Breaking the Electoral College in Two Simple Steps
Without a constitutional amendment, but perfectly constitutional and it only involves two states: California and Texas.
It follows from a simple premise, states can allocate their electors any way they please. Therefore to effectively force the electoral college to elect the winner of the popular vote all that would be required is for enough states to allocate their electors in a way to prevent a popular vote loser(sorry Donald, know how you hate that word) from becoming president.
I would recommend something along the lines of “Electors shall vote for the candidate winning the state’s popular vote unless said candidate lost the popular vote and absent the intervention of electors from ‘insert state name here’ said candidate would win the electoral college. In which case electors shall cast their votes for the candidate winning the national popular vote.” It’s entirely possible that actual legislators could do better. I’ve considered a few other options, such as adding a criteria for the margin of popular vote victory say 1% or 1 million votes, which would leave the electoral college intact for very close cases and under which George W. Bush would still get his electoral victory of Gore. I’d prefer a full popular vote election, but who am I to deprive Ohioans the privilege of sitting through innumerable campaign adds every four years. To minimize disruption one could also only specify that the minimum number of electors flip guaranteeing a 271–267 split in the event of a popular/electoral college split.
So that brings us to the two steps. You may be able to guess them at this point.
- California changes the way they allocate their electors to something similar to what is proposed above.
- Texas does the same(Note: Donald’s 304 electoral votes are at the outer edge of what Texas’ 38 votes can compensate for. The addition of a state like Ohio would help allowing red-leaning parity with California.)
2a. New Hampshire learns to content itself with its first in the nation primary rather than being America’s least populous swing state.
Now there would inevitably be lawsuits. Of course this is America, there are always lawsuits. I believe(Official disclaimer: Law school graduate, not a practicing lawyer or member of any state bar association) that such a law would be constitutional because… well states can allocate electors however they please and because states and localities(I’m certain of the localities not so much about the states) can allow assorted non-citizens to vote in local elections it isn’t a violation of due process or equal protection to take additional voters into account if it’s okay under state law. It would be an interesting suit, but I think the law would stand.
I listed California first for a reason, it might be liberal smugness, but somebody has to go first and I think it would be California, because forgive the liberal smugness but we do love ourselves the moral high ground and effectively nullifying the potential for any GOP candidate to ever win the popular vote and lose the electoral college would put enormous levels of pressure on Texas to follow suit. I believe Texas would follow suit because if there’s anything conservatives hate it’s liberals unquestionably staking out the moral high ground. So California, the ball’s in your court how about grabbing the moral high ground.
So two steps to break the electoral college… sounds like fun, right?
I assume somebody else has thought of this before me, but I haven’t seen it and I think its a rather good idea.