Campus Reform | Political science prof says electoral college was 'born from white supremacy'

Political science prof says electoral college was 'born from white supremacy'

A University of Maryland-Baltimore County assistant professor wrote in a recent opinion editorial that the electoral college has racist roots.

According to William Blake, the electoral college benefits "states whose populations are whiter and more racially resentful" by giving them more power.

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William Blake, assistant professor of political science at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, wrote in an opinion editorial published by The Conversation that “the founders’ only remaining justification for the electoral college is structural racism.” 

Blake claimed that the electoral college was created because the Founding Fathers “did not foresee the development of political parties and campaigns,” and that they believed “voters would not know all the candidates who would be running for president.” 

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Blake wrote that based on his studies, “whiter states consistently wield more electoral power partly because of their population.” 

"States with smaller populations have more electoral votes per resident because, no matter how few people they might have, they still get two senators and one House member," Blake said. 

While every state does have at least one House of Representatives member, the number of representatives from each state is based on that state's population. 

Citing his studies, Blake says that people living in states with more electoral votes tend to “exhibit more intense anti-Black attitudes."

The seven states with only one U.S. representative include Alaska, Delaware, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming. Four of those states - Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Vermont - rank among the ten least culturally diverse states, according to a 2019 study by WalletHub

Wyoming ranks 38th in the nation when it comes to cultural diversity, while Alaska and Delaware ranked 13th and 17th, respectively. 

The seven states with the most representatives in the U.S. House are California (53), Texas (36), New York (27), Florida (27), Pennsylvania (18), and Illinois (18), and Ohio (16). Of the states with the most U.S. representatives, four of them rank among the ten most ethnically diverse states: California (1), Texas (4), New York (8), and Florida (5). 

The remaining three - Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Ohio - rank 32nd, 12th, and 41st, respectively, when it comes to cultural diversity. 

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Blake admitted that “the inherent bias isn’t always decisive.” He mentioned that President Donald Trump won Wisconsin in 2016, and while it “is whiter than the average state" it has "slightly less electoral votes per capita than average.”

He argues that the electoral college’s “centuries-old racial bias” could be corrected if smaller states became “larger and more racially diverse.” Until more states experience population changes, Blake says that “the electoral college remains a system born from white supremacy that will likely continue to operate in a racially discriminatory fashion.”

Blake and UMBC did not respond to Campus Reform's request for comment in time for publication. 

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @KestecherLacey