Editor's Brief

Nope. There’s Really Zero Justification for the Electoral College.

July 25, 2019 10:58 a.m.

Republicans have had a growing electoral college advantage for some thirty years. It’s been acutely visible since the 2000 election and there are reasons to believe that President Trump’s electoral college advantage will be greater in 2020 than it was in 2016. (Why? A surge in younger, more diverse voters in blue and red states rather than in key swing states.) This pattern has sparked a renewed effort among Republicans to make increasingly strained arguments for the electoral college’s continued existence. This Twitter thread from AEI/NRO’s Jay Cost shows just how strained those arguments have become. Certainly among Democrats the electoral college has few real defenders. The case against it is considered a given, even if the prospects of abolishing it seem distant. But it is worth discussing just how weak the claims in favor of the electoral college are even compared to those on behalf of other structural advantages for the right in the House and especially the Senate. The entire electoral college is truly a historical accident with more or less no present justification or argument to support it.

The entire federal government is wired in favor of non-urban areas and small states where the current GOP has its particular strength. Partisan divisions were not always so tightly lined up with this structural dynamic underlying the federal government. But today it is, which means that in the current party system the entire federal government has a steep built-in advantage for the GOP.

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