The Electoral College is more than just an antiquated anachronism that can misfire and elect the candidate who loses the national vote; it has come to establish and entrench political inequality. If not reformed, the Electoral College will relegate two-thirds of Americans to the sidelines during presidential elections for years to come.
The Shrinking Battleground uses a model of “state partisanship” to explain why the United States has experienced a decrease in the number of competitive battleground states in presidential elections, how these partisan divisions are hardening and what impact they have on American democracy. The fundamental reality is that fewer and fewer Americans play a meaningful role in electing the president – and that the major party campaigns act on that understanding with utter disregard for the interests and views of most voters outside of swing states. The result is a two-tiered system for voters, with damaging impact on voter turnout, racial fairness, political equality and the future of American democracy. The mounting evidence makes it clear that the solution is to establish a direct election of the president so that all votes count equally and the principles of majority rule and one person, one vote are respected.
Over the last few decades, presidential election outcomes within the majority of states have become more and more predictable, to the point that only ten states were considered competitive in the 2012 election. Due to the state-by-state winner-take-all method of allocating Electoral College votes, competitive states receive much more campaign attention than their non-competitive counterparts.
The table below provides a state-by-state review of presidential outcomes and competitiveness. It shows how some states have not been competitive for than a half-century and how most states now have a degree of partisan imbalance that makes them highly unlikely to be in a swing state position for at least a decade. Additional information is available for download in PDF and Excel formats.