In “An Explosion is Coming,” Dana Milbank writes: “Electoral college models show Republicans could plausibly continue to win the White House without popular majorities.”
We don’t need speculative models, however, to tell us that either party could win the presidency without a majority of the popular vote – an outcome that harms legitimacy and democracy. Under the current system, only about a dozen states determine who is president, and those states, by definition, are tightly contested. President Trump’s victory margins of only about 1% in such states as Pennsylvania, Florida, Wisconsin, and Michigan indicate several possible outcomes where either a Democrat or Republican could win the popular vote and still get fewer electoral votes than an opponent.
By a wide margin, Americans want to elect their president by national popular vote – not because such a system would favor Democrats (it would not) but because a popular vote would mean every person’s vote in every state would count the same – and, as a result, three-quarters of the states would not be written off in a campaign, as they are now. That’s why 11 states and the District of Columbia have already passed legislation to set the path to elect as president the person who gets the most ballots nationwide.