Democrats Will Push Electoral College Reform, But Odds Remain Heavily Against Change

There seems no question Hillary Clinton will lose in the Electoral College but win the popular vote. We saw this in 2000’s Bush-Gore race as well. These results no doubt will spark calls to reform the Electoral College, either through constitutional amendment or, more likely through the National Popular Vote initiative. 

I expect the debate will be intellectually interesting, on question such as whether we can extrapolate how things would have gone in this race had the candidates run a race aimed at racking up popular vote totals, and whether NPV is a “compact” requiring congressional approval.

But I don’t expect this debate to get anywhere politically. Both red states and small states will see it to their advantage to retain the Electoral College, and there will be a fierce fight against NPV if it gets significantly closer to reality. Yesterday’s results will only reenforce reasons to oppose change.

I think there’s little question if we were rewriting the Constitution today the Electoral College would be seen as anachronistic and out of sync with one person, one vote ideals. The same would be said of the Senate, which grossly favors small population states (like Montana and Rhode Island) over big population states (like California and Texas).

Many may want electoral college reform more than ever, but the political path forward seems quite steep.

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