A changing opinion on the Electoral College

I’ve always been a fan of the much maligned Electoral College. Admittedly, I knew there were many authentic arguments against it. But I also knew there were several good arguments for it.

However, I’ve been slowly plodding my way through Akhil Reed Amar’s “The Constitution Today.” Amar is probably our nation’s best Originalist. If originalism isn’t your thing, he’s still one of the country’s foremost experts on the Constitution. Arguably, he’s the expert. His new book is a collection of some of his essays, columns and reviews. So it’s somewhat dated and odd to relate to at points, but it’s full of deep thoughts on our founding document.

Throughout it, Amar heaves some broadsides at the Electoral Collage. He makes some good points, bringing up how it is steeped in slavery, doesn’t fulfill our principle of “one person, one vote,” and so on.

But I was staying strong with my strong lean toward keeping the EC. I’d argued it was still our strongest example of federalism.

Then Amar pointed out that in many ways it inhibits federalism. The states have never really had to compete with each other while expanding the vote under the EC. No matter how many people vote in Pennsylvania it’s still going to have the same number of electoral votes. However, having a direct election, Amar argues, states will want to drive up the votes to become more relevant. So that would mean States would likely try new ways to drive up the number of voters.

He had me at new voters.

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A changing opinion on the Electoral College

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