The Electoral College over time

by WCE

After Trump’s strong showing in the Rust Belt, I thought about how the electoral college has changed over time. When my kids asked whether New York or Texas had more electoral votes, we had to look it up — it turns out Texas is way ahead, and New York is tied with Florida.

This link projects changes for 2020 that reflect ongoing Rust Belt emigration and population increases in Texas (3!), Colorado, Florida, California, North Carolina and maybe Virginia, Oregon and Arizona.

Updated 2020 Reapportionment Projections

This link shows the electoral college and how each state voted over time. I was surprised to learn that Kansas and California each had 10 electoral votes for the 1908 election and Florida had only 5. New York’s share of the U.S. population peaked in the 1930’s and 1940’s, when it had 47 electoral votes. I find the chart fascinating and I also admire the wisdom of the Founding Fathers for creating a system that added (later apportioned) electors based on a census every decade.

Historical Timeline

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150 thoughts on “The Electoral College over time

  1. I also admire the wisdom of the Founding Fathers for creating a system that added (later apportioned) electors based on a census every decade.

    What’s wrong with one man one vote? Is it fair that voters in Wyoming get 2.5 times as many votes for president as voters in California?

  2. Rhett – If your number of electors is equal to the number of House members and Senate members from your state, then aren’t they just as disproportionally represented in every vote in Congress?

  3. Because we’re a federation of states.

    That doesn’t necessitate voters in some states having vastly more say at the federal level than voters in other states.

  4. They don’t have vastly more say. The states you’re thinking of only have three Electoral votes. It all depends on how you look at it.

    The individual voters only have as much power to vote for the President as their own state government chooses to give them. We have no Constitutional right to choose our President.

  5. then aren’t they just as disproportionally represented in every vote in Congress?

    Well, no. According to Google, Wyoming has a population of 584,000 which means each of the 3 electors represents ~195,000 people. California has 38.8 million people so each of its 55 electors represents ~705,000 people. Each person in WY has 3.6x more influence on the outcome vs those in CA.

    In Congress (House of Reps): WY has 1 vote for 584k people; CA has 1 vote for every 732k people (53 reps)…a much closer level, though each WY person has ~1.25x the power of a CA person.

    The Senate is completely disproportional, intentionally, since each state gets 2.

  6. “Yes they do. See Fred’s comment.”

    I well understand the math. But their state only has 3 Electoral votes, compared to 54 for CA. That’s why I’m saying that it depends on how you look at it. From the viewpoint of the specific interests of their state, they don’t have a lot of pull.

  7. Fred – by WY has 3 in Congress (2 Senate 1 House) and 3 electors. My point, is if the total electors per state is the same as the total Congressional representation (both houses), then why aren’t we complaining about the disproportionate representation in Congress?

  8. , then why aren’t we complaining about the disproportionate representation in Congress?

    I am. One man one vote.

  9. I’m a fan of the electoral college and primary delegates – I think it’s a feature not a bug. I think if NY and California decided every national election you’d have a lot of unhappy people in the south and middle of the country. I think it’s good for both sides to get their way every so often.

  10. I think if NY and California decided every national election you’d have a lot of unhappy people in the south and middle of the country.

    Why? They would get just as much say as the folks in CA or NY. What you’re saying is folks in the south and middle of the country deserve more say than people in CA or NY. Why do they deserve more say? Why should their votes count more than the votes of other Americans?

  11. “Why do they deserve more say?”

    Because in a federation of states, we presume that their respective states have unique interests that might easily be drowned out if elections were based strictly on population.

  12. we presume that their respective states have unique interests that might easily be drowned out if elections were based strictly on population.

    And I say, one man one vote.

  13. Rhett – My point is, I don’t hear much outcry for changing how we are represented in Congress. Yes, I know you are, but at a level that it might change. This only seems to come up every 4 years.

  14. Rhett – My point is, I don’t hear much outcry for changing how we are represented in Congress.

    There is zero chance of it changing so it’s not really worth arguing about. That ship sailed in 1789.

  15. I am not a state, and my state does not necessarilly determine my interests. The Electoral College is a system for privileging one type of voter (people who live in small population states) over another. type of voter. Why not also privilege black people, or over 65 people? Why privilege people based on the state they live in?

    And it isn’t just the Electoral College. The Senate virtually guarantees that our policies will be warped to reflect the interests of people who happen to live in low population states over people who live in high population states. It is increasingly an untenable system, and the huge gap in popular vote counts shows that.

    The NYTimes had an excellent article on all the ways that rural voters are privileged over urban voters
    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/21/upshot/as-american-as-apple-pie-the-rural-votes-disproportionate-slice-of-power.html?_r=0

  16. I think the problem is that there are only a handful of states like North Carolina. I’ve been following that race for NC governor, and I think the election for governor reflects how close some of our presidential elections would be if it was all based on a national popular vote. The issues and the reasons why certain people are voting for each candidate in NC seem to reflect many issues on the national level.

    I think it is easy for someone like Milo to “like” the electoral college because his vote counts every time in a national election. The reason is that his state is considered a battle ground and every vote counts.

