Now that it’s clear that Hillary Clinton won a fairly solid majority of popular votes cast for President, but didn’t come very close to winning the all-important Electors, of course a lot of very good people are getting very interested in reforming, bypassing, or eliminating the Electoral College. They’re wrong. Here’s why.
I agree that the “College” is kind of weird in this era, and it complicates elections in illogical ways, but changing it right now is not where a lot of effort should be going.
Solve problem you have, not the problem you wish you had.
The problem here isn’t that one or two details of the mechanics of electoral democracy are poorly designed. The problem is a widespread movement of people who have fully bought into the idea that government is nothing more than a weapon to punish your enemies with.
It’s kind of like you’re living with an abusive husband who keeps threatening to kill you… and you’re earnestly arguing the merits of safe and responsible gun ownership. That’s ineffective and kind of dangerous.
Now that only makes sense if you share my view of the new regime as a fundamentally revolutionary (in a bad way) phenomenon.
But if you don’t?
Can you do me favor, and I really mean this? Watch things carefully going forward, and please keep asking yourself: whatever it is that just happened, is it more consistent with
- “Holy shit this guy has terrible ideas about how to run a country!” or with
- “He really reminds me of that awful boyfriend my BFF had to fight to get away from.”
Manipulation, threats, reality denial, rapid escalation, conflicting demands, no sense of accountability? That guy? You. Can’t. Reason. With. Him.
What I’m afraid of…
…is that good people want to feel some sense of control over this so they make plans to fix the Electoral College, or lobby Congress, or raise money for Democrats.
But negotiating with bullies and abusers never works. Taking away their power is the only thing that does.