The Electoral College

It’s time to ditch the Electoral College, or at least fix it. It’s a profoundly undemocratic institution, conceived in the days when the only voters were white, male property owners and intended to placate the small states so that they’d join the United States in the first place. It is particularly undemocratic in its modern form, in which electors for a state are all legally bound to cast their votes for the winner in that state.

In our recent election, approximately 77,000 votes gave Trump victory in 3 battleground states and victory in the Electoral College. Meanwhile, the popular vote went 3+ million votes the other way. Proportionally divided Electoral College votes would obviously have changed the outcome. The same can be said of the 2000 election, in which Al Gore won the popular vote, albeit more narrowly. But even if only Florida’s EC votes had been divided proportionally, Gore would have won — and, incidentally, Nader wouldn’t have been a spoiler (a fact for which I’ve never forgiven him, but that’s another topic).

In the abstract, I imagine every person-in-the-street sees one-person-one-vote as the fairest way to decide elections. Why then do we persist in this anachronistic, flawed institution?

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