Write Another One, George

In his review of the 2004 edition of George Edwards’ Why the Electoral College is Bad for America, Alan Siaroff says Edwards’ book is “impressive and insightful.” It remains, I think, the go-to book on the topic, but it’s time for another, because the woes that the current system inflict on America are worse and different than when Edwards wrote his book.

One is that many people moved to a few states, and these states are mostly strongly tilted either in the red or blue direction. The result is that in the general election presidential campaigns now pay almost no attention to almost every voter in the country. This situation is far more extreme even than it was one or two decades ago, again because of increasing density in less than 10 states.

A second problem is that essentially unlimited money backs the major party candidates in the general elections, thanks to the increasingly political Supreme Court. This money funds every imaginable form of confusing, annoying, discouraging, and inaccurate messaging in every communications mode to an ever-decreasing number of potential voters.

The independents in swing states can barely catch their breath in the fall of the quadrennial election. By and large they hate the experience and don’t want the responsibility for the outcome. They would prefer to see campaign money spent broadly, and to get less attention.