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usatoday.com

As Trump, Biden hammer at swing states, advocates work to dismantle Electoral College

9-11 minutes

DENVER — As the presidential election between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden focuses increasingly on a few swing states that could determine the winner, millions of Americans are asking why their votes are essentially being taken for granted.

Now, a long-running effort to make the nation's presidential election a "one person, one vote" system is gaining favor among partisan Democrats still angry that Trump won the 2016 presidency despite losing the popular vote by more than 2.8 million votes.

Colorado is the latest state to consider adopting the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which seeks to essentially abolish the Electoral College without going through the near-impossible task of amending the U.S. Constitution. Coloradans are voting on the measure now, and polls show support is evenly split.

The idea of abolishing the Electoral College has been around for decades, but the current proposal became more popular after Al Gore lost the 2000 election. It hinges on states agreeing to dedicate their electoral votes to whoever wins the overall popular vote for president, rather than dedicating their votes to the candidate who won their individual state.

Unlike most elections in the U.S., the presidency is decided not directly by voters, but by members of the Electoral College, who are assigned based on the results of the popular vote in each state.

If approved by voters, Colorado would join 14 states and Washington, D.C., as members of the compact, which takes effect once states with a total 270 electoral votes sign on. Colorado's nine electoral votes would take the current total to 196.

Supporters say the measure would force candidates to campaign in states that today are often taken for granted because they vote so reliably Democrat or Republican that they can be safely ignored.

The proposal received new attention after the U.S. Supreme Court in July ruled that Electoral College electors in 32 states are legally obligated to cast their vote for the winner of their state's vote, rather than selecting someone else.

Clinton's 2016 loss emboldened Electoral College critics

While the plan's longtime backers have pushed it in large part on a philosophical basis, some frustrated Democrats have hopped aboard in hopes of avoiding a repeat of the 2000 and 2016 elections, where Republicans George W. Bush and Trump lost the popular vote but still claimed the presidency.

Many of the former 2020 Democratic presidential candidates generally supported either abolishing the Electoral College entirely or just using the compact to make it obsolete. Biden, however, has said he opposes changing the current system.

"The 2016 election was a good reminder of our democracy and what we need to do protect every single piece of it," said Daniel Ramos, former executive director of the LGBTQ advocacy group One Colorado. "The conversation (supporting the initiative) seemed even more prominent given that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote and Donald Trump still became the president."

Electoral College votes are generally distributed based on population, but highly populated states like California and New York, which tend to favor Democrats, have proportionally fewer votes. That's because the Electoral College system was also designed to give rural states a larger vote than they might otherwise be entitled to, especially those at the time with large populations of enslaved African Americans. 

Today, California, for instance, has 40 million residents and 55 electoral votes, while Wyoming has about 560,000 residents and three votes. That means Wyoming's electors represent about 186,300 voters apiece, while California's are proxy for more than 727,000 each. In other words, Wyoming's Electoral College votes count almost four times more than California's on a per-person basis. 

Each state has as many Electoral College votes as it does members of Congress. The 2020 Census will likely cause some states to lose votes while others gain, as the nation's population shifts.

Race to White House hangs on swing states 

Because most states have a "winner take all" policy for awarding those electoral votes, a candidate who just barely loses a large state's popular vote gets zero electoral college votes. That means candidates are increasingly focusing on swing states they might win, while largely ignoring states that will either reliably support them or their opponent.

In the 2020 presidential election, much of the focus has been on close races in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. In the waning days, both Trump and Biden have campaigned frequently in Pennsylvania, with the president making three separate appearances there on Monday alone. Neither has campaigned heavily in either California, which is firmly Democratic, or Wyoming, which largely votes Republicans.

The League of Women Voters, the nonpartisan elections advocacy group, has long called for the Electoral College to be abolished or changed, and has backed the NPVIC for 50 years. The league argues every vote should be weighted the same, regardless of who it benefits politically, because the concept of "one person, one vote" is so central to the American ideal.

Among the states that have adopted the compact: Vermont, California, New York and Illinois.

"We think elections should be done with 'one vote for one person' for every election, right down to student council," said Ruth Stemler, president of the Colorado League of Women Voters. "We're sorry that it's taken us 50 years but it's time for our democracy to take care of this now."

