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Opinion: The battle to be the president of the swing states of America

October 14, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Robert Alexander writes that supporters of the Electoral College often contend that without it, presidential elections would be decided by the coasts, ignoring most of the country. Yet, most of the country is ignored in the current process.

Some of its most ardent proponents have claimed that the Electoral College promotes national campaigning, makes all voters important and helps prevent corruption in the presidential election.

The President is correct in his assessment that the existence of these so-called "swing states" has major implications for presidential campaigns -- many of which undercut arguments made by proponents of the Electoral College.

No candidate stepped foot in any state with just 3 electoral votes, undermining the argument that the Electoral College forces candidates to run national campaigns.

Given the Democrats' strength in many of the most populated states, the addition of Texas and Georgia to their coalition would give them many different combinations of states to cross the 270-vote Electoral College threshold -- most of which vote reliably blue.

Yet there is another byproduct of the battle to be the president of the swing states of America that can be pernicious and was a main concern of the famers when they created the Electoral College and that is the potential for mischief.

In Federalist 68, Alexander Hamilton made the case that the Electoral College process would mitigate against the "desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils. " The bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report on Russian interference in the 2016 election, found that voters in swing states were specifically targeted in their social media campaigns.

The Electoral College process would seem then to provide an efficient means to focus one's attention on a few key states, rather than the entirety of the country in an effort to affect national outcomes.

The existence of swing states would appear to complicate many of the traditional arguments on behalf of the Electoral College.

Candidates take most states for granted -- from the least populated to the most populated, campaigns devote attention to parochial issues aimed at swing state voters, and a handful of states carry an outsized effect on national outcomes.

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