The Electoral College is an anti-democratic anachronism that was created by the Founding Fathers to guard against the wrong person, a popular demagogue for example, being elected chief executive by popular acclamation. As Hamilton wrote in Federalist 68:
“that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.”
The EC never has been called on to save us from our excesses and only 4 times have candidates won the popular vote and lost the electoral college. Two of those times have been in recent history and, ironically, counter to what the Fathers intended, the popular vote chose the more qualified individual and the Electoral College screwed us in very very close elections. The other issue the Fathers didn’t envision was that the EC would evolve into a group of functionaries loyal to their parties rather than a non-partisan group manned (literally)
“by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station, and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation, and to a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice.”
If we ever needed the EC, anti-democratic anachronism that it is, to save the country from a colossal clusterfuck of an election it is now. The reasons that would justify electors to be faithless to their state’s tallies (but faithful to the nation, I’d argue) are such:
Clinton won the popular vote by a significant margin. As of now by more than 2 million votes or 1.7%. As David Leonhardt notes in the Times.
She lost the Electoral College because of 3 states whose margins for Trump are around 100,000 votes total! It’s a pretty fucked up set of rules in which one candidate gets 2 million more votes, but if 1/20th of them had been in different states, different result.
Besides the electoral weirdness, this election was affected by some very questionable influences including foreign intervention by Russia in the form of hacked e-mails. That alone is may be the most disturbing aspect of this election. That the candidate who won was aided and abetted by actions of a hostile foreign power. That alone would have been a klaxon of alarm to the Founders that justifies a reversal of the election out of caution.
The Comey letter from the FBI to Congress, a communication that should never have happened by Dept. of Justice standards, and would never have been made public in times when statesmen ran our Congress, probably had a profound influence on the electorate despite its nothingburger on substance.
Trump has a surrounded himself with a rogues gallery and has formally named an anti-semitic white nationalist as his chief advisor.
we never got to see his taxes, breaking 40 years of tradition and he has no acceptable plan to shield his businesses from conflicts of interest. It’s not a blind trust to hand the businesses to his children to run and promise everything will be done on the up and up, especially when you’ve never had a reputation for doing that before.
The biggest factor of all is that, again ironically, the exact kind of person Alexander Hamilton envisioned us being protected by the Electoral College, will be handed the White House because of the Electoral College. For all of these reasons, and more the Electoral College should deny Trump the office of president.
The chance of 20 electors doing the right thing and reversing their votes is remote, sure. But if there was any point to having it as part of our electoral mechanisms at all, this was it. THIS WAS IT.
So of course the electors should reverse the states of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. And of course they wont.
So the EC has to go and real, true democracy not constrained by state borders, should rule.