Supporters of a popular vote point out that whileindependent presidential candidate Ross Perot won 19% of the overall vote in 1992, he didn't collect a single electoral vote because he didn't "win" a single state. And while generally, the winner of the popular vote becomes president, the Electoral College picked someone else five times,in 1824, 1876, 1888, 2000 and 2016.

Some Democrats and Republicans want the popular vote to pick the president

A poll conducted in Colorado a year ago by Magellan Strategies found that support for joining the NPVIC split largely along party lines, strongest among younger Democrats, and opposed most strongly by older Republicans.

Former California Republican legislator Ray Haynes Jr. said he's always counted himself as a fan of the Electoral College, but now also supports the popular vote compact because it would force candidates to campaign in more places.

Haynes, who served in both the California Assembly and Senate starting in 1992, and served as chairman of the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council, argues the winner-takes-all approach used by 48 states and the District of Columbia improperly makes candidates focus on "a battleground precinct in a battleground city in a battleground county in a battleground state," giving residents in those areas a disproportionate amount of influence.

"The party spends so much time to persuade these moderate Republicans in their battleground states that they lose the conservative message," said Haynes, who has campaigned for the NPVIC. "A lot of the national policy gets driven by very narrow slices of voters in very narrow slices of certain states. You ought to listen to everybody."

Hayes said the Republican Party can overcome the natural inclination of urban residents to vote Democrat by offering a consistent conservative message: "You get in the trenches, I get in the trenches and we battle it out over ideas."

In the 2016 general election campaign, half of all campaign events were held in just Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Ohio, highlighting their importance in the Electoral College calculations, according to compact backers.

But critics say the measure would actually give more power to Democrat-dominated coastal cities in New York and California, where in 2016 Clinton ran up huge overall margins but still lost the Electoral College and therefore the presidency to Trump. Under the popular vote, a Democrat could campaign more efficiently by focusing on large cities that already tend to lean liberal, counting on their support to overwhelm less-populated but more conservative areas.

In Colorado, conservative commentator Krista Kafer, who opposes the popular vote, said she's convinced the current system forces more coalition-building. Many conservatives joke that direct democracies are the equivalent of two wolves and a sheep voting on what to eat for dinner.

"Politicians would spend the season courting Californians, New Yorkers, Illinoisans, and Floridians," Kafer said. "Those of us in flyover country and our concerns would be ignored."

Supporters of the current system say the Electoral College has served the nation well for generations by ensuring rural areas are heard.

"The Constitution, in a lot of ways, is designed to make sure we don't have big cities just running everything," said Trent England, director of Oklahoma-based Save Our States, which opposes the NPVIC.

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10 hours ago, aubiefifty said:

usatoday.com

As Trump, Biden hammer at swing states, advocates work to dismantle Electoral College

9-11 minutes

DENVER — As the presidential election between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden focuses increasingly on a few swing states that could determine the winner, millions of Americans are asking why their votes are essentially being taken for granted.

Now, a long-running effort to make the nation's presidential election a "one person, one vote" system is gaining favor among partisan Democrats still angry that Trump won the 2016 presidency despite losing the popular vote by more than 2.8 million votes.

Colorado is the latest state to consider adopting the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which seeks to essentially abolish the Electoral College without going through the near-impossible task of amending the U.S. Constitution. Coloradans are voting on the measure now, and polls show support is evenly split.

The idea of abolishing the Electoral College has been around for decades, but the current proposal became more popular after Al Gore lost the 2000 election. It hinges on states agreeing to dedicate their electoral votes to whoever wins the overall popular vote for president, rather than dedicating their votes to the candidate who won their individual state.

Unlike most elections in the U.S., the presidency is decided not directly by voters, but by members of the Electoral College, who are assigned based on the results of the popular vote in each state.

If approved by voters, Colorado would join 14 states and Washington, D.C., as members of the compact, which takes effect once states with a total 270 electoral votes sign on. Colorado's nine electoral votes would take the current total to 196.

Supporters say the measure would force candidates to campaign in states that today are often taken for granted because they vote so reliably Democrat or Republican that they can be safely ignored.

