Saturday, November 11, 2017

Electoral College Redux

Well, they did it again. The Republicans lost the popular vote, but won the Electoral College. This is actually the 4th time this has happened. You may well remember the last time, when Bush II beat Gore. It also happened, though, in 1876 and 1888.

So, I think we all know that the Electoral College has issues. It basically puts states ahead of people. And one way it does that is to give smaller states a distinct advantage by adding up representatives and senators to come up with their electoral votes. 

In other words, even if you have a measly half a million people in your state (I’m looking at you, Wyoming), you still get 3 whole votes. And what that means is that it takes a lot fewer people to merit an electoral vote (about 194,000 for Wyoming) than it does for a much more populous state like, say, California (not quite 700,000).

Sans Senators

So, what I was wondering was whether this imbalance could have thrown this past election. It’s a simple calculation – just subtract 2 from every state’s electoral vote, add ‘em up all, and see who won.

Unfortunately, it’s not enough to tip the election. Trump’s total does go down, but only from 57% to 56%. Turns out, though Trump got most of the little states (NY, SD, ND, WY), he also got some big ones as well (OH, PA, FL, TX).

Interestingly, it did make a difference back in 2000. Instead of Bush II beating Gore 271 to 266, it would have been Gore 224 to 211. Sigh …

Of the other two where the electoral college and popular vote didn’t match up, only one of those would have been reversed. In 1876, Rutherford Hayes beat Samuel Tilden by an electoral college vote of 185 to 184. Take the senators out of the equation, and it’s 143 to 150.

So, no, my method doesn’t get rid of the Electoral College altogether ... but it does make it a little fairer.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

NFL Realignment

Houston, I think we have a problem. Actually, Houston, I think you’re fine. I’m a little worried about your neighbor Dallas though.

Honestly, what are the Dallas Cowboys doing in the NFC East? In whose world is Dallas on the East Coast? Now, I realize Cowboys vs. Redskins is one of the best rivalries around. To look at it an unbiased way, though, you have to admit that that rivalry is somewhat artificial. Perhaps if the Cowboys played a little closer to home, some stronger, more natural rivalries might develop.

Along those lines, is Indianapolis really a Southern city? Seeing as its closest rivals are Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Chicago, I’m thinking not. Same thing with Kansas City (should they really be playing all those West Coast teams?), Miami (the most southern team there is but whose archrivals include the Bills, Pats, and Jets), and Baltimore (40 miles from DC and 100 from Philly, but in neither’s division).

A Modest Proposal

Take a look at this …

Now, let me explain what I did:

  1. Divided the map into 3 basic regions – south, west, and north - based on how the teams naturally seem to break out
  2. Counted up the teams in each
  3. Noted that the South and West were almost perfect (i.e., have 8 teams, 4 of which can go into respective NFC and AFC divisions)
  4. Noted that the North had 16 teams
  5. Divided the North right down the middle, giving us an eastern and western group (northeast and Midwest, really)

I then compared these groups with what the divisions look like presently.  That really made those oddballs I cited above stand out.

Finally, I started moving teams around. Here’s how to read what I did:

  • Red dots – NFC teams that didn’t move
  • Blue dots – AFC teams that didn’t move
  • Dots with black circles around them – teams that did move (division, but not conference)

That leaves us with one real outlier, Dallas. Because the southern group had 1 too many teams, and the western group had 1 too few, it seemed only natural to move 1 southerner to the west. Because Texas is the furthest western state, Houston and Dallas seemed the most obvious choices. To make this so only 1 of them would get messed up, I elected to send Dallas to the west. That Dallas is popular all across the country made that decision a little easier as well.

Make sense? Any objections? Ready for me to take over from Roger Goodell?