    It can be frustrating for those of us that live in CA, NY, MA and a few other states because our votes rarely ever count during the national election. In addition, there are a lot of us with similar views living in the same states, and most of these same states are also losing out on the amount of taxes they send to DC vs. what is sent back home. Almost every article that I have read post election states that people voted based on their level of education, and those same people are clustered into many of the states.

    It is fascinating to me that so many red states get so much more federal money vs. what they contribute, but they don’t want a “big” federal government.

    I am not saying that the outcome wouldn’t have been the same with a popular vote. I think Trump is right that he would have pushed more people in rural areas of the traditional blue states like CA and NY to vote to get more popular votes. The outcome of Brexit was based on a popular vote, and they got the numbers they needed by insuring that their voters got to the polls. I just think that if another 20 years go by and we continue to see the winner of the popular vote continue to lose elections, then change should be considered.

  17. I have been arguing for years that the system is unfair. During the 2009/2010 battle over the ACA, I saw how it was warped to gain the votes of influential senators – Democrats, in fact – from rural states. That is when I realized that the entire system is stacked against urban voters.

  18. Rhett, I think there is increasing awareness, and even rage, over the election gap this time. I hear it bubbling up in particular from some black friends of mine who live in the Bronx. They had made some effort to get to the polls this time, and were blindsided by how little their votes counted.

  19. The power of small population states is a big reason why Republicans won’t engage at all with the problems of people in the cities. They don’t care because they don’t have to care.

  20. One could argue that the Democrats lost the electoral vote and won the popular vote because they campaigned inefficiently. Given the system that is in place, candidates don’t get more electoral votes if they win a state by a greater margin, or get a share of the electoral votes if they lose by a smaller margin. So republicans don’t campaign in California and I don’t believe democrats campaign in Texas.

    If the popular vote mattered, the campaign would have been different. Almost assuredly the vote totals would have been different and no one knows who would have one the popular vote in that situation. So, it’s not clear what the Democrat’s point is. Is it, that they didn’t understand the rules of the election and campaigned assuming that different rules would hold if they lost?

  21. So here’s an idea…how about more states choose to assign/award their electoral vote like Maine & Nebraska do? Two of the votes, i.e. the “Senate” votes, go to whichever candidate wins the state and the other votes, the “House” votes, are awarded by Congressional district?

    In the blue states (e.g. CA, NY) it would mean Hillary would have gotten fewer electoral votes and in red states (e.g. FL, PA, OH, MI, WI), she would have gotten more. I don’t know if such a method would have resulted in a different outcome, but it would have the effect of putting a lot more places into play vs the relatively few battleground states we have now.

  22. My objection is not on how the campaigns are run. Of course they would run differently if we used popular vote (or at least got rid of winner take all). The campaigns would be BETTER because the candidates would have to address the concerns of the majority of people rather than just the concerns of people in swing states and small population states.

  23. I just think that if another 20 years go by and we continue to see the winner of the popular vote continue to lose elections, then change should be considered.

    That would indicate that we need the Electoral College more than ever. But in a practical sense, it wouldn’t change until it affected both parties. Even still, it’s hard to imagine that a Constitutional amendment would ever get support from a sufficient number of small states AND swing states.

  24. Rhett, I think there is increasing awareness, and even rage, over the election gap this time.

    It doesn’t matter, it can’t be changed in practice.

    blockquote>Article V

    The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.

    And the states with small populations will never approve. Their advantage is baked into the system.

  25. “and most of these same states are also losing out on the amount of taxes they send to DC vs. what is sent back home”

    Affluent people “lose out” on taxes. It has nothing to do with state of residence.

  26. It is fascinating to me that so many red states get so much more federal money vs. what they contribute, but they don’t want a “big” federal government.

    I wonder how much of this is related to the amount of land held by the federal government, which would skew both the federal money that goes to those states and reduces the economic opportunity in those states. The federal government is generally a terrible neighbor and it is easy to see how more interactions with it would make one want significantly less big federal government.

  27. “It is increasingly an untenable system, and the huge gap in popular vote counts shows that.”

    If you go by number of runs scored, Cleveland won the World Series. Why is it untenable?

  28. That would indicate that we need the Electoral College more than ever.

    You haven’t explained why you think that. You’ve given the reason: That’s the way it is. But, if you were building a system from scratch is that how you would structure it?

  29. I wonder how much of this is related to the amount of land held by the federal government,

    I think it has to do with rural people not being aware of all their federal subsidies. Rural electrification, rural telecommunications, rural highway funding, rural mail delivery, etc. All exist at their current prices due to massive subsidies to rural people.

  30. Milo, because a baseball game isn’t all that important in the end. Government policies affect people’s lives. People need to have fair representation. It isn’t a game.

  31. Cordelia – Presidential candidates who are unlikely to win a state, such as a Democrat in Texas or Republican in California, still have supporters and donors in those states. I don’t think they can ignore them and still win overall.

