Don't Like the Electoral College? Change It!

Past Attempts at Reform


The rules of the Electoral College are not set in stone. While Constitutional amendments are rare, they do happen. Twenty-seven proposals have survived the difficult amendment process, and with much less popular approval than the movement for direct election. Over the history of our country, there have been at least 700 proposed amendments to modify or abolish the Electoral College - more than any other subject of Constitutional reform.
Comments: Read entire article for the past attempts to modify it. Two were successful: Only two proposals involving the Electoral College have ever reached the ratification stage, and both passed (the 12th and 23rd Amendments).

Meanwhile how it works:

How to change it:
Update: In Defense of the Electoral College
Doing away with the Electoral College would breach our fidelity to the spirit of the Constitution, a document expressly written to thwart the excesses of majoritarianism. Nonetheless, such fidelity will strike some as blind adherence to the past. For those skeptics, I would point out two other advantages the Electoral College offers.

First, we must keep in mind the likely effects of direct popular election of the president. We would probably see elections dominated by the most populous regions of the country or by several large metropolitan areas. In the 2000 election, for example, Vice President Gore could have put together a plurality or majority in the Northeast, parts of the Midwest, and California. The victims in such elections would be those regions too sparsely populated to merit the attention of presidential candidates.

Pure democrats would hardly regret that diminished status, but I wonder if a large and diverse nation should write off whole parts of its territory. We should keep in mind the regional conflicts that have plagued large and diverse nations like India, China, and Russia.

The Electoral College is a good antidote to the poison of regionalism because it forces presidential candidates to seek support throughout the nation. By making sure no state will be left behind, it provides a measure of coherence to our nation. Second, the Electoral College makes sure that the states count in presidential elections. As such, it is an important part of our federalist system — a system worth preserving.

Historically, federalism is central to our grand constitutional effort to restrain power, but even in our own time we have found that devolving power to the states leads to important policy innovations (welfare reform). If the Founders had wished to create a pure democracy, they would have done so. Those who now wish to do away with the Electoral College are welcome to amend the Constitution, but if they succeed, they will be taking America further away from its roots as a constitutional republic
Update: The ‘Excellent’ Electoral College
The Electoral College, for all its imperfections, is still a better way to choose a President. The fact that Mrs. Clinton won the popular vote may console Democrats, but if that were the measure of victory we would have had a different campaign. Both candidates would have parked themselves in populous states like New York, and Mr. Trump would have spent weeks in Texas. As it is, the Republican nominee didn’t compete in Illinois or California, allowing Mrs. Clinton to pile up big majorities. Mrs. Clinton’s advantage in California alone—more than 2.7 million votes—accounts for more than her projected margin of victory of about two million. One feature of the Electoral College is that it picks a decisive winner as early as possible. Mr. Trump’s victory across the Midwest gave him a solid majority in the Electoral College that everyone acknowledged. There was no waiting for absentee ballots or recounts. If you think a recount in one state like Florida in 2000 was corrosive, imagine a tight popular vote with contested results in 50 states and thousands of counties. The opportunities for fraud, or claims of fraud, would be endless. The system also tends to narrow the field to two candidates who have a plausible path to 270 electoral votes. This is a weakness when the major parties produce two unpopular nominees, but that is an argument for the parties choosing better candidates. The Electoral College reduces the relevance of fringe candidates who could otherwise force themselves into importance in a national poll.

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