|After nearly every presidential election, there is
always a debate about the electoral college vote and the popular vote. I
heard the simplest explanation recently that helped me grasp it. I'll
try to share.
First and most importantly, you have to understand that we do not have federal or national elections for president. Presidential elections are state elections. Each state holds it's own election for president. This all goes back to the constitution and the division of state and federal powers.
Each state holds their presidential election and except for two states, whoever wins the majority of the vote wins the state. But here comes the genius of the founding fathers, the electoral college.
The founding fathers knew there was a problem with just going with a majority vote. They could see that the most populated states could always carry the vote thus the electoral college. Think of that, at that time there were just 13 states with 3-4 million people yet they had the foresight to address the problem even then.
They could have adopted a system where the national, majority vote would decide the election but that wouldn't be fair to the smaller states. They could have adopted a system where each state would get only one electoral vote but that wouldn't be fair to the more populated states. So they came up with the system where each state would get a number of electoral votes, essentially based on the population of each state.
Legally speaking, there is no such thing as a popular vote. The media and politicians like to keep up with that, but it's irrelevant.
One good analogy would be if the Baseball World Series winner was decided by the total score of all seven games rather than who wins the most games.