Let’s choose our president by popular vote.

The Electoral College is a sham and a scam!

America’s Worst College

Posted Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2004, at 3:49 PM PT

The best possible outcome for the 2004 presidential election would be for John Kerry to lose the popular vote but win in the Electoral College. Obviously it would satisfy a primitive hunger for payback to thwart Republicans in the most significant way that Democrats were thwarted in 2000. But there’s a high-minded reason, too: It would give both parties a common interest in abolishing the Electoral College and establishing the popular vote as the means by which presidents are chosen. (That Kerry is, coincidentally, the superior candidate strikes me as self-evident, but I will elaborate between now and Election Day.)

The sheer idiocy of the Electoral College is a subject that got appallingly little attention amid the chad-obsessed frenzy surrounding the 2000 election. There’s a bit more discussion of the problem now, possibly because it’s summer and everybody’s running out of things to say about the coming election. Concern, I’m happy to report, spreads across the ideological spectrum. In a June 14 cover package, Business Week ran two separate stories (click here and here) arguing for the Electoral College’s elimination. In a July 29 column for the Nation, Katha Pollit complained that the Electoral College “awards outrageously disproportionate political power to rural conservative states with fewer voters than, say, the enlightened borough of Brooklyn.” In a July 4 review of Hendrik Hertzberg’s superb new anthology, Politics, Richard Brookhiser, a conservative, distanced himself from Hertzberg, a liberal, on all substantive matters save Hertzberg’s call for electoral reform. If the Electoral College again chooses a presidential candidate who lost the popular vote, Brookhiser predicted, “the calls for change will be deafening.”

Most recent discussions about abolishing the Electoral College have ended with the fatalistic observation that America will never be rid of it. “[T]he current system ... will never change,” Pollitt wrote, “because the small states would have to approve a constitutional amendment and why would they do that?” Well, they might do it after it was pointed out to them that the Electoral College helps big states even more than it does the small ones.

Posted by SPN on 09/09 at 01:55 PM in Politics

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