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Electoral College Abolitionists Say Court Ruling Shows Why Current System 'Terrible Way of Picking the President'

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/08/22/electoral-college-abolitionists-say-court-ruling-shows-why-current-system-terrible

It’s been one dollar=one vote for a long time, even before Buckley v. Valeo. One person=one vote sounds pretty good to me.


Being fair to lightly populated states would APPEAR to be the reason for the electoral college. But now that the pendulum has swung all the way in the other direction population-wise, and we have California, Florida, and NY, etc. with very large populations, it is unfair to THOSE voters instead.
Without some other way to assume a fair balance, ditching it all together is the only decent move.

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I support Rank Choice Voting, Proportional Districting, Paper Ballots, National Election Holiday, Automatic and Same Day Registration, the Voting Rights Act, Open Primaries, Publicly Funded Elections, fair ballot registration, LWV debates, and ending Citizens United.

I understand the frustration with the EC, and these are the things to fix it, imo. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

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I too support all those items listed in your first paragraph, but I wonder why we can’t have them and dump the EC while we’re at it? What do you think makes that particular baby worth more than the bath water?

Yes, dustinchicago’s comment hit me the same way. Why is it not okay to ditch the EC in it’s entirety?
One person, one vote, and none for corporations.

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Certainly. While I am no fan of the recent EC outcomes, and I would absolutely welcome a better alternative, there seems to be 2 schools of thought (in academic circles at least, which is where I watch the most discussions on this) that the EC is either 1. to ensure the People don’t make a ‘wrong’ or ‘rash’ choice (and, imo, that opinion has more to do with how Electors work and not how the EC is structured). This thinking is in a way out-dated, since 200 years ago it was literally impossible for all the voting population to get all the information or even travel to Washington. But, there is still the “for your own good argument” that could be argued that it is still needed today… though I have a big problem with that in terms of individual rights. Now, this is just my interpretation, totally open to receiving whatever nuance I may be missing,… but personally I get the feeling that it is used in an excuse to legitimize a person’s own voting preference, but that’s just a feeling.

The other argument is more about the actual structure of the EC (how many votes are made, not who makes them) and how this system enables equity across a federation. (of course, without the list of reforms I mentioned before, it’s kinda a moot point). But concerning federations of states, it is important, imo, that a President appeal to (and be legitimate in the eyes of) the broadest coalition. If it were a direct popular vote, most attention would be paid to the largest cities, and everyone else would not feel they are represented. Also, as a federation, it is as important that all States have equity (EC vote), along with all people (popular vote).

Kim says it much better, which is why I included the link. Now, I do feel the pressure to learn more and open myself up to more nuance because trying to find commentators who support my view is difficult… but I also identify the (understandable) rage of the majority of commentators calling for the end of the EC, and groupthink always makes me pause, out of principle.

Constitutionality and Rights are extraordinarily complex and sensitive subjects, and I am no expert. But I kinda think of it this way: if you want to get rid of the EC, that’s find, but you must also argue for getting rid of Congress (i.e. it’s set up the same way). [and I ask people to make that argument not to attack them or make them defensive, but for them to round out their own argument.]

The EC is built into the constitution and it would require an amendment to ditch it. Rulings like the recent one are probably going to effect workarounds like the interstate voting compact. With the courts Trumpified, expect things to get worse before they get better, which may not be in our lifetimes.