    In addition, from the Party’s perspective, they need to grow their candidates over time and need support from the local to state to national offices. While the president is important, a lot of decisions made at the state and local level often have a more immediate effect on my life.

  32. I also think that as the US population has shifted heavily to densely populated areas, the discrepancies have gotten more and more out of whack. If the Founding Fathers had seen how urban our nation became, they might not have chosen this system

  33. Rhett – I’ve already said that I agree with the idea that, based on the fact that the country is a federation of states, the system should look out for the specific concerns of the smaller states.

    As for Lauren’s comment about red states getting more money, is it really saying that the states are getting more money (rural electrification, highways, etc.) or is it that the average/median resident is collecting a higher ratio of federal benefits (Medicare) compared to lifetime contributions? In other words, is it just based on the fact that NY and MA have more wealthy people?

  34. “People need to have fair representation.”

    It was determined over two hundred years ago that they do.

    “Affluent people “lose out” on taxes.

    Which you generally oppose”

    It’s a matter of degree. We’re going to lose out no matter what, and we’re lucky to be in a position to do so. By how much is the pertinent question.

  35. “I also think that as the US population has shifted heavily to densely populated areas”

    I don’t know that this is actually true. It’s become more suburban. Both rural areas and actual urban areas have lost their proportional shares.

  36. I’ve already said that I agree with the idea that, based on the fact that the country is a federation of states

    My question basically is, does your thinking come down to you being a Jeffersonian who feels that the opinions of rural people should count for more as they are real Americans?

  37. The suburbs are the vast gloms surrounding the cities, and are part of the city ecosystem. The voters in the suburbs of NY are just as disenfranchised as the voters in the Bronx.

  38. Jefferson was a Virginian, which, at the time, was one of the large states, and it favored proportional representation.

    The original states, particularly the southern ones, had land claims extending westward, essentially to the Pacific. And just imagine if W.Va hadn’t split off around the Civil War. Virginia would be enormous, and presumably quite a bit redder, with 18 electoral votes. The state politics would likely push a lot of Northern Virginia liberals across the Potomac.

  39. Jefferson was a Virginian, which, at the time, was one of the large states, and it favored proportional representation.

    Because he felt rural people’s opinions should count for more. Do you agree?

  40. I think our suburbs are growing into the rural areas. 20 years ago, McKinney was a small rural town 30 minutes away from Dallas. Now it is considered a suburb within the MSA as the area between Plano and McKinney has been developed. See similar trends in Orlando area and Atlanta’s northern suburbs, among others. On the election map I looked at, it seemed like in Houston, Austin, Dallas, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, the “urban” core went democratic and everything outside of it went republican in the areas considered rural and/or exurban. Could be another contributor to the echo bubble many people are living in.

  41. “Because he felt rural people’s opinions should count for more. Do you agree?”

    I’m not sure I know enough about him to say.

  42. In a battleground state like mine, I do feel that my vote counts. I don’t want the candidates on either side to take me for granted. That said, I like that the campaign is over.
    As for the battle royale for governorship here, the marathon not the race is still on.

  43. I’m not sure I know enough about him to say.

    Then I’ll rephrase. Do you think rural voter should count more than urban or suburban votes?

  44. So here’s an idea…how about more states choose to assign/award their electoral vote like Maine & Nebraska do? Two of the votes, i.e. the “Senate” votes, go to whichever candidate wins the state and the other votes, the “House” votes, are awarded by Congressional district?

    That would take even more areas “out of play”. Colorado is a swing state, but most (if not all) of the congressional districts are pretty solidly red or blue. So there would only be the 2 overall votes in play instead of 9 like there are now. The candidates would focus on the 50 or so districts that would be in play. At least now even though there aren’t that many states in play, they have to work the entire state.

  45. I don’t live in a battleground state and if how much my vote for president counts were very important to me, I could move to Wyoming.

    I don’t know if the Founding Fathers got it totally right- certainly no one knew in 1789 how urban and populated the United States would become- but they had studied history, particularly Roman history, enough to be afraid of the instability associated with direct democracy. It’s easy to forget that the United States was an experiment in government that was a follow-on to the divine right of kings. We didn’t guillotine people like the French. As a person who loves making systems work, I have a lot of admiration for what they did, even if the system isn’t perfect for all times and places.

  46. “Do you think rural voter should count more than urban or suburban votes?”

    Not specifically by design, but if that’s the way it works out, then I don’t have a problem with it. Delaware is a state with three electoral votes and fewer than a million people.

  47. “the “Senate” votes, go to whichever candidate wins the state and the other votes, the “House” votes, are awarded by Congressional district?

    That would take even more areas “out of play”. Colorado is a swing state, but most (if not all) of the congressional districts are pretty solidly red or blue.”

    Or you could just award a portion of electors based on the portion of the state’s popular vote, without regard to geographic distribution.