The proposal received new attention after the U.S. Supreme Court in July ruled that Electoral College electors in 32 states are legally obligated to cast their vote for the winner of their state's vote, rather than selecting someone else.

Clinton's 2016 loss emboldened Electoral College critics

While the plan's longtime backers have pushed it in large part on a philosophical basis, some frustrated Democrats have hopped aboard in hopes of avoiding a repeat of the 2000 and 2016 elections, where Republicans George W. Bush and Trump lost the popular vote but still claimed the presidency.

Many of the former 2020 Democratic presidential candidates generally supported either abolishing the Electoral College entirely or just using the compact to make it obsolete. Biden, however, has said he opposes changing the current system.

"The 2016 election was a good reminder of our democracy and what we need to do protect every single piece of it," said Daniel Ramos, former executive director of the LGBTQ advocacy group One Colorado. "The conversation (supporting the initiative) seemed even more prominent given that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote and Donald Trump still became the president."

Electoral College votes are generally distributed based on population, but highly populated states like California and New York, which tend to favor Democrats, have proportionally fewer votes. That's because the Electoral College system was also designed to give rural states a larger vote than they might otherwise be entitled to, especially those at the time with large populations of enslaved African Americans. 

Today, California, for instance, has 40 million residents and 55 electoral votes, while Wyoming has about 560,000 residents and three votes. That means Wyoming's electors represent about 186,300 voters apiece, while California's are proxy for more than 727,000 each. In other words, Wyoming's Electoral College votes count almost four times more than California's on a per-person basis. 

Each state has as many Electoral College votes as it does members of Congress. The 2020 Census will likely cause some states to lose votes while others gain, as the nation's population shifts.

Race to White House hangs on swing states 

Because most states have a "winner take all" policy for awarding those electoral votes, a candidate who just barely loses a large state's popular vote gets zero electoral college votes. That means candidates are increasingly focusing on swing states they might win, while largely ignoring states that will either reliably support them or their opponent.

In the 2020 presidential election, much of the focus has been on close races in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. In the waning days, both Trump and Biden have campaigned frequently in Pennsylvania, with the president making three separate appearances there on Monday alone. Neither has campaigned heavily in either California, which is firmly Democratic, or Wyoming, which largely votes Republicans.

The League of Women Voters, the nonpartisan elections advocacy group, has long called for the Electoral College to be abolished or changed, and has backed the NPVIC for 50 years. The league argues every vote should be weighted the same, regardless of who it benefits politically, because the concept of "one person, one vote" is so central to the American ideal.

Among the states that have adopted the compact: Vermont, California, New York and Illinois.

"We think elections should be done with 'one vote for one person' for every election, right down to student council," said Ruth Stemler, president of the Colorado League of Women Voters. "We're sorry that it's taken us 50 years but it's time for our democracy to take care of this now."

Supporters of a popular vote point out that whileindependent presidential candidate Ross Perot won 19% of the overall vote in 1992, he didn't collect a single electoral vote because he didn't "win" a single state. And while generally, the winner of the popular vote becomes president, the Electoral College picked someone else five times,in 1824, 1876, 1888, 2000 and 2016.

Some Democrats and Republicans want the popular vote to pick the president

A poll conducted in Colorado a year ago by Magellan Strategies found that support for joining the NPVIC split largely along party lines, strongest among younger Democrats, and opposed most strongly by older Republicans.

Former California Republican legislator Ray Haynes Jr. said he's always counted himself as a fan of the Electoral College, but now also supports the popular vote compact because it would force candidates to campaign in more places.

Haynes, who served in both the California Assembly and Senate starting in 1992, and served as chairman of the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council, argues the winner-takes-all approach used by 48 states and the District of Columbia improperly makes candidates focus on "a battleground precinct in a battleground city in a battleground county in a battleground state," giving residents in those areas a disproportionate amount of influence.

"The party spends so much time to persuade these moderate Republicans in their battleground states that they lose the conservative message," said Haynes, who has campaigned for the NPVIC. "A lot of the national policy gets driven by very narrow slices of voters in very narrow slices of certain states. You ought to listen to everybody."

