490523985/data-scientists-find-consistencies-in-donald-trumps-err

 

 

 

The Accidental News Source

Is Facebook Partially to Blame for President Trump?

by Tyler Hicks

@QuickThicks

This is weird. President-elect (has that word always sounded this weird?) Donald Trump will assume his role as Commander-in-Chief in a little over two months, and we’ll plunge into a period of pervasive and inescapable darkness for the next four years. Okay, so that’s a little overdramatic, but only a little. Still, as we continue to come to terms with this election, one question will continue to linger for quite some time: How did this happen?

Many people are eager to lay the blame at the feet of Facebook. In fairness, the most popular social network has been known to suppress conservative news stories from their “Trending” section, but is Facebook really to blame for the rise of Donald Trump? Not by a long shot.

First, the conservative news suppression story must be disregarded for the sake of this discussion, because while that story does show a partisan bias that skews left, it ultimately has nothing to do with why people are arguing over Facebook’s guilt.

The argument is that the network’s lack of safeguards makes it too easy for unreliable or blatantly false content to spread like wildfire, thereby influencing how people feel about an issue or a candidate and reinforcing misinformation.

On the surface, this sounds like a good point. Most of us have probably witnessed one such false story popping up on their news feed because a relative or old high school classmate shared it, and even more common is the widely believed Onion or ClickHole story about Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump doing something crazy.

But a safeguard that somehow blocks certain stories from going viral would be counterintuitive to the mission of Facebook. Rather, the social network was built to connect friends, not connect people to news.

Yes, it has since become a hub for news seekers, and “Facebook and Twitter” were undoubtedly the top responses on the News Engagement Day surveys that some of us probably took this semester.

Still, instead of pointing the finger at a website for handcuffing us when it comes to the news we encounter and read, let’s take a look in the mirror. It is our job to seek out reliable news sources, not Mark Zuckerberg’s, and it is our responsibility as students, journalists, and voters to find the information that will make us better and more informed for all aspects of life.

We need to be our own safeguards against bogus news — it’s easy, fun, and, little by little can make us a more informed electorate.

Social Media’s Blind Spot

by Brittani Rast

Social media did not predict the election results. Donald Trump has run parts of his campaign on social media, tweeting nasty things and calling out people for all types of things — twitter jabs for days. In fact, social media was far off from the outcome. Twitter and Facebook did not foresee Donald Trump winning the election. His win is being called “shocking” and “stunning” by media.  As states turned red, Canada’s immigration website was overloaded and crashed.

161109-twitter-election-feature

https://thenypost.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/161109-twitter-election-feature.jpg?quality=90&strip=all&w=664&h=441&crop=1

A lot of this has to do with us being able to limit our social circles. On social media, it’s like we live in a personal bubble. On Facebook, if you don’t like the content someone shares or the opinions they have, then you can simply block them. If blocking is too harsh, then you can unfriend them. You also have the choice of unfollowing their posts. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t block someone whose ideas genuinely hurt other people or those who are vulgar, trolling, and attacking others. It’s okay to some extent, but we sometimes take it too far. We are able to cultivate circles of peers and friends by silencing those who disagree with us. We are not growing as individuals by shutting out challenges to our beliefs.

As a result, this can lead to very biased ideas that are confirmed by chosen friends with similar ideas and beliefs. Some of us are sheltering ourselves from those whose opinions differ. You can block your gun-loving-rebel-flag-waving-uncle or the liberal-pro-lifer-feminist. There is no longer an opportunity to see the whole picture – a spectrum of beliefs. Social media should bring us closer together, but in this way it is separating us. Instead of conversation and diversity in ideas, there is a fragile bubble around us that needs to pop.

Sources:

https://www.cnet.com/news/twitter-facebook-donald-trump-hillary-clinton-president-republican-democrat/

http://nypost.com/2016/11/09/this-election-reminds-us-that-social-media-is-not-reflective-of-real-life/

 

I hate the Electoral College

There have been four presidential elections where the candidate that won the popular vote didn’t actually become president.  This was because of the Electoral College.  In order to win the presidency, candidates have to get a majority of the elector votes, or 270 out of the 538 possible.  A state has the same number of electors as it has representatives and Senators.  The minimum is three and the maximum is 54.

These electors are chosen to have the final vote in who becomes president.  Once the popular vote is counted, the electors go to the state capitals and are supposed to vote for who the people chose.  Washington D.C. and 26 states “bind” their electors, meaning the electors have to vote who the public votes for, or they would be faced with fines.  While there have been elector votes that didn’t match with what the public voted, none of these “Faithless Voters” have made large changes in elections.

The most recent election where the Electoral College votes did not match up with the popular vote was the 2000 election.  Al Gore lost to George W. Bush, with only a difference of five elector votes.  Gore won the popular vote by 500,000 votes.  How did this happen?  The states that Bush won the popular vote in ended up having more electoral votes than the ones Gore won in.  The sitting Vice President finishes the electoral meeting with announcing the president, which means that Gore had to announce that he had lost the race to Bush.

screen-shot-2016-11-06-at-11-45-35-pm
Statistics from archives.gov

Last week, The Chicago Tribune published an article saying that Donald Trump could lose this election in the same way Gore did.  In the article, they cited a calculation of NPR’s that said a candidate could have only 23% of the popular vote, but still win the Electoral College votes.  Right now, it looks like Hillary Clinton has the upper hand in states with a higher number of electors.

