The electoral college is a highly debated system—supporters love it when it works in their favor, but they hate it when it doesn’t; especially if their candidate won the popular vote, as was the case in the 2016 presidential election.

Naysayers argue that it is an affront to democracy. Supporters claim it protects the minority in a constitutional republic—the voice of the little guy. But does it?

Or does the Electoral College’s winner-take-all model render the “minority” vote of any state useless? Voters of the candidate who loses a state essentially have their vote become meaningless because the overall popular vote has less teeth than the Federal Election Commission.

All the discussions I’ve watched about the Electoral College since the 2016 election left me to brainstorm an idea: What if each state’s votes were given out in proportion to the percentage of the vote a candidate received? In theory, that method would protect the “minority” by maintaining their votes’ power, protecting the little states’ importance because large states would have their votes split, and it would be more “democratic,” while still keeping the “constitutional republic” ties.

So what would the system have done to the 2016 election? It would have been a nail-biter. Donald Trump (R), who won easily with 306 electoral college votes, would have received 266 electoral votes, as would Hillary Clinton (D), who won the popular vote (which carried no weight). Gary Johnson (4), Jill Stein (1), and Evan McMullin (1) would have taken the remaining 6 Electoral College votes as third-party and Independent candidates.

Larger swing states like Florida and three Great Lakes swing states Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, which Trump won by a combined 3.8 percentage points, would have been effectively split. The chunk states—California, Texas and New York—would still be overwhelming for one candidate, but also contribute healthily to the count of the opponent. Gerrymandered states show just how close they are (North Carolina and, once again, Pennsylvania).

The result—between the three candidates who received the most electoral votes (Trump, Clinton and Johnson)—would have been up to the House of Representatives with each state delegation receiving just one vote, for a total of 50 votes.

In the House, the odds would have significantly favored Trump—Republicans held a majority of the Representatives from 32 of the 50 states, while Dems had 17 and Maine was split. Only Colorado and Arizona were close enough in delegates to be considered “swing,” which leaves Trump with a strong coalition of 30 votes.

While it’s technically possible that the Republican Party in the House could have rejected Trump in favor of Gary Johnson, I wouldn’t predict it. The easiest, most-common sense hypothesized outcome is Donald Trump coasts to the presidency.

Going to a proportional allocation would be “fair” to all voters. It would also increase partisanship. And hostility to third parties and independents. There would also be more bickering and name-calling and baseless accusations of cheating. In an era of headline-grabbing verbal sparring bouts, a dead-locked presidential election would probably drive everyone mad, so maybe the current system saves us a larger headache by keeping it as a classic American system we all love to hate but won’t be changing.

 

The full table of Trump and Clinton votes, will be posted below:

State Donald Trump

Percent and

Electoral Votes

Hillary Clinton

Percent and

Electoral Votes

Alabama (9) 62.9% (6) 34.6% (3)
Alaska (3) 52.9% (2) 37.7% (1)
Arizona (11) 49.5% (6) 45.4% (5)
Arkansas (6) 60.4% (4) 33.8% (2)
California (55)* 32.8% (18) 61.6% (34)
Colorado (9) 44.4% (4) 47.2% (5)
Connecticut (7) 41.2% (3) 54.5% (4)
Delaware (3) 41.9% (1) 53.4% (2)
D.C. (3) 4.1% (0) 92.8% (3)
Florida (29)** 49.1% (14) 47.8% (14)
Georgia (16) 51.3% (9) 45.6% (7)
Hawaii (4) 30.1% (1) 62.3% (3)
Idaho (4) 59.2% (3) 27.6% (1)
Illinois (20) 39.4% (8) 55.4% (12)
Indiana (11) 57.2% (7) 37.9% (4)
Iowa (6) 51.8% (4) 42.2% (2)
Kansas (6) 57.2% (4) 36.2% (2)
Kentucky (8) 62.5% (5) 32.7% (3)
Louisiana (8) 58.1% (5) 38.4% (3)
Maine (4) 45.2% (2) 47.9% (2)
Maryland (10) 35.3% (4) 60.5% (6)
Massachusetts (11) 33.5% (4) 60.8% (7)
Michigan (16) 47.6% (8) 47.3% (8)
Minnesota (10) 45.4% (5) 46.9% (5)
Mississippi (6) 58.3% (4) 39.7% (2)
Missouri (10) 57.1% (6) 38.0 (4)
Montana (3) 56.5% (2) 36.0% (1)
Nebraska (5) 60.3% (3) 34.0% (2)
Nevada (6) 45.5% (3) 47.9% (3)
New Hampshire (4) 47.2% (2) 47.6% (2)
New Jersey (14) 41.8% (6) 55.0% (8)
New Mexico (5) 40.0% (2) 48,3% (3)
New York (29) 37.5% (11) 58.8% (18)
North Carolina (15) 50.5% (8) 46.7% (7)
North Dakota (3) 64.1% (2) 27.8% (1)
Ohio (18) 52.1% (10) 43.5% (8)
Oklahoma (7) 65.3% (5) 28.9% (2)
Oregon (7) 41.1% (3) 51.7% (4)
Pennsylvania (20) 48.8% (10) 47.6% (10)
Rhode Island (4) 39.8% (1) 55.4% (3)
South Carolina (9) 54.9 (5) 40.8 (4)
South Dakota (3) 61.5% (2) 31.7% (1)
Tennessee (11) 61.1% (7) 34.9% (4)
Texas*** (38) 52.6% (20) 43.4% (17)
Utah**** (6) 45.9% (4) 27.8% (1)
Vermont (3) 32.6% (1) 61.1% (2)
Virginia (13) 45.0%(6) 49.9% (7)
Washington (12) 38.2% (5) 54.4% (7)
West Virginia (5) 68.7% (4) 26.5% (1)
Wisconsin (10) 47.9% (5) 46.9% (5)
Wyoming (3) 70.1% (2) 22.5% (1)
Total (538) 266 266

 

*2 EC for Gary Johnson, 1 for Jill Stein

** 1 EC for Gary Johnson

***1 EC vote for Gary Johnson

****1 EC vote for Evan McMullin

Total: 266 Trump, 266 Clinton, 4 Johnson, 1 Stein, 1 McMullin

 

Republican-majority States in the House of Representatives 2016:

Alabama (6-1); Alaska (1); Arizona (5-4); Arkansas (4-0); Colorado (4-3); Florida (17-10); Georgia (10-4); Idaho (2-0); Indiana (7-2); Iowa (3-1); Kansas (4-0); Kentucky (5-1); Louisiana (5-1); Michigan (9-5); Mississippi (3-1); Missouri (6-2); Montana; Nebraska; North Carolina (10-3); North Dakota; Ohio (12-4); Oklahoma; Pennsylvania (13-5); South Carolina (6-1); South Dakota; Tennessee (7-2); Texas (25-11); Utah; Virginia (7-4); West Virginia; Wisconsin (5-3); Wyoming

 

Democratic-majority States in the House of Representatives 2016

California (39-14); Connecticut (5-0); Delaware; Hawaii (2-0); Illinois (11-7); Maryland (7-1); Massachusetts (9-0); Minnesota (5-3); Nevada (3-1); New Hampshire; New Jersey (7-5); New Mexico (2-1); New York (18-9); Oregon (4-1); Rhode Island; Vermont; Washington (6-4)

 

Split:

Maine

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