That’s fine.
Robert Lee Louviere
1

Yes, but remember that the EC usually “works right” in the sense that the popular vote winner is also the EC winner. So the opportunities for being upset at the EC result are rare. I’m not sure why parties pretend it’s great, except for the obvious self-serving reasons Trump is demonstrating.

The question about the Senate is a good one, but it can at least be explained as part of an over-arching theory about the relative importance of the institutions that participate in the federal government. The theory of the Senate is that a majority of the states, as states, should be able to block federal legislation and federal appointments. Remember that before the 17th Amendment in 1913 (so for more than one-half of our national history), voters did not elect Senators, state legislatures did. This is an extremely unusual arrangement for a society that considers itself “democratic”. But it was intended and expected to act as a “check” on rampant federal power, not a license to exert that power. Senate cannot do anything unilaterally, except to pass legislation subject to passage by the House, then subject to veto by the President. It can reject judicial nominees by the President, but it can’t unilaterally appoint the ones it prefers. It’s a negative power and it’s (supposedly) part of the genius of the American political system. As I think you have gathered by now, I have my doubts…

As for Congress voting the President, that has actually happened in the past and could happen again this month if enough Republican electors decide they cannot vote for Trump. But again, I think the fact that the “back-up plan” under the non-representative EC system is to have another non-representative vote in the House underlines the foolishness of the EC. There would be no drama or politicking or tortured legal analysis of the situation if we had a popular vote. We’d just be watching President-elect Clinton pick her cabinet and execute a smooth, seamless transition from Obama, confident that the actual will of the electorate had been fulfilled, without any ongoing questions about her “legitimacy” as President.

I’m not sure why (or how) we would abolish the Presidency. But if we are going back to zero and building a new Constitution from the ground up, I would do a lot of things differently. I see no need for a two-chamber structure at all. I think the idea of states having “rights” — apart from the rights of the people who live in those states — as both anachronistic and dangerous. I think we’d probably be better off with some parliamentary form of government, plus some form of proportional representation (which addresses things like the “interests of rural voters” more fairly and directly than the EC and the Senate do), with all representatives elected by direct vote within strictly equalized districts that are immunized from Gerrymandering. A “super” House of Representatives with the Prime Minister as the de facto President.

Not for nothing, but this is the rough outline that the vast majority of modern democratic constitutional republics adopt. They often have a “head of state” as well, with defined administrative and executive powers, which would be fine too. But almost nobody goes with our existing Constitutional structure, unless they are trying to copy us for specific historical reasons.

But I don’t think this is going to happen anytime soon, so it’s not higher on my list that dumping the EC, which I think should be politically achievable. I do not mean to suggest in any way that getting rid of the EC will, by itself, resolve all the inequities and contradictions and inefficiencies of the federal system. But I don’t think reducing federal powers and giving the states more will do that either — in fact, i think that leads to a worse system overall.

What do you think?

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