  48. I was busy getting my teeth drilled, so it’s taken me a while to chime in. I was sure I would come back to this conversation and find that y’all had gotten to this —

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Popular_Vote_Interstate_Compact

    There is a way to bypass the electoral college, and it is not that difficult. “The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC) is an agreement among a group of U.S. states and the District of Columbia to award all their respective electoral votes to whichever presidential candidate wins the overall popular vote in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The compact is designed to ensure that the candidate who wins the most popular votes is elected president, and it will come into effect only when it will guarantee that outcome.As of 2016, it has been adopted by ten states and the District of Columbia. Together, they have 165 electoral votes, which is 30.7% of the total Electoral College and 61.1% of the votes needed to give the compact legal force.”

    So, just get another 100ish electoral votes to sign on and it’s done. No amendment necessary.

  49. “So, just get another 100ish electoral votes to sign on and it’s done. No amendment necessary.”

    It works mathematically, but it’s not going to happen, and if it did, it’s legally fraught because it’s unbinding.

  50. I don’t live in a battleground state and if how much my vote for president counts were very important to me, I could move to Wyoming.

    Your vote wouldn’t matter there. Wyoming hasn’t gone Democratic since 1964, and is consistently 65% or higher to the Republicans.

  51. I grew up in a small state that ALWAYS has gone red, with electoral votes you can count on one hand. I think it’s a terrible system. The nearly 20 years I lived there, there was never a campaign visit by a presidential candidate, never a fundraiser, never a speech between elections. Not once. Because we really, really didn’t matter. (Dan Quayle came once). This past election season, a few candidates made a pass through – because the democratic primary was so contentious, I suppose. The few electoral votes are taken for granted (a historically valid assumption).

    I have always rankled at the disproportionate impact voters in New Hampshire and Iowa have on choosing candidates, as if the corn farmer’s concerns are so much more valid than the cherry farmer, or the sugar beet farmer. Shaking hands with the rugged individuals in the northeast and listening to their concerns in coffee shops is a much higher impact activity that shaking hands with the rugged individuals in the mountain west and hearing their concerns in coffee shops.

    I know y’all get tired of the traffic, the phone calls, the election ads. However, a good chunk of America exists where those things don’t happen (at least for federal office).

  52. Milo, it is legally binding. Realistically it will never happen as you pointed out, but it is has been signed into law in those states.

  53. “it is has been signed into law in those states”

    That’s almost meaningless. It affects a federal election, but there’s no federal law supporting or enforcing it. At any point in time, one of the states and/or its electors can decide not to honor it.

  54. I think that the way the Constitution was written is inherently and intentionally unfair both in the electoral college and the fact that two Senators represent each state. I think that times have changed since the late 1700’s and that the Federal government has and should have more power than it did at the time that the Constitution was written and ratified. I think that the power balance being tipped to small population states is a bug, not a feature. (And FWIW, I have lived in both.) But I don’t really see it realistically changing.

  55. Agree with Ivy. I am currently trying to stay away from the news (not easy) bc it is making me upset. :(

  56. But the power balance isn’t being tipped to small population states. Total electoral votes matter. All of the power lies in the “swing states” which seem to somewhat represent both urban and rural populations. PA, VA & NC are both big states with a lot of rural in between a few cities.

  57. “I have always rankled at the disproportionate impact voters in New Hampshire and Iowa have on choosing candidates”

    I totally agree. It annoys me every 4 years, and skews policy (ethanol).

  58. That’s almost meaningless. It affects a federal election, but there’s no federal law supporting or enforcing it. At any point in time, one of the states and/or its electors can decide not to honor it.

    States decide how to apportion their electors, and those states have signed into law that they will do this. Until those states repeal those laws, it is legally binding for those states. It has nothing to do with federal law.

  59. Does anything stop a state from changing its law after the popular vote and before the electoral college vote?

  60. Does anything stop a state from changing its law after the popular vote and before the electoral college vote?

    There is nothing stopping 90% of the electors from voting for HRC. I think only a small percentage are covered by faithless elector laws.

  61. Actually it looks like half the states have faithless elector laws but some of them just have $500/$1000 fines.

  62. “But the power balance isn’t being tipped to small population states. Total electoral votes matter. All of the power lies in the “swing states” which seem to somewhat represent both urban and rural populations. PA, VA & NC are both big states with a lot of rural in between a few cities.”

    Just because Wyoming is solidly red doesn’t negate the fact that the proportion of electoral votes to population is the smallest in the country. Wyoming also has fewer than a million people but still has TWO senators just like California.

  63. “Or you could just award a portion of electors based on the portion of the state’s popular vote, without regard to geographic distribution.”

    I like this idea, perhaps combined with two electors/state being awarded to the overall state winner. It eliminates the influence of gerrymandering, puts individual votes back into play, and also gives third party candidates a better shot at getting some of the electoral votes.

  64. The constitution can be amended but never is. It is just too hard to amend or people are just blowing off steam.

  65. “Wyoming also has fewer than a million people but still has TWO senators just like California.”

    On top of which, the seniority system can give senators from small states even more power than those from larger states. We were the beneficiary of that for many years, with our former senior senator whose name none of the national media seemed to be able to pronounce.

  66. Finn – his name was, I guess, seemingly harder to pronounce than some others from just looking at its spelling. But, really, I don’t get how so many people can’t / don’t want to try to sound out “foreign sounding” names and can’t even come close.

