NY Times Editorial Board Says Electoral College Should be Abolished

By Epoch Newsroom
Epoch Newsroom
Epoch Newsroom
December 20, 2016 Updated: December 20, 2016

 The New York Times is calling for an end to the Electoral College.

The newspaper’s editorial board wrote in a piece on Monday that the institution, which made President-elect Donald Trump’s win official, cited polls that found most Americans would rather see a president get elected via the popular vote. “Trump won under the rules, but the rules should change so that a presidential election reflects the will of Americans and promotes a more participatory democracy,” the editorial board wrote.

“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 said in reference to polls.

The Cook Political Report, in its latest tally, says that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by more than 2.8 million.

The Times said that currently the Electoral College favors smaller states and proposed a solution. “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 wrote.

“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,” it added.

However, as Trump and others have noted, switching to a popular vote system might not have resulted in a win for Clinton.

“It would have been much easier for me to win the so-called popular vote than the Electoral College in that I would only campaign in 3 or 4 states instead of the 15 states that I visited. I would have won even more easily and convincingly (but smaller states are forgotten)!” Trump wrote on Twitter following his win.

Trump has previously suggested that if the election was determined by the popular vote and not the Electoral College, he would have strategized his campaign differently, focusing on high-population states like New York, California, Florida, Illinois, and Texas, rather than smaller battleground states like New Hampshire, Iowa, Nevada, Wisconsin, and others.

Meanwhile, the Electoral College’s impact on voter behavior is difficult to quantify, as the incentive to vote might be diminished in states where voters believe or can expect that their votes are less likely to have an impact on the overall outcome. For example, a Trump supporter in New York—a heavily Democrat-leaning state—might feel less motivation to go out and vote, and a Clinton supporter in Wyoming—a heavily Republican-leaning state—might also not go out and vote.