Hayes said the Republican Party can overcome the natural inclination of urban residents to vote Democrat by offering a consistent conservative message: "You get in the trenches, I get in the trenches and we battle it out over ideas."

In the 2016 general election campaign, half of all campaign events were held in just Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Ohio, highlighting their importance in the Electoral College calculations, according to compact backers.

But critics say the measure would actually give more power to Democrat-dominated coastal cities in New York and California, where in 2016 Clinton ran up huge overall margins but still lost the Electoral College and therefore the presidency to Trump. Under the popular vote, a Democrat could campaign more efficiently by focusing on large cities that already tend to lean liberal, counting on their support to overwhelm less-populated but more conservative areas.

In Colorado, conservative commentator Krista Kafer, who opposes the popular vote, said she's convinced the current system forces more coalition-building. Many conservatives joke that direct democracies are the equivalent of two wolves and a sheep voting on what to eat for dinner.

"Politicians would spend the season courting Californians, New Yorkers, Illinoisans, and Floridians," Kafer said. "Those of us in flyover country and our concerns would be ignored."

Supporters of the current system say the Electoral College has served the nation well for generations by ensuring rural areas are heard.

"The Constitution, in a lot of ways, is designed to make sure we don't have big cities just running everything," said Trent England, director of Oklahoma-based Save Our States, which opposes the NPVIC.

The electoral college was created for a reason. “ I don’t get the president I voted for” is not a good reason to abolish the electoral college.  I think it’s a brilliant system that serves its purpose year in-year out.  

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"advocates work to dismantle Electoral College"

They will continue to fail. A whole bunch of States would have to vote against their own interests to abolish the EC. Ain't gonna' happen, legally. An armed coup could force it but that's the only way and I think such a coup wouldn't have any interest in voting procedures. They'd already have control.

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What I think people sometimes forget about, or don't know about, is that states have the ability to change how they allocate electoral votes, and not every state is winner-take-all.

Maine and Nebraska already split theirs. Two of their EVs go to the statewide winner, and the rest of them go to the winner in a congressional district. Obama won an EV in Nebraska in 2008, and Trump got one of Maine's in 2016, although neither won the state overall.

I don't think the bigger states are interested in giving up their all-or-nothing electoral clout like that, though.

As a hypothetical, it would be interesting to ponder how candidates would campaign in certain states if, say, Texas had the same format as Maine and Nebraska do. 

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On 10/28/2020 at 9:51 PM, Amwest20 said:

The electoral college was created for a reason. “I don’t get the president I voted for” is not a good reason to abolish the electoral college.  I think it’s a brilliant system that serves its purpose year in-year out.  

Yeah, to support slavery.  

Read up, it's never to late to learn the actual history:

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/11/electoral-college-racist-origins/601918/

https://time.com/4558510/electoral-college-history-slavery/

https://www.history.com/news/electoral-college-founding-fathers-constitutional-convention

 

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13 minutes ago, SaltyTiger said:

Still "angry" about 2016 aren't you? No one supports slavery Brother Homer.

 

Well they certainly did when they wrote the constitution, which is, of course the point.  Caused a lot of problems down the road.

(WTF does this have to do with 2016? :dunno:)

 

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4 hours ago, homersapien said:

That’s misleading.  It Wasn’t created just for slavery and you know it.  Sad it’s portrayed that way by homer and the articles.  Anybody with a brain knows that “slavery” plays zero role in our current electoral college.  Not everything’s about race you know? 

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7 minutes ago, Amwest20 said:

That’s misleading.  It Wasn’t created just for slavery and you know it.  Sad it’s portrayed that way by homer and the articles.  Anybody with a brain knows that “slavery” plays zero role in our current electoral college.  Not everything’s about race you know? 

Are you kidding me?  As if I said that. :-\

I brought up the origins of the electoral college - it's a constitutional vestige of slavery/racism.  That's fact, it's not misleading. 

Embrace your ignorance, don't embrace it.  You'll never progress until you acknowledge the truth.

 

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1 minute ago, SaltyTiger said:

Well they don't now.......you are really concerned about Trump winning again aren't you? 

