The Electoral College Is an Undemocratic Mess

The contested presidential election of 1876. Photo credit: US House of Representatives

While most Americans have a basic understanding of the Electoral College, far fewer of them know it’s an extraordinarily undemocratic system.

Did you know, for example, that it is mathematically possible to win an election with less than 22% of the popular vote even if only two candidates are running? Or that electors are not bound by the choice of the voters in their state?

Thanks to the current system, small states are given much more weight and candidates only bother to show up in a few tightly contested states. Everybody else really doesn’t matter.

As you wait for election results to come in, watch these three short videos to learn more about the Electoral College and the mess it is. And if you like chaos, you’ll be rooting for Trump and Clinton to each win 269 electors.

Related front page panorama photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from electoral college map (CGP Grey / YouTube)

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  • jojo

    Proves my point. The only humane form of government is a Benevolent Dictatorship or Monarchy, emphasis on benevolent. We had one in old Siam for centuries when the country was ruled by philosopher-kings. Now, after toxic democracies, we have the next best thing – a Benevolent Military government.

  • Richard Ellwood

    The electoral college was set up by the founders based on slavery.
    It had nothing top do with protecting the minority or big vs small states.etc. The only thing it protected was slavery. By counting slaves as 3/5 a person it gave the South more votes in the College. In the election of 1800 Pennsylvania had 10% more free persons that Virginia.
    Because of the slave based electoral college Virginia had 20% more electoral votes. Without the extra votes from the slave-based electoral college no southerner wins the presidency during the first 50 years of the republic. James Madison himself said as much.
    Read Lawrence Goldstone’s “Dark Bargain”

    See also Paul Finkelman’s “Slavery and the Founders”

  • Kathy

    And I hope it would be struck down as unconstitutional. All I want is a plurality of the brainwashed populace deciding my fate even more than they do now.

  • David S

    You don’t need to watch Idiocracy, just turn on the news and watch America at work. We are already there.

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