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'Rigged' system in US needs major overhaul

Published 18/11/2016

Belfast Telegraph letters to the Editor
Belfast Telegraph letters to the Editor

Donald Trump insisted in the final days of the campaign that the system "was rigged" - presumably against him. He is both right and wrong on this claim.

The system is, indeed, rigged; it is called "the electoral college" and, for the second time in 16 years, the candidate with the most votes will not be inaugurated as president in January.

This rigged system is a perverse historical anachronism that is now well past its usefulness and should be replaced with a straightforward national popular vote to decide the presidency.

Moreover, this rigged system acted in Donald Trump's favour, as it did for George W Bush in 2000. This is no accident.

Voters in smaller conservative states are hugely over-represented in the electoral college system, compared with citizens in larger, more liberal states.

A quick comparison between the largest state (by population) - California - and the smallest - Wyoming - demonstrates this.

When the population is divided by the number of electoral college votes, the disparity is stark. Voters in Wyoming have more than 3.5 times the electoral college vote per person than those in California.

This is, indeed, clearly a rigged system. But it will always favour conservative candidates like Donald Trump, as the electoral college in small rural states is added up - although he does not appear to be complaining about it now.

JAMES MacCARTHY

By email

Belfast Telegraph

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