Amen (to killing the Electoral College now!)

The NYT editorialized today:

On Dec. 15, the United States will endure a quadrennial ritual born in the economics and politics of slavery and the quill-pen era. Members of the Electoral College are scheduled to meet in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia to formally choose the next president.

There is no real doubt about how the electors will vote, but it is disturbing that they have any role at all in making this vital choice in the 21st century. The Electoral College is more than just an antiquated institution: it actively disenfranchises voters and occasionally (think 2000) makes the candidate with fewer popular votes president. American democracy would be far stronger without it.

So why does it live on? We’ve known this for decades. Why can’t we change? Partly because as soon as one election cycle is over the next one begins. The closer we get to the next election, the harder it will be to change the rules. So I hope we act soon. I can’t think of a single change that could do more to make the race for the presidncy more meaningful – unless it were to make the race for the vice presidency meaningful – but I’ll leave that pet peeve for another day.


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