Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Another entry in the Annals of Bad Ideas

This is Joseph

From Slate:
An anonymous elector told Politico that the House election that would result from a Trump Electoral College defeat “would immediately blow up into a political firestorm in the U.S." and be a positive step toward galvanizing the public’s support for ditching the college. Another, former Democratic National Committee Vice Chairwoman Polly Baca, said she’d prefer that the Electoral College return to the model outlined by Alexander Hamilton in the Federalist Papers and become an independent body informed but not governed by actual vote tallies.
I am especially surprised by the second suggestion here: just how does this help the problem?  You still have a potential difference between the popular vote and the electoral college.  But now the college can go completely rogue and decide the election.  How do we know that this version of the college, with what sound like unbound electors, will improve transparency.  The problem that people seem to worry about is the discordance between the electoral college and the popular vote -- how does this help? 

As for the first, the electoral college is currently in the constitution of the United States.  Last time I looked, it would take staggering levels of public support to pass a constitutional amendment.  Especially since any such amendment would obviously disadvantage whichever major party draws lots of support from rural and low population states.  I like the general idea of reforming this system, but I am unclear if continuing to destroy the norms of governance is going to be a good plan.

One may want to have them around at some point. 


  1. Joseph:

    Don't forget selection bias. People with ridiculous ideas can get in the news. Wacky is newsworthy.

    1. Andrew,

      Wacky gets coverage. News-WORTHY is a different question.

    2. Good point, Andrew. It just seemed to follow a number of calls for faithless electors, and seemed an especially bad example. But you are right that this is likely why it was written up in Slate