The New York Times Editorial Board is official calling for an end to the Electoral College in the wake of Hillary Clinton stunning Electoral loss and historic popular vote win.
President-elect Donald Trump was able to win the presidency by gaining the tenth lowest share of the Electoral vote in U.S. history, and by losing the popular vote by the highest margin of any president in U.S. history. In fact, the past 100 years, there have been only three races which have had a smaller margin than Trump’s: George W. Bush’s two wins in 2000 and 2004; and Jimmy Carter’s in 1976.
This election, perhaps more than any other — and not only because of the Electoral v. popular vote differential — has fueled the flames for abolishing the Electoral College. And the Times has now officially jumped into the debate.
The Times argued that Americans would prefer by overwhelming majorities to elect a president using a popular vote system. “They understand, on a gut level, the basic fairness of awarding the nation’s highest office on the same basis as every other elected office — to the person who gets the most votes,” the editorial board said.
The Times editorial came on the same day that Donald Trump sealed his presidential victory, even though Hillary Clinton leads him by more than 2.8 million in the popular vote, a total which has been growing since Election Day and which is expected to grow even larger by the time all of the votes have been counted.
“Yes, Mr. Trump won under the rules,” the Times admitted, “but the rules should change so that a presidential election reflects the will of Americans and promotes a more participatory democracy.” The Times went on to call the Electoral College a “living symbol of America’s original sin.”
“When slavery was the law of the land, a direct popular vote would have disadvantaged the Southern states, with their large disenfranchised populations,” the editorial board said. “Counting those men and women as three fifths of a white person, as the Constitution originally did, gave the slave states more electoral votes.” However, now, the Electoral College “tips the scale in favor of smaller states.”
The Times proposes a solution which does not require a constitutional amendment — something which would be all but impossible to obtain in today’s political climate.
“Eleven states and the District of Columbia, representing 165 electoral votes, have already passed legislation to have their electors vote for the winner of the national popular vote,” The Times said.
“The agreement, known as the National Popular Vote interstate compact, would take effect once states representing a majority of electoral votes, currently 270, signed on. This would ensure that the national popular-vote winner would become president.”
By using a popular vote system, all Americans would be treated equally, the Board argues.
“The system as it now operates does a terrible job of representing the nation’s demographic and geographic diversity,” the piece said.