Electoral MasterpieceThe Founders knew what they were doing
Since November 8, Democrats have been searching for a scapegoat. Hillary Clinton’s defeat couldn’t possibly signal voters’ rejection of the liberal policies that Barack Obama advanced and Clinton vowed to continue, so progressives are on a quest to find the real culprit. They have thus far floated James Comey, Vladimir Putin, “fake news,” and the rampant racism of a citizenry that twice elected a black president. More consequentially, they are taking aim at one of the cornerstones of our republic: the Electoral College.
From the Constitutional Convention’s opening days, delegates debated how the president should be selected. Yet their decision to have that office chosen by electoral vote was one of the last decisions they made. In one enduringly important respect, the system they chose is a departure from a national popular vote. That is the Electoral College’s weighting mechanism, which grants each state a particular say in the overall result. This remains just as good an idea as it was in 1789. Indeed, in nine key ways, the test of time has proven the Electoral College to be an ever better idea than the convention delegates realized:
1. It requires a candidate to have cross-sectional support. The Electoral College makes it hard for a candidate to win who is not supported by large swaths of the country, from sea to shining sea. In this way, it is a nod to—yes—diversity. A presidential candidate cannot easily prevail by dominating just a few heavily populated regions or municipalities. He or she must appeal to the nation as a whole.