  67. The problem I have with the system is that it has been co-opted to be precisely what it was designed not to be. The original intent was pretty damn elitist — to protect the country from the ignorance of the unwashed masses, by making sure that those masses could choose only the person who chooses for them; the actual decision would be made by the dispassionate, educated elector, who would evaluate the candidates and platforms and make a decision based on reasoning instead of emotions, party ties, illegal schemes, etc. The *number* of electors was based on the large-state, small-state compromise (with of course North-South disparities weighing in what kind of compromise could get approved), but the *point* of having electors was the very kind of elitism that tends to be used as an epithet.

    But now with the party system, we are not electing independent “deciders”; we are electing party-line representatives to pull a pre-designated lever. And when each elector votes party line instead of exercising independent judgment, you are no longer insulating the election from the passions of the unwashed masses — you are in fact enshrining those passions, on a state by state basis, as the electors become mere mouthpieces for the majority within each state. Except that instead of being truly democratic, you now have the built-in extra weighing for smaller states. And as an added bonus, the party-line approach means the relative numbers of electors given to an individual state matters more (because when you are electing educated, dispassionate electors, you can end up with many different views and choices even within the same state, which dilutes the power of a specific state’s interests; that, by definition, doesn’t happen when the whole state votes as a block). So it is now functionally purely democratic, but with a more distinct thumb on the scale for smaller states.

    In other words, if the perceived value of the electoral college was to protect against the will of the masses, the party system has eradicated that benefit. Now we have the kind of “real” democracy the founders were scared of, with the added drawback that some votes count more than others.

    Per Wikipedia: “Some states reasoned that the favorite presidential candidate among the people in their state would have a much better chance if all of the electors selected by their state were sure to vote the same way – a “general ticket” of electors pledged to a party candidate.[30] So the slate of electors chosen by the state were no longer free agents, independent thinkers, or deliberative representatives. They became “voluntary party lackeys and intellectual non-entities.”[31] Once one state took that strategy, the others felt compelled to follow suit in order to compete for the strongest influence on the election.[30]

    When James Madison and Hamilton, two of the most important architects of the Electoral College, saw this strategy being taken by some states, they protested strongly. Madison and Hamilton both made it clear this approach violated the spirit of the Constitution. According to Hamilton, the selection of the president should be “made by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station [of president].”[28] According to Hamilton, the electors were to analyze the list of potential presidents and select the best one. He also used the term “deliberate.” Hamilton considered a pre-pledged elector to violate the spirit of Article II of the Constitution insofar as such electors could make no “analysis” or “deliberate” concerning the candidates. Madison agreed entirely, saying that when the Constitution was written, all of its authors assumed individual electors would be elected in their districts and it was inconceivable a “general ticket” of electors dictated by a state would supplant the concept. . . .

    The founders assumed that electors would be elected by the citizens of their district and that elector was to be free to analyze and deliberate regarding who is best suited to be president.”

  68. One thing that I do think is cool about the electoral college is that Wyoming gets representation even though a large chunk of their land is really federal national parks, national forest and reservations that can’t be developed. It wouldn’t be so easy if the state government wanted to encourage a lot of development, and grow their population. I think that Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons each receive 4- 5 million visitors each year.

  69. The founders assumed that electors would be elected by the citizens of their district and that elector was to be free to analyze and deliberate regarding who is best suited to be president.”

    Then the voting for the electors should happen before the campaign. The only way for that to happen is to move to a parliamentary style system.

  70. “Then the voting for the electors should happen before the campaign.”

    Or the campaign should be for the electors.

  71. I agree that when we complain or debate about the Electoral College, what we’re really debating is the method of apportionment rather than the body itself, or the actual process of election.

  72. Or the campaign should be for the electors.

    I don’t see how that could work if we knew who was running. You’d have to have the vote for the electors take place before the primary.

  73. “Or the campaign should be for the electors”

    which is, in fact, what happens in some states during the primaries. The voter is not voting for Crooked Hillary, Lyin’ Ted, Jeb!, Little Marco, etc.; they are voting for a delegate who will support a specific candidate.

  74. You know how some have been running around yelling that democracy is dead? I think we actually now have a democracy when we weren’t supposed to and it has screwed us! If we aren’t going to use the electoral college for its intended purpose (and we won’t because the true Americans in the middle of our country would lose it), we should get rid of it.

  75. “which is, in fact, what happens in some states during the primaries. The voter is not voting for Crooked Hillary, Lyin’ Ted, Jeb!, Little Marco, etc.; they are voting for a delegate who will support a specific candidate.”

    My comment was a followup on Rhett’s, which followed LfB’s, which brought up the election of electors not committed to a certain candidate, so your example is of a different system.

  76. Wyoming is 48% federal land. Not so different than California (46%) or Oregon (53%). Much less than Nevada (85%). The amount of land held by the federal government is not stifling Wyoming’s growth. I would argue that it is that harsh climate and the lack of jobs/industry that keeps it from being Colorado Norte. Maybe there is another reason – no private schools to spend your vouchers on? Conservative climate? the wind?

