Imagine the savings if we didn’t pump almost two years of political contributions into presidential campaigns.
Imagine how partisanship would disappear from choosing a president. This is one of the best reasons for letting Congress choose POTUS. Because POTUS is the only office for which every American citizen may vote, it is not the most unifying but the most divisive of all contests. For four years, people drive around with bumper stickers indicating their political loyalty, and observers who voted the other way are reminded why they didn’t like that candidate or those who voted for him or her.
Everyone knows, but is afraid to admit, that American’s voting preferences are simply that — the candidate with whom voters of a certain class, religion, ethnicity, race, television news network, or educational achievement feel most comfortable. For most Democrats, Hillary Clinton is no walk in the park but the thought of voting the same way as Jerry Falwell, Jr. is almost as inconceivable as the idea that climate change is overdone. The same goes for Republicans. Trump is not picnic but a certain sector of the American electorate would never be caught voting with Democrats or donating to National Public Radio. It’s not a culture war. It’s a preference bitchfest. And the race for the presidency only reveals the feng shui division of the nation. Values, schmalues.
So my proposal is to eliminate the electoral college. Instead, the party in the House of Representatives that wins the most seats gets to select the next president. Chances are they will choose someone who is willing to work with Congress — imagine that. Chances are as well that such a POTUS would govern with a sense of service to the larger federal government rather than using the White House as a form of monarchy (think executive orders). And remember — with Congress up for re-election every two years, punishment for a bad choice would be swift.
Best of all, this would free POTUS from the unimaginable burden of representing the nation (the way old monarchs did). Their responsibilities would be limited, sort of like the way the Constitution enumerates them.
One last plus, it would unify Americans. Everyone would resent not being able to vote for POTUS and would show contempt for Congress’ choice. As it stands, our current system only unifies roughly 53% of the population.