Playing the game by the rules

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Shortly after Donald Trump won the presidential election in 2016 many Democrats — who lost the election — have come to the conclusion that the Electoral College, outlined in the United State Constitution should be eliminated.

Their argument is that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote with 2.8 million more votes than Donald Trump garnered, thus making Trump an illegitimate president.

According to Politico.com there are 12 Democratic presidential candidates who have explicitly called for the abolition of the Electoral College, while five others have said they are open to the idea.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren gave us her opinion at a CNN town hall, “My view is that every vote matters. And the way we can make that happen is that we can have national voting and that means get rid of the Electoral College.”

Sen. Kamala Harris said in March she’s “open to the discussion” about doing away with the Electoral College, and allowing the president to win by winning the national popular vote.

Bernie Sanders is definitely not on the fence. He tweeted this summer “Abolish the Electoral College.”

I don’t believe we would be having this conversation if Hillary Clinton had won. You might say that many of these presidential candidates are sore losers.

For this column I would like you to consider the presidential election, held every four years, as a game. Because in many ways it is a game. It is a long game lasting for four years cumulating on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November when a presidential election is held.

Currently we are in the playoffs so to speak for next year’s Superbowl, World Series or Stanley Cup Playoffs in politics.

The rules for this game were established by our founding fathers over 200 years ago. The Electoral College defines the winner.

The last time the St. Louis Cardinals made it to the fall classic was 2013. They played a six game series against the American League champions, the Boston Red Sox.

Interestingly the Red Birds had a total of 45 hits in the six game series, four more than Boston. In the deciding game the Cardinals out hit the Red Sox 9 to 8.

But they lost game six and the world series to Boston because the rules make the winner the team with the most runs, not the most hits.

In the 2018 Superbowl the Philadelphia Eagles beat the New England Patriots by a score of 41 to 33 when Nick Foles threw the go-ahead touchdown pass with just 2:21 to go in the game. In that game the Pats had 75 more total yards of offense than the Eagles. They also had four more first downs in the game.

But they lost, because those statistics do not determine the winner.

Thank goodness hockey does not determine its winners by total shots on goal because in this year’s Stanley Cup Finals the Blues would have lost. Their total shots on goal were 194 to Boston’s 211 over the seven games played between the two teams. In fact only four of the seven games were won by the team with the most shots on goal.

With any game, when you play by the rules you don’t complain when you lose. You didn’t hear the Bruins complain and claim they were the real winners. To win your goal and strategy is to get the most points, not the most hits, the most yards or the most shots on goal.

In the game we call the Presidential Election the goal has always been to get the most votes in the Electoral College not the popular vote.

Because Clinton did not win in 2016 there are those who think they need to change the rules in order to win.

With the Electoral College, right or wrong, a candidate does not spend much if any time campaigning in states where he/she has little or no chance of winning.

The reason being, the rules state it’s winner take all. With a finite amount of time and money Trump did little if no campaigning in California and many other states he lost. Hillary did the same.

Also, in a state such as California Republicans who do not have a local candidate on the ballot with a chance of winning have little incentive to vote in a presidential election. This goes for both sides.

Trump won the presidency because he knew and played by the rules.

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