The Electoral College meets today, with the designated electors meeting in state capitols to cast their vote for president. In most states, electors are required, by law or by oath, to vote according to the election results of their state. Nevertheless, this year electors are receiving thousands of e-mails, letters, and phone calls, insisting on the autonomy of the electoral college and begging them not to put Trump in office. Even Democratic electors are being pressured not to vote for Clinton but a more conventional Republican, in the hopes of attracting enough Republican electors to switch from Trump.
In the first presidential election, each state voted, either popularly or by state legislature, for upstanding citizens and trusted local leaders who gathered together to deliberate on who would make the best president. They voted, and the winner would become president. That first Electoral College chose, unanimously, George Washington. There hasn’t been a better president since.
But soon political parties came into existence, nominating their candidates. The electors came to represent a particular party. They began to all be selected by a popular vote. And soon we had the system we do today. (See this for the history of the Electoral College.)
Would you favor going back to the original Constitutional method of picking a president? [Read more…]