  77. “I agree that when we complain or debate about the Electoral College, what we’re really debating is the method of apportionment rather than the body itself, or the actual process of election.”

    Not necessarily.

    I think there are some who would advocate getting rid of the actual college, and have voters vote directly for their states’ electoral votes.

  78. “I grew up in a small state that ALWAYS has gone red, with electoral votes you can count on one hand. I think it’s a terrible system. The nearly 20 years I lived there, there was never a campaign visit by a presidential candidate, never a fundraiser, never a speech between elections. Not once. Because we really, really didn’t matter. (Dan Quayle came once).”

    I can empathize. We don’t have candidates come here either, other than Obama coming here in 2008, but that trip had nothing to do with the campaign.

    OTOH, due to our location, we’ve had presidential stopovers, typically on the way to some Asian country, and of course Obama loves to come back home.

  79. For the near term, he’s got no plans to leave Washington.

    It is an interesting cultural shift. Barron isn’t moving to DC as they don’t want him to have to switch schools and that’s the same reason the Obamas are staying in DC. I can’t imagine the thought ever even occurred to Nixon, Carter, Kennedy, etc.

  80. Very good points, Rhett.

    Maybe Trump should lease the White House to the Obamas for the first year or two.

  81. Rhett, Nixon’s kids were older – weren’t they college age? And JFK’s kids were too small to be in school. I think Amy Carter did switch schools though. SHe ended up going to a public school in DC.

  82. MM,

    Even if they had been school age, can you imagine Nixon telling Pat is was OK to stay back in CA? I guess JFK might have been OK with Jackie back in MA…but for other reasons.

  83. Yeah, poor Pat was kind of a doormat. But I think the whole thing with Melania staying in NYC looks bad. It is just poor optics. I had heard that Michelle considered staying in Chicago for the kids to finish school, but decided against it for precisely that reason – it didn’t look good. I think it is worse for Melania since she was so much a nonentity in the campaign. You start wondering about the state of their marriage…

  84. You start wondering about the state of their marriage…

    Is anyone going to be surprised or care that he dumps #3 for a 25 yo #4?

  85. I think she would like to dump him. There’s no way she ever imagined being trapped in the DC bubble. I once heard Michelle Obama say that she just wants to be able to open a window when she wants fresh air.

    I don’t think Melania is doing the right thing because it’s expensive and disruptive to two very crowded cities. If they “commute”, it going to impact flights in DC and NY. There’s already a big traffic issue in NY from Trump, and it will get worse if he goes back and forth several times a week.

  86. If he was a couple years older, I would think the solution would be boarding school for Barron. I don’t think Melania has the least interest in playing a role at all in the White House. What would we do if the President was single or a widower? Wouldn’t White House staff just host the events?

  87. “I don’t think Melania has the least interest in playing a role at all in the White House. What would we do if the President was single or a widower? Wouldn’t White House staff just host the events?”

    My guess is that Ivanka will play a pretty prominent role.

  88. Yeah, I expect Ivanka to be the primary hostess.

    Is anyone going to be surprised or care that he dumps #3 for a 25 yo #4?

    That’s just Trump being smart.

  89. “What would we do if the President was single or a widower?”

    James Buchanan was a bachelor.

  90. I read what Rosie O’Donnell brought up about Barron Trump over the weekend and I was wondering if that is the case for Melania wanting to continue on in NYC.
    As far as schools are concerned Sidwell seems to be the choice because everything is already in place for the President’s kids.
    I read that Amy Carter didn’t like the school she was sent to.

  91. “Eisen views the current situation as dire. If Trump is permitted to be sworn in as president without selling his companies, he says, the country is facing a “wholesale oligarchic kleptocracy of a kind that we have never seen before in our history.”

    How did we end up with this guy, anyway?

  92. “My guess is that Ivanka will play a pretty prominent role.”
    While running the family businesses, of course. How convenient – she can make high level contacts as First Lady/Daughter, and then continue with those contacts as CEO-Designate

  93. Several friends of mine with autistic kids say they have heard that Barron is autistic. Which is fine, but again, from an optics POV, they would be better off going public, and then Melania could be an advocate for autism research or some such.

  94. The optics on Ivanka as White House hostess/CEO of the Trump companies is way worse than having no First Lady at all…

  95. I think Trump’s other daughter Tiffany could do the White House hostess role. Her older siblings are in the company businesses aren’t they ?

  96. I get the distinct impression that the Donald does not care for Tiffany. Maybe she is autistic too?

  97. I’ve heard/seen Tiffany in television interviews. She isn’t autistic. She graduated from Penn and she seemed bright I the interview that I saw on TV.

    Isn’t it possible that they just don’t know each other well enough to be close? His divorce to her mom was ugly and she grew up in LA.

    I heard that B is special needs. I bet Melania is protective of him because he can’t just be dropped into a Sidwell.

