Let's flunk the Electoral College.

Gossip, speculation, and scuttlebutt about politics.
Nov. 12 2001 6:25 PM

Why Is The Electoral College Still There?

Chad were never the issue.

(Continued from Page 1)

If you abolish the Electoral College, the political fringe will gain more influence.


The idea here is that it's hard for a third-party candidate to win any individual state. By contrast, a third-party candidate with a significant minority of the vote nationwide could conceivably set himself up as a power broker. In practice, though, it's usually hard for a candidate who departs a race to exert much influence on the people who intended to vote for him. It would be easier for a third-party candidate who won a few states under the Electoral College system to play kingmaker by throwing his electors to one rival candidate or another. The novelist James Michener, a Humphrey elector in 1968, spent a lot of time that year worrying that George Wallace would do just that. (See "James A. Michener, Near-Faithless Elector.")

Under our federal system, "one man, one vote" isn't everything. If you want to abolish the Electoral College, you have to also want to abolish the U.S. Senate, because states with large populations get just as many senators as states with tiny ones.

In a perfect world, we would abolish the Senate for this very reason. Thomas Geoghegan makes a powerful argument along these lines in his book The Secret Lives of Citizens. If someone wants to pass around a petition, Chatterbox will sign it. Meanwhile, we can start by getting rid of the filibuster. (See "Abolish the Senate!")



Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

How Tattoo Parlors Became the Barber Shops of Hipster Neighborhoods

This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century

Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  News & Politics
Oct. 1 2014 7:26 PM Talking White Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.
Buy a Small Business
Oct. 1 2014 11:48 PM Inking the Deal Why tattoo parlors are a great small-business bet.
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 9:39 PM Tom Cruise Dies Over and Over Again in This Edge of Tomorrow Supercut
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?