Home | About | Donate

The Electoral College Reform Movement Made Great Strides This Month, But Is It Enough?

The Electoral College Reform Movement Made Great Strides This Month, But Is It Enough?

Adam Eichen

Last week, with little fanfare, Connecticut governor Dannel Malloy signed a bill that officially adds his state to the National Popular Vote Compact.

Will electoral college reform be enough?

Would Hillary have been better?

Again, we have no idea who would have won the election if it had been decided by popular vote from the get go.

We don’t even know who would have been the nominees because that change, even with no changes in how the parties select their nominees, would affect how voters voted in the primary season in ways we can’t predict and could have had butterfly effects on who chose to run in the first place.

So for all we know, we might have President Powell right now if this reform had gone into effect four years ago.

If fair, democratic, or just had anything to do with it, there would never have been an Electoral College in the first place. It’s that same distrust of the voters that was built into the Constitution from the get go. The Founders went out of their way NOT to turn over control of the government to the masses and both parties still practice this, today, by rigging their primaries to keep people like Sanders out. The Democrat party establishment, especially, regards “populist” as a dirty word. Dumping the Electoral College is definitely a step in the right direction, but it doesn’t count for much as long as the corrupt duopoly continues to control and pre-approve who the main candidates are.

My theory is evolution will resume in capitalist governments when none of the above is preprinted on every ballot choice.

“Russian Hackers” (scary quotes)…

The commonly heard reason why Republicans would be against this change is that they would always lose. Perhaps, but if Texas ever flips (due to immigration), they are done for anyway. In 2004 if Kerry had gotten a few more votes in Ohio (or if you believe that election was stolen in Ohio, if I had gotten the votes he deserved), he would have won the EC but lost the popular vote. I was hoping for such an outcome back than because then both sides would have been bitten recently and reform would have been easier.

It makes perfect sense that people who can pull in more votes even in states they lose, perhaps a person like Powell (though I’m not keen on the guy one bit) would be a better strategy for the Republicans who then may adjust their primary process to make it more likely that candidates like Powell could make it through the primary.

This is a significant issue that I didn’t know was that large of a drop. I’m always motivated to vote in other races and then (usually lately since I’ve been in CA) vote Green for president knowing my vote doesn’t matter where I live. So I can see how people who are most motivated for President and care much less about other offices aren’t going to turn out as much. So unless we get compulsory voting as I’d prefer, this is another significant reason for the popular vote (which is probably easier to achieve than compulsory voting).

I am a super big proponent of RCV (some method of deciding on a winner from ranked ballots - and it seems that IRV is the most palatable method to the most people currently) and that really only becomes possible with a nationwide popular vote - so even if that isn’t built into the compact now, I view it as a necessary stepping stone.

This hadn’t really been a problem until the country became politically polarized. However, in almost 40 states it it almost certain which candidate will win with Democrats having a slight edge in the number of electoral votes they can be pretty certain of. And not only does it only come down to about a dozen states but because Florida and Ohio have so many electoral votes and are so evenly divided it often largely comes down to these two states. In 2000 Bush defeated Gore based on his controversial win if Florida and he defeated Kerry based on his controversial win in Ohio. This is an invitation not only for foreign governments to cheat but also Americans involved in party politics and it may explain how Bush won Ohio in 2004. The only positive of the system with polarization is that it probably costs much less to run. What if candidates had to run TV ads in all 50 states? The system is already corrupted because of the money needed for TV ads so in addition to scraping the electoral college there is a need to have campaign finance reform at the same time.


“Even after candidates become presidents, they continue to BEND over backwards”

Plus representative democracy and occasional voting isn’t actual democracy. It would be nice to have the advances you mention in a six or seven branch formalized state held in dynamic tension with autonomous democracy outside the state. An autonomous democracy with the distributed human intelligence and mandate to remake formal government sections that stray toward environmental destruction and rationalizations for raw insatiable want.