  98. I haven’t been paying attention to Trump’s little boy, but why not let his mom figure out what living and school situation would be best for him without feeling compelled to go public and become an advocate if that’s not her calling? Lord knows that the autism world is not lacking for advocates. Trump’s son will have enough to deal with without turning him into a literal poster child. The press did a great job leaving Obama’s girls alone, and surely they will do the same with Barron.

  99. The problem is the enormous extra expense of maintaing two secure White Houses, if they choose not to move to Washington, plus the weird visuals. If they move in the summer, it won’t be a biggie, but if it goes on, there are going to be lots of rumors. Coming clean, as did Betty Ford, is just the best way to silence people. Melania doesn’t have to be an advocate of course – but they could just say “Our son is autistic (or whatever it is) and his needs are best met in his home in New York. We sympathize with all parents who are working hard to care for their autistic (insert dx) children, and like them, ask for privacy for our son”. Or something like that.

    Article today in NYTimes on what it is taking to maintain security at Trump Tower. It is very disuptive. They also close down the Lincoln Tunnel every time he goes to his NJ golf course.
    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/11/28/us/trump-tower-security.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=b-lede-package-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

    I just don’t know how long this can go on for.

  100. “I just don’t know how long this can go on for.”

    For four (or eight) years, if that’s what he wants.

  101. The problem is the enormous extra expense of maintaing two secure White Houses

    The expense couldn’t possibly be more inconsequential. Also, discussing Barron really isn’t appropriate. Whatever he is, it’s none of our business.

  102. We don’t have to discuss his kids, but the situation with the extra expense to NY taxpayers is not inconsequential. There is no decision yet about whether the federal government will be able to fully reimburse the city and the state. Also, you don’t live here, near or even close to any airports and roads in NYC. It’s easy to think it is no big deal when you live 100s of miles away, but as someone that has recently lived through road closures and delays from two candidates being nearby…I can tell you that it is not inconsequential. I’ve lived in both cities, and midtown Manhattan is not set up to be White House #2. There is absolutely little to no notice about complete highway closures due to security concerns. You can be delayed for hours waiting for their transportation to arrive, or take off at an airport.

    There is no equivalent of Andrews here, and if he “commutes” to/from NYC on a weekly basis, it will cause a lot of delays on the roads and in the air.

  103. Lauren – I’m not disagreeing with that; I’m saying that if it’s what Trump wants to do, New Yorkers are just going to have to get used to it. And regardless of whether he returns every weekend, or some weekends, or less frequently, the Tower and surrounding streets are going to be secured for a while — possibly the rest of his and Melania’s lives.

    Too bad everyone snickered at George Bush clearing brush and playing around on his ranch in Crawford, TX.

    At least it was less disruptive.

  104. I agree with Mooshi and Lauren on the disruption factor. We had both candidates visiting quite a bit here and they gave you a date and a time window of several hours but not their route. I was once caught in traffic due to Presiddnt Obsmas visit and just wished he wouldn’t visit during rush hour (and our rush hour is nowhere near big city normal traffic).
    I can imagine the gridlock due to road closures in NYC.

  105. Also, I think the NYPD has something like 35,000 officers. It’s manpower is similar to the entire U.S. Coast Guard. Mooshi’s article dramatically complains that 50!!! have been assigned to Trump protection.

  106. I agree with Mooshi and Lauren on the disruption factor.

    I’ll add another ditto. When Bush was president, he came to town for a private fundraiser. The motorcade went right by my office at the time. They shut down major roads for hours and it turned 30 minute commutes into 2-3 hour commutes for a whole lot of people. I was one of the “lucky” lucky ones and I was only a half hour late picking DS up at school.

  107. I am sure that the cost of protecting the Obama’s empty house in Chicago for the last 8 years has also been millions of dollars. This is what the secret service does.

  108. Milo,

    Speaking of W. I was watching House Hunters the other night and the buyer said, “With prices rising the way they are, if we don’t buy now we’ll never be able to buy.” Which was one of the chief drivers of the financial crisis. Folks know nothing and learn nothing.

  109. The last time I watched HH, they were in Michigan looking at a typical, large’ish suburban house. It had the two-story foyer they wanted, but it was insufficiently grand. They also wanted hardwood, not the tile that was in the foyer. The main floor had hardwood, but it wasn’t their preferred shade. The upstairs had carpet, which would need to be ripped out and replaced with hardwood. And the basement already had hardwood, but they didn’t want hardwood in a basement because it’s too cold, so that would need to be replaced with carpet.

    Also, the house was way too close to their $350k max budget.

  110. Milo, HH wouldn’t be entertaining if the buyers were all, “Well, it’s not my favorite decor, but it’s fine, we’ll take it.”

  111. Some HGTV show over the weekend (maybe Property Brothers?) had the most manic wife I’ve ever seen. She was a physician but she seemed to be unable to dial her voice down to below a shriek and literally leapt all over the place all the time. I wanted to knock her unconscious and give her some IV Valium.

  112. She was a physician but she seemed to be unable to dial her voice down to below a shriek and literally leapt all over the place all the time

    Was she the single orthopedic surgeon out in the mid or mountain west?

