From the NYTimes, opining about the electoral college as defective, even if in some important ways it now favors Democrats:
The Electoral College remains a deeply defective political mechanism no matter whom it benefits, and it needs to be abolished.
We say that in full knowledge that the college may be tilting toward the kinds of candidates we tend to support and provided a far more decisive margin for Mr. Obama earlier this month than his showing in the popular vote. The idea that a voting method might convey benefits to one side or another, in fact, is one of the strongest arguments against it.
There should be no structural bias in the presidential election system, even if population swings might oscillate over a long period of decades. If Democrats win a string of elections, it should be because their policies and their candidates appeal to a majority of the country’s voters, not because supporters are clustered in enough states to get to 270 electoral votes. Republicans should broaden their base beyond a shrinking proportion of white voters not simply to win back Colorado, but because a more centrist outlook would be good for the country….
But 76 years later, the system continues to calcify American politics. As Adam Liptak of The Times recently wrote, this year’s candidates campaigned in only 10 states after the conventions, ignoring the Democratic states on the West Coast and Northeast and the Republican ones in the South and the Plains. The number of battleground states is shrinking, and turnout in the other states is lower. The undemocratic prospect of a president who loses the popular vote is always present (it’s happened three times), as is the potential horror show of a tie vote that is decided in Congress.
The last serious consideration of a constitutional amendment to abolish the college, in 1970, was filibustered by senators from small states who feared losing their disproportionate clout. The same thing would probably happen today, even thoughRepublicans (who tend to dominate those states) are increasingly skeptical of the college.
The best method of moving toward direct democracy remains the National Popular Vote plan, under which states agree to grant their electoral votes to the ticket that gets the most popular votes around the country. Legislators in eight states and the District of Columbia (representing 132 electoral votes) have agreed to do so; the plan would go into effect when states totaling 270 electoral votes sign up.