John B. Anderson condemns Electoral College
In two of the last five presidential elections, the American people have been saddled with chief executives who didn’t win the popular vote — George W. Bush in 2000 and Donald Trump in 2016.
The problem arose, of course, from the Electoral College.
On the first of those two occasions, former Republican Congressman John B. Anderson of Rockford co-authored with Steven Hill a column about the matter in the Chicago Sun-Times.
Here are a few excerpts:
Imagine if, after the conclusion of the Super Bowl or the World Series, it was announced that the “winner” didn’t really win. That instead the championship would be given to, well — the loser.
We have a long tradition of the person or team with the most points, runs or votes winning — except when it comes to electing our president, the highest office in the land. How do we explain that to young people, already so disengaged from politics? It’s like two elections taking place, side by side, one open and the other hidden. And suddenly, the nation is realizing that the one that counts is the hidden one. Nothing less than the legitimacy of the presidency is hanging in the balance.
The blame for this democratic anomaly rests with that 18th-century anachronism, the Electoral College. Created in less-democratic times by our founders, the Electoral College is a clumsy device that has been the subject of more proposed amendments than any other part of our Constitution. It harkens back to a time when the U.S. Senate also was devised to be elected by our state legislatures, instead of a direct vote of the people. We changed the Senate to a direct vote in 1913 with the 17th Amendment. But after 200 years, we are still left with the ponderous Electoral College…
The time has come to scrap the electoral College and institute a national direct election.
Amen to that.
Why should it take fewer votes to elect a Republican to the presidency than to elect a Democrat?
Why should seven of the 50 states get more than twice the electoral vote per citizen as California?
Why should a resident of Wyoming get more than three times the electoral vote as a citizen of California?