  113. Totally off-topic: does anyone have any experience with damage to cartilage in the rib cage? I.e., how to take care of it, how long should it take to heal, when should I go see a specialist and is there even anything they could do? I pulled something in my back a week and a half ago but assumed it was a muscle that was over-tight from crossfit, and then a few days later I sneezed and ended up in the freaking ER, it just hurt so. damn. bad. (Ahh, the joys of getting old: How did you do this? Well, the first time, I was sitting in a chair; the second time I sneezed. Fun times.). The ER said inflamed cartilage and gave me shots of steroids and anti-inflammatories (and for the trifecta, I then promptly had a vaso vagal reaction and passed out). They said it should be better in a week or two, it’s been @9 days of rest and ibu, and I still need my recliner for hours a day and don’t feel like I dare try working out. SO frustrated. But don’t really see the sense in going to the doc if he is just going to tell me to keep doing what I’m doing. So figured I’d both vent and crowdsource medical advice.

  114. I’ve been dealing with something kind of similar, but the doctor says it is inflamed muscles, not cartilage. In my case, it is a place on my back hip (where it meets the back) and the pain can be very bad and kind of radiates. In my case, it was doing the dang elliptical that set it off – I always suspected those things are evil. Doctor gave me a 7 day course of steroids which did nothing. I am supposed to go to PT but can’t find the time. It does seem to be slowly getting better, but teaching is torture because standing is the worst trigger.

    Years ago, I did see a doctor for a very sore ribcage, and was told it was an infection in the cartilage. Antibiotics did the trick rapidly.

    No advice, just sympathy.

  115. LfB,

    I fell flat on my face in the street a while back and bruised my rib cage. It took about three weeks to heal. Sleeping was the worst as you’d be asleep and go to roll over and wake up in agony. That and coughing.

  116. LfB – I had that same thing this summer from twisting/moving boxes – either muscular or cartilage (I had an x-ray which was clear), but right between the ribs. It took forever to heal, probably 2 months. Don’t poke it!

  117. Oh the ribs! When I was pregnant with my third 9 lb boy (I am very petite) I was vomiting so violently and had so much pressure on my ribs that I “cracked” one – some kind of hairline thing, or maybe it was the cartilage. Anyway, 2 more months of agony every time I heaved with the nausea! So I get the sneeze pain! Also the baby kicking didn’t help.

  118. LFB – my back went out a couple weeks back and I have never been in so much pain. I think it happened with carrying a large cooler around for a kid field trip (up and down stairs, too). It hurt more than recovering from two c-sections and I didn’t even use the offered percocet for that. I could barely move – oddly standing did not hurt but twisting did. I took a few days off of exercise and just used a lot of heat pads and ibuprofen. I understood how people with chronic pain could become addicted to opiates. I would have liked to have heavy pain killers if they were offered! I am back exercising with modifications and focusing on strengthening my core and losing the extra 8 pounds I picked up in the last two years. I finally feel old.

  119. Mooshi, what’s your teaching setup? I’m wondering if you couldn’t use a high stool to at least sit down for a few moments at a time, e.g., if you’re normally standing behind a lectern. Maybe something like bass players in symphonies use:

  120. I teach in rooms all over the place and would not want to have to lug a stool with all my other stuff. The setup in most of the rooms is a tall thingie where I perch my laptop, and then a table filled with computer equipment. If I postion the laptop thingie just right, I can jam between that and the table, and sort of rest my butt on the lip of the table.

  121. LfB, sorry to hear about your issues. I don’t know the answer to your question, but I can empathize with rib pain.

    When I had a couple of broken ribs (on the bright side, my ribcage seemed to have performed well as a crumple zone, absorbing nearly all the impact and sparing me other injury), I discovered that sleep is a big part of the healing process, and for the week or so I was out of work, I mostly slept.

  122. “I understood how people with chronic pain could become addicted to opiates.”

    I knew a guy who was dealing with chronic pain, and he told me that pain sufferers like he can use opiates regularly to ease the pain without becoming addicted. People who use opiates to deal with pain while healing are much more likely to become addicted, the difference being that his pain is chronic, with no apparent end in sight.

  123. Mooshi, I’m guessing you’ve already tried this, but in case you haven’t, perhaps you could gain some respite from the torture of standing by putting your hands on the table and supporting part of your weight with your arms. That could also facilitate bending one knee or the other, which might also provide a bit of relief.

  124. Mooshi – surprised that the school hasn’t looked into better ergonomics for its professors. Are there gel pads for standing? That might help. Never thought of it but seems like a classroom would be a difficult place to work if the professor had a disability.

  125. Finn, I did figure that one out. But it makes me feel old to do that. Like pretty soon I might need a walker or something!

  126. MiaMama, the chair of my department badly hurt his knee at the beginning of the semester, and was hobbling with a cane – and got no help at all. We all have to walk all over to get to classrooms, and I felt bad for him because it was taking him so long.

  127. I would think he would have an ADA claim if his employer isn’t making reasonable accommodations. Or perhaps universities are exempt?

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