With results uncertain as Tuesday rolled into Wednesday, many thoughts turned to the Electoral College. This is the way in which millions of voters are disenfranchised every four years in a state-by-state winner-take-all system. In 2016 Donald J. Trump lost the popular vote by a large margin but won the Electoral College.
The Electoral College has long outlived its purpose. The framers of the United States Constitution created it because they knew that in 1787 all politics was truly local, without electronic media, Facebook, or Twitter, and that voters would be unable to judge among national candidates. Instead, the framers created electors, who would be landowning men of the elite — many of whom held others in slavery — who presumably would know better.
New York State has already signed on to a plan to make the anachronistic way in which Americans choose a president and vice president obsolete, but there is some distance to go before the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact or another way to choose the president is reached. In early 2020 results, Colorado voters appear to have backed a ballot measure that would allow the state to join the compact.
So far, the movement for a popular vote has been seen as benefiting Democratic candidates. However, with Texas’s 38 electors expected to be chosen by a Democratic majority as soon as 2024, millions of Lone Star State Republicans may add their voices to the calls for reform so they can still have a say in the outcome. Without Texas any Republican presidential candidate’s chances become close to zero. The time for change is now.