It is Time for the Electoral College to Graduate.

When the framers created the Constitution of the United States, they were wise in making it difficult to amend, but not impossible. Without tossing out the entire document, when enough support in Congress and the various states is there, change is possible. It is well past time for a new change, the abolition of the Electoral College.

Now by this point every red blooded history-loving conservative American is probably thoroughly triggered and would respond “Without the EC, California and New York would decide everything, and no one would campaign in the small states!!!”

First lets address the notion that California and New York would decide everything. Under the current rules of the EC, and the laws of those respective states, they give 100% of their electoral votes to one candidate. With the popular vote the loser could at least get some of the vote in those states and is incentivized to try and compete for it. Which brings up the other point, that people would only compete in the major population centers. Lets take Wyoming, both Dakotas, Vermont, and Hawaii, for example. They are all small states, and because they are all deemed safe for one party or another, presidential candidates are free to ignore them. And they do. meanwhile under our current system of an EC, who gets the lion’s share of attention? The largest states with the potential to swing. Without an EC candidates would still spend their time chasing voters who are considered swingable, but now there would be incentive to either run up their numbers in their safe states, or try and whittle away from the their opponent’s votes in states considered out of reach.

Next I am sure you are preparing to argue “But we are not a democracy dag-nabbit! We are a republic!”

This is true, but the popular vote electing a president is not what makes the difference between a democracy and a republic. For what it is worth, I agree, direct democracy across the board for everything is unwise, but I am not here trying to advocate for some Greek city-state model.

Something that I feel gets lost on many people who are ardent defenders of the EC, is that what was intended by the framers and what exists today are two separate things. The original vision was a group of wise elites who could come together and make an informed decision, with much better information than the general public had. For the first few presidential elections multiple states had no popular election at all for determining the their electors. It wasn’t until after the Civil War that South Carolina’s citizens had any input in presidential elections. What exists today is a convoluted hybrid approach where the electors still exist, but are generally partisan insiders, and generally bound by state law to the outcome of the popular votes in their respective states. More states have recently moved even towards enacting legal punishment towards electors who would dare vote other than how they are told (faithless electors.)

Under this approach we are left with not the will of the people deciding our elections, or even a college of wise and learned individuals, but rather outcomes based on pure chance of who happens to eek across the finish line first in which states.

For those still mentally living in 1859, I assume there is no convincing you on this, but for those who accept the fact that we are one country and not 50 in loose confederation, I strongly encourage you to give thought to the electoral college and the potential benefits of moving past it. (Need I even mention that the the total cluster-cuss of the current election wouldn’t be nearly as big as big a problem without electoral votes?)


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