In discussions about abolishing the Electoral College, supporters return time and time again to the plight of small states like Wyoming or Mississippi. “Ditch the Electoral College, and Small States Will Suffer,” reads the title of an article by Tara Ross.
The Electoral College does give disproportionate mathematical weight to small states. But its goofy structure means almost all of them are ignored in presidential politics. If the president was elected by simple majority vote, almost all small states would get more attention than they currently do.
We can examine this quantitatively. The organization FairVote compiled all the election campaign events in 2016, while the National Popular Vote movement (the one Ross is complaining about above) summarized it in handy form. The 2016 candidates spent almost all their time in a handful of states, most of them medium or large. Two-thirds of campaign events happened in just six states — Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, and Michigan. If we include Iowa, New Hampshire, Colorado, Nevada, Wisconsin, and Arizona, then those 12 states account for 96 percent of campaign events.
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