If he wins, he won't receive a majority of the popular vote.

And no, I am not concerned, at least personally - I am set and I don't have children.  But I am concerned it will initiate an irreversible decline of our country - which he has initiated with his first term.  It will serve us right.

 

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13 minutes ago, homersapien said:

Are you kidding me?  As if I said that. :-\

I brought up the origins of the electoral college - it's a constitutional vestige of slavery/racism.  That's fact, it's not misleading. 

Embrace your ignorance, don't embrace it.  You'll never progress until you acknowledge the truth.

 

It was part of the compromise.  Embrace your ignorance.  It’s purpose wasn’t “so we still can have slaves”.   The articles actually confirm that.  

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3 minutes ago, homersapien said:

If he wins, he won't receive a majority of the popular vote.

And no, I am not concerned, at least personally - I am set and I don't have children.  But I am concerned it will initiate an irreversible decline of our country - which he has initiated with his first term.  It will serve us right.

 

Two things... what does  "I am set mean" ? 

Why does "irreversible decline serve us right"...believe the "dark winter" garbage?

 

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8 minutes ago, homersapien said:

If he wins, he won't receive a majority of the popular vote.

And no, I am not concerned, at least personally - I am set and I don't have children.  But I am concerned it will initiate an irreversible decline of our country - which he has initiated with his first term.  It will serve us right.

 

I don’t know how to respond to that^^^ 

It’s like the equivalent of someone saying that all grass is the color blue.  

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14 minutes ago, SaltyTiger said:

Two things... what does  "I am set mean" ? 

Why does "irreversible decline serve us right"...believe the "dark winter" garbage?

 

It means I am independently wealthy.  Short of another civil war, the re-election of Trump won't effect that.

Not sure I get the "dark winter garbage" illusion, but if the country re-elects Trump then we have allowed a combination of our political system and his supporters to seriously diminish our future as a global power and a democratic example for the rest of the world. 

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5 hours ago, homersapien said:

The origin of an idea does not necessarily invalidate its intrinsic value. That's a woke, childish approach to try to do away with everything over 10 years old.

1 in 4 in Ancient Greek society was a slave. I guess that invalidates the advent of democracy and makes democracy inherently racist? Throw it out too!

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20 minutes ago, AUght2win said:

The origin of an idea does not necessarily invalidate its intrinsic value. That's a woke, childish approach to try to do away with everything over 10 years old.

1 in 4 in Ancient Greek society was a slave. I guess that invalidates the advent of democracy and makes democracy inherently racist? Throw it out too!

If you are evaluating an institution - or anything else for that matter - it's useful and relevant to understand it's origins and the rational for creating it.

Of course, if one perceives it as being incidentally beneficial to one's personal preferences or interests, it's not hard to conjure up theoretical "advantages" it provides that serve those preferences.

 

Your second paragraph is absurd sophistry.

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1 hour ago, homersapien said:

I brought up the origins of the electoral college - it's a constitutional vestige of slavery/racism.

Nearly 250 years ago has nothing to do with today. The current effect of having the EC is a wonderful thing. All hail the Founding Fathers! In their infinite wisdom, they foresaw the mess that California, New York and Chicago would become and took measures to prevent the mob rule of such masses.

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4 hours ago, homersapien said:

If you are evaluating an institution - or anything else for that matter - it's useful and relevant to understand it's origins and the rational for creating it.

I disagree. Judge things strictly by what they are and its applicatiom. Separate the idea from its originator. Social justice warriors are using this "original sin" ideology to such an extreme that statues of George Washington and Abe Lincoln are being torn down. The far left wants to "Abolish the Police" and prisons because of the claim that they are institutions that evolved from slave patrols. It's lunacy.

You can't even begin to make an argument that the modern day use of the EC is remotely racist. So its origins have no relevance. This is just a woke tactic to destroy things you don't like. 

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6 hours ago, AUght2win said:

I disagree. Judge things strictly by what they are and its applicatiom. Separate the idea from its originator. Social justice warriors are using this "original sin" ideology to such an extreme that statues of George Washington and Abe Lincoln are being torn down. The far left wants to "Abolish the Police" and prisons because of the claim that they are institutions that evolved from slave patrols. It's lunacy.

