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This California Senator Wants To Scrap The Electoral College

What if we threw a presidential election without any electors?

Image via Wikimedia

What if we threw a presidential election without any electors?

We’ll find out if Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-CA., gets her way. In what’s widely considered a long shot bid, she’s closing out her time in office with what popular vote enthusiasts see as the ultimate mic drop: a bill to abolish the Electoral College, which Donald Trump won—despite failing to amass a plurality of votes.

“This is the only office in the land where you can get more votes and still lose the presidency,” Boxer lamented, announcing her plan. “The Electoral College is an outdated, undemocratic system that does not reflect our modern society, and it needs to change immediately. Every American should be guaranteed that their vote counts.”

In Boxer’s corner, ironically, is Trump himself—or a version of him, anyway—who voiced support for going “with simple votes.” Later, however, he took to Twitter to call the Electoral College “genius” for bringing “all states, including the smaller ones, into play.” Quite a pivot for a guy who tweeted after Mitt Romney’s 2012 loss that the College “is a disaster for democracy” worthy of a “march on Washington” to “stop this travesty.”

Trump’s flip-flops underscore how frustrating it is to keep the system the way it is—or change it. As Jason Linkins noted in the Huffington Post, the kinds of states “ignored” most under the current system are also the ones that would get the shaft if we shifted to a pure popular vote system. Although straight-up majoritarianism seems like a perfectly pure principle on paper, in practice, it would give California even more power over who’s president—great in theory for Democrats, but terrible at alleviating the lopsided regionalism that fuels so much irritation with the College.

In fact, once you dump the Electoral College, why stop there? Why not hold nationwide elections for senators, or abolish the Senate altogether? Why not scrap the states? If you think political divisions are sharp now, just wait until every vote and every official is a national one.

Of course, it’s always possible most Americans will weigh these issues and opt to take a chance on life without the Electoral College anyway. Then again, by 2020, it might not matter again for a long time.

Then again, when it’s advantageous to him, Donald Trump may just be after the end of the electoral college too.

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