Fracking and the Electoral College

Liberals openly hate the electoral college (and the Senate, but one thing at a time) because it is counter-majoritarian. To which the answer is: Yes, precisely. That’s one of its strongest points. It means a winning presidential candidate has to take in a broader range of local interests if he is to win a constitutional majority, which is superior to a mere numerical majority that may be lopsided in just a few regions (like the two coasts today).

This comes to mind given the promise of leading Democrats to ban fracking for oil and gas if they are elected president. I assume this plays very well in San Francisco and Manhattan, but it does mean giving the middle finger to the middle of Pennsylvania, among other locations.

What do the locals think about fracking? We’re told endless by environmental propagandists that it is poisoning the local water and air, though a thorough EPA study done during the Obama Administration found little evidence to support this.

A new study of voting results on an anti-fracking ballot initiative in Colorado in 2018 (which was defeated) in Energy Research & Social Science gives us a more fine-grained look at the matter. The key author of the study, Daniel Raimi of Resources for the Future, offers a plain English summary of the study on Twitter. His first finding is the most useful:

Key findings: (1) Strong opposition to #fracking is mostly found in places where there is little to no drilling activity. Strong support for drilling is mostly found in the places that have the largest density of wells. . . most people who live in the “patch” do want #fracking in their back yard.

The study also finds a sharp partisan divide, with Republicans favoring fracking and Democrats opposing it. To which we say: Duh. (For this we need social science?) Anyway, for more about the study, see here.

But you can see that if we left the matter up to the larger number of voters in San Francisco (or just the Denver metro area), fracking would be killed in opposition to the local opinion of people who live with it. Ironic, since those rural rubes provide the fuel for all those fancy Wolf and Viking gas ranges in those fancy professional-grade, two-sink kitchens in the Bay Area.

And this, boys and girls, is why we have the electoral college. (Also property rights, but that’s also a topic for another day.)

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