You can't even begin to make an argument that the modern day use of the EC is remotely racist. So its origins have no relevance. This is just a woke tactic to destroy things you don't like. 

This discussion has nothing to do with idiots tearing down statues of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln  That's what's known as a diversion. 

Of course, modern day usage of the electoral college is not racist. But it was created from racism. More importantly, there are no modern benefits of retaining what is essentially created as an anti-democratic device and remains one.  Even the argument for rights of smaller, less populated states are more than covered by the fact they have two senators.

The electoral college is an archaic, anti-democratic system.  We used to be the model of democracy to the rest of the world. It's time we cleaned up our act.

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35 minutes ago, homersapien said:

This discussion has nothing to do with idiots tearing down statues of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln  That's what's known as a diversion. 

Sure it has to do with toppling statues as you brought slavery and race into the discussion. We are continue to be model of democracy imo....maybe not yours and the like.  You have never been accepting of a duly elected president.....that brother Homer is your problem. Your hate and disgust for the people that elected him is shameful.

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1 minute ago, SaltyTiger said:

Sure it has to do with toppling statues as you brought slavery and race into the discussion. We are continue to be model of democracy imo....maybe not yours and the like.  You have never been accepting of a duly elected president.....that brother Homer is your problem. Your hate and disgust for the people that elected him is shameful.

I can't help the slavery-based origin of the electoral college.  But that has nothing to do with my present day argument against it.  It's simply the history regarding it's origin.

I don't consider a president to be "duly elected" unless he/she receives a majority - or at least a plurality - of the vote.  That's sorta the point about my opposing the electoral college.

I don't hate the people that voted for Trump.  Contempt comes a lot closer. 

It's you who should be ashamed for voting for a narcissistic sociopath - which is about as close to evil as you can get.

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1 hour ago, homersapien said:

But it was created from racism.

From the History Article:  One group of delegates felt strongly that Congress shouldn’t have anything to do with picking the president. Too much opportunity for chummy corruption between the executive and legislative branches. Out of those drawn-out debates came a compromise based on the idea of electoral intermediaries. Another camp was dead set against letting the people elect the president by a straight popular vote. First, they thought 18th-century voters lacked the resources to be fully informed about the candidates, especially in rural outposts. Second, they feared a headstrong “democratic mob” steering the country astray. And third, a populist president appealing directly to the people could command dangerous amounts of power. These intermediaries wouldn’t be picked by Congress or elected by the people. Instead, the states would each appoint independent “electors” who would cast the actual ballots for the presidency.

My comment:  So the EC was a compromise of how the founding fathers wanted to elect a President because of 3 different reasons, none of which mentions slavery.

But determining exactly how many electors to assign to each state was another sticking point. Here the divide was between slave-owning and non-slave-owning states. It was the same issue that plagued the distribution of seats in the House of Representatives: should or shouldn’t the Founders include slaves in counting a state’s population?

My comment:  This seems like a consideration not a reason to create the EC.  Like any compromise, appeasing each group is part of a compromise.

Not only was the creation of the Electoral College in part a political workaround for the persistence of slavery in the United States, but almost none of the Founding Fathers’ assumptions about the electoral system proved true.

My comment:  Like most laws, procedures and/or policies there is something that's called the law of unintended consequences and that is what has happened with the creation of the EC.

The other articles you posted were written in 2019 and updated in 2020 which smacks of the 1619 project/Howard Zinn type of revisionist history we see so much of today.

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On 10/31/2020 at 11:18 AM, homersapien said:

 

I don't consider a president to be "duly elected" unless he/she receives a majority - or at least a plurality - of the vote.

Doesn't matter if do not consider a president "duly elected". What matters is the divisive leftist reaction to the presidency for the past 4 years. Shameful.......

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1 hour ago, SaltyTiger said:

Doesn't matter if do not consider a president "duly elected". What matters is the divisive leftist reaction to the presidency for the past 4 years. Shameful.......

Gee, I wonder why that is?:dunno:

If you really think the reaction to Trump is "shameful" you are much more of a MAGA than I gave you credit for initially.

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