Even discounting the progressive afterglow of last week’s election results there’s still good reason to ponder the New York Times editorial, “Let the People Pick the President” arguing for the demise of the U.S. Electoral College. Key excerpts:
“… decades of polling have found that Americans of all stripes would prefer that the president be chosen directly by the people… The Electoral College is a disaster for a democracy… voters outside of swing states know their votes are devalued and they behave accordingly.”
Of course, to suggest that this kind of existential change in the American election of a president can be accomplished quickly would be the height of naivete. However, the outcome of many of the local and state elections this week — with progressives defeating likely defenders of the electoral status quo — points to a more promising, albeit long and difficult, road to success. That road is marked with many patient, persistent efforts and political victories at those grassroots levels.
Here’s how The Times sees it:
[Instead of trying to change the Electoral College by amending the U.S. Constitution], “A quicker and more reliable way is the National Popular Vote interstate compact, under which states agree to award all of their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote.
“The agreement kicks in as soon as states representing 270 electoral votes sign on, ensuring that the popular vote will always pick the president.”
Only ten states and The District of Columbia — totaling 165 electoral votes — have joined the compact. Clearly, much political work must be done, especially in electing supportive state legislators in states with rapidly growing populations, but even in traditionally “red” states.
For the incredulous reader: A year ago, how many of us thought that Donald Trump could do so much damage to America in just on year? The 2017 election results could well be harbinger of another surprising pivot in the country’s politics — and well being.