The Electoral College has caused fundamental damage to the United States in the first part of the twenty-first century. We have had two minority presidents, George W. Bush and Donald J. Trump, as a result of the arcane machinations of the electoral college. As a result, we have suffered through the Iraq War and its aftermath, including ISIS and al Queda. Now we will suffer generational damage to the federal courts, the environment, and tax inequality caused by President Trump and his merry band of misfits.
As President Trump said, "The election is rigged." He was right: The electoral college rigs the system. Elections are now decided by a few states where there are roughly equal blocks of Democrats and Republicans: Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, Colorado, Michigan and Wisconsin. A slim majority in several of these states can tilt the electoral college against the will of the people.
[Print by Joel D. Joseph. PartisanArtisan.com]
The Constitution is an exceptional document that has lasted 240 years. The electoral college was a compromise. At the time of the first election in 1789, thirteen states ranged in population from 68,000 in Rhode Island to 748,000 in Virginia, but those numbers included slaves, women and children. The total population of the United States was 3,929,214, less than half the population of Los Angeles County or New York City today. If we only look at the white male vote (the only ones who could vote in 1789), there was only a total of 800,000 voters. Virginia had 110,00 white males, New York, 83,000, Delaware 12,000.
The Constitution was meant to be amended. Article V of the Constitution provides for amendments. Thomas Jefferson, one of the primary drafters of the Constitution, said, "Laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors."
Jefferson also wrote the Declaration of Independence which provides in part, "Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, -- That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."
In a democracy, the popular vote is the only vote that matters. U.S. citizens now travel and move more often than in 1790 and the weight of their vote should not be decided on where they live. Whether you vote in Delaware or California, you vote should be treated equally. The Supreme Court in Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S.186 (1962), decided that the Constitution required that all votes be treated equally (not counting Presidential elections). In that case, Tennessee gave voters in some districts two or three times the weight of other districts in State elections. The Constitution does the same thing with the electoral college. Now is the time to get rid of that anachronistic piece of history. I understand ratification of a Constitutional amendment is difficult, requiring a 2/3 vote in Congress and approval by of the States. But the United States cannot afford a third mistake: we do not want another George W. Bush or Donald J. Trump, a minority president ill-prepared to lead this country and the world.