A Better System for Everyone

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.

Remember that with a shift of fewer than 60,000 votes in just one state (Ohio), Sen. John Kerry would have won the 2004 election while losing to George W. Bush by nearly 3 million popular votes.

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.

 Nationwide Survey Results 10/12/17

Nationwide Survey Results 10/12/17