The US establishment’s attempts to put Hillary Clinton in the White House based solely on her popular vote may seem to be the right thing to do, but it would make a mockery of an already disreputable American electoral system, according to Myles Hoenig, an American political analyst and activist.
Hoenig made the remarks in a phone interview with Press TV on Thursday while commenting on reports showing Clinton, the Democratic Party's nominee for US president in the 2016 elections, has received more than 2 million popular votes than President-elect Donald Trump, who won the White House by securing more Electoral College votes.
According to an independent analysis by the Cook Political Report released Wednesday, Clinton had 64,225,863 votes compared to Trump's 62,210,612 votes.
“The Economist ranks the US electoral system at #20, the bottom of the list of full democratic countries. On ‘civil liberties’ it is ranked equal to #s 46 and 47, Bulgaria and Trinidad and Tobago, respectively," Hoenig said.
"In many respects, our electoral system is a joke. It is highlighted by the fact that we can have a person selected for the presidency who does not command a plurality of votes, as is the case with Clinton and Trump,” said the analyst, a Green Party candidate for Congress.
“Clinton’s numbers are growing, as more votes are being counted, but that will likely do little to change the outcome,” he stated.
“Our Electoral College system is coming under greater scrutiny due to the selection of Trump as the winner of the 2016 election. The argument during this election was not who was the most qualified, but who wasn’t the most hated. Numbers are showing Clinton to being the 2nd most hated person in American politics, yet will not be the one to sit on the White House throne,” he added.
“Whether the Electoral College is fair or not, democratic or not, representative or not, it is the system that all parties must abide by until it is changed or scrapped altogether. Attempts to push Clinton into the White House based solely on her raw votes may seem to be the right thing to do, but would make a mockery of an already disreputable system that we have,” he noted.
How US electoral system could be improved
The analyst said there are “many ways in which our #20 ranking can be improved so that we are not the joke we are internationally. Our election season just ended but in less than 2 years the fight for the White House in 2020 begins. Most developed countries allow for about a few months, not years, for campaigning. That’s one place to start. This would require a radical overhaul of the primary system, or scrap it altogether.”
“We could have publicly financed elections, taking big money, corporate money, billionaires’ money out of the system and make it truly a more democratic race. Candidates would have to prove their worthiness of receiving such funding but done in a way that would support insurgent candidates as well as little known ones as well,” he said.
“We could also do rank choice voting. Too many Americans vote for the lesser evil, only getting more evil as the years go by. Ranked voting allows for one to vote their conscience but allow for a strategic vote as well. If their first choice fails nationally, their second choice moves up. Simple, fair, and has proven to work where it’s applied,” the activist said.
“The attempt to recount the votes in order to change the outcome of the Electoral College vote is folly. It’s good PR for some, and allows for letting off some steam for the losing side. Regardless of what the numbers are, Trump will be the president on Jan 20 and will last 4 years, 8 years, or sooner if impeached by either party or if he resigns, wanting to get back to his normal life,” the commentator concluded.
US Electoral College
US citizens do not directly elect the president or the vice president; instead they choose "electors", who usually pledge to vote for particular nominees. The Electoral College is the body that elects the American president and vice president every four years.
Opponents of the Electoral College claim such outcomes do not represent how a democratic system should function.
Clinton's lead in the popular vote has renewed criticism against the country’s Electoral College system.
Clinton's loss is the fifth time in US history where a presidential nominee who won the popular vote did not assume the presidency. The last time was in 2000, when Al Gore defeated George W. Bush in the popular vote but lost in the electoral votes.
After his election victory, Trump praised the Electoral College, despite calling the voting system a "disaster for a democracy" in 2012.