The Electoral College is an unnecessary middleman in the voting process in the United States.  But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t vote.  Your stance on politics won’t mean anything if you don’t vote!

This election ends on Tuesday, November 8. Be sure to get out there and vote!

By Bethany LaChance

 

 

 

The Election and Social Media

By Tyler Plato

At one point, people got their news from newspapers. Then radios and television came along and people got their news even faster. Now there’s social media. A study was done back in July by the Pew Research Center that said almost 1/4 of American adults went to social media to get news and the latest info on the election. I am honestly surprised that number isn’t higher.

Todays society is based around social media. 15 years ago people didn’t have to worry about social media or what they posted because it didn’t exist. Now if you want to get a good job or if you want to build a company, you make sure that you have a strong social media presence. With the election going on, you can practically know what each candidate is doing 24 hours a day. This is a good and bad thing. Its good because you know when and where the person your voting for will be and if they have something important to say, you will be the first to know. It’s bad because if they make one mistake it will come back to bite them in the ass.

Social media is forever. People sometimes forget that when they post something on Facebook or Twitter. With the election going on, everything is fair game. No matter what you did or how long ago it was, if you posted something or there is a recording of you doing/saying something stupid, it will come up. A perfect example is the recording of Donald Trump saying lewd things about women and bragging or taking advantage of women is extremely bad. Now with Hillary Clinton, she has been in the American and

Photo by AM Strategies

political eye for a multitude of years. Everything she has said that might conflict with what she is saying now is coming to light and this whole email scandal is not helping her either. You can find all of the information about this on social media or on the internet somewhere. Every time she made a comment about this, everybody knew, every time the F.B.I made a comment on it or when she was at a hearing, everybody knew. For her to get past all of this and still be in contention to be the president is commendable.

Now this election is going to be over in a couple of days but it will take weeks, maybe months, before it ends on social media. No matter who wins, the people that supported the loser will go on Facebook, Twitter, and whatever else they can find and say that the system is “rigged” and that their candidate should have one and will protest the new president. I have done my very best to keep my political stance off of social media because I have friends that support both candidates and I know if I say something that supports one side more than the other, I will get a bashing. I also know that if I can stay somewhat neutral and not say anything that will make me look bad, it will help down the road when I am applying to get a job.

References:

Carey, Matthew. “How Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton Are Changing the Social Media Game.” Retrieved 2016, from http://www.dailynews.com/government-and-politics/20161105/how-donald-trump-and-hillary-clinton-are-changing-the-social-media-game

Blackbourn, Anne. “How Social Media Made Waves in the 2016 Election.” Retrieved 2016, from https://badgerherald.com/news/2016/11/04/how-social-media-made-waves-in-the-2016-election/

Cyber Bullying in the Post-Trump World

by Tyler Hicks

@QuickThicks

In a speech so ironic it would have inspired Alanis Morissette update her classic track, potential First Lady Melania Trump (now that’s a weird thought) called for an end to cyber bulling.

“Our culture has gotten too mean,” she said. She focused on young children who were being singled out for torment in the classroom: “They are hurt when they are made fun of, or made to feel less in looks and intelligence.”

Of course, her husband’s candidacy has been based on bullying and ostracizing others, be they Muslim, Mexican or a fellow Republican nominee. Not to mention, of course, his primary opponent: Mrs. Clinton.

As pointed out by Michelle Cottle in an exemplary article in The Atlantic, a victory by the former Secretary of State would usher in an era of bold misogyny unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.

For some, hating Mrs. Clinton is some sort of odd national pastime, and this election cycle has been rife with the sort of unabashed sexism that Cottle refers to throughout the piece.

One need only to attend a Trump rally (a big ask, I know) to see this sexism firsthand. There’s the oh-so-clever campaign button that reads “Life’s a B—– — don’t vote for one,” the signs that declare the race as a contest of “Trump vs. Tramp” and the dishearteningly vigorous chants of “Trump that B—-!”

If this is all done in public in front of cameras and that villainous media Trump loves to single out, it’s difficult to even begin to think about what is happening in the dark corners of the internet.

Melania Trump was right (another weird thing to say) even without plagiarizing Michelle Obama: We need to end cyber bullying, because it’s only going to get worse.

In public, we’re bound to hear lots of questions about President Clinton’s leadership acumen, or her doubts about whether she is really up to the task whenever a crisis occurs. But in private, on Twitter and less regulated internet forums, the abuse will be much worse for Mrs. Clinton and all other women thanks to those emboldened by Trump’s incendiary campaign.

If you see sexism happening anywhere in private or in public, call it out. Furthermore, do whatever you can to make sure the abuser faces the necessary consequences, even if a revocation of a Twitter profile is unlikely. It has happened before, and if the firestorm of hatred during a Clinton presidency is like anything we’ve seen during the Obama administration, it probably will need to happen again.

Three three days before the election, Melania Trump has reminded us of a large problem we need to deal with. Let’s start by making sure her husband loses, then get to work dealing with his minions.