Posted in Issues

Great Ideas 3

It is time to get rid of the electoral college. Let’s ban the electoral college (here’s a new group).

Imagine my disappointment. I’m in elementary school. The Cold War is raging, icily. I’m on the side of the good guys, the side of democracy. Democracy = when you cast your vote it counts. One person gets one vote and it’s *fair* that way, isn’t it?

Yes, BUT…We have the electoral college. The same guy who spouted one of my favorite great ideas (separation of church and state) apparently also was not a fan of the electoral college: (courtesy of History House, quote below grabbed from here)

I have ever considered the constitutional mode of election ultimately by the Legislature voting by States as the most dangerous blot in our Constitution, and one which some unlucky chance will some day hit and give us a pope and antipope. – Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to George Hay, 1823.

Thomas Jefferson was talking about the Electoral College system. Jefferson was uniquely suited to despise the system, having already been stuck in an electoral tie in the 1800 election with Aaron Burr. As the electors couldn’t decide who was going to be the next president, the House had to decide the election, and it was so partisan that it held thirty-six runoffs (Jefferson eventually won). Back then, the second-place winner of the Presidential election contest became Vice-President, and so Jefferson was stuck with Burr for his first term. The two men hated each other.

Remember the popular vote in 2000?

Bush 50,456,002 (47.87%)
Gore 50,999,897 (48.38%)

I’m not dwelling in the past. I’m thinking about the future.

– – – – –

Previously in this series:

Great Ideas 1

Great Ideas 2 


This is a personal blog. Expect a potpourri of stuff.

3 thoughts on “Great Ideas 3

  1. The EC is an anachronism meant to serve a purpose long since out lived. Get rid of it. One person one vote. It will never happen though, greater population densities in blue states. PS I think you inverted your percentages.

  2. The major shortcoming of the current system of electing the President arises from the winner-take-all rule (currently used by 48 of 50 states) under which all of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate who gets the most votes in the state. If the partisan divide in a state is not initially closer than about 46%-54%, no amount of campaigning during a brief presidential campaign is realistically going to reverse the winner of the state during a short presidential campaign. As a result, presidential candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or worry about the concerns of voters of states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind. Instead, candidates concentrate their attention on a handful of “battleground” states. As a result, 88% of the money and visits (and attention) is focused on just 9 closely divided battleground states: Ohio, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, New Mexico, and New Hampshire. Fully 99% of the money goes to just 16 states. Two-thirds of the country is left out.

    Another shortcoming of the current system is that a candidate can win the Presidency without winning the most popular votes nationwide.

    The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    A national popular vote is the way to make every person’s vote equal and to guarantee the White House to the candidate who gets the most votes in all 50 states. The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes—that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill is enacted in a group of states possessing 270 or more electoral votes, all of the electoral votes from those states would be awarded, as a bloc, to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    The National Popular Vote bill has 366 legislative sponsors in 47 states. It has been signed into law in Maryland. Since its introduction in February 2006, the bill has passed by 11 legislative houses (one house in Colorado, Arkansas, and North Carolina, and two houses in Maryland, Illinois, Hawaii, and California).


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