Wrong Winner: The Coming Debacle in the Electoral College

Wrong Winner: The Coming Debacle in the Electoral College

Wrong Winner: The Coming Debacle in the Electoral College

Wrong Winner: The Coming Debacle in the Electoral College

Synopsis

An analysis of the American electoral college with its complicated set of procedures, this book analyzes the significant consequences of the winning of a presidential election by a candidate with fewer votes than his or her opponent. Effective remedies for the modification of the electoral college's deficiencies are presented by Abbott and Levine. They conclude that the only satisfactory solution to the inadequacies of the current electoral system is the complete elimination of the electoral college, and a change to direct popular election of the president.

Excerpt

There is an ominous prediction embedded in the title of this book: In the not very distant future the candidate who loses at the polls will become president of the United States. He or she will be a "wrong winner," the choice of the official electoral college but the runner-up in the popular vote. Although a century has elapsed since such a debacle has occurred, we have had many "near- misses," and it is our thesis that we are on the verge of witnessing another such spectacle. But this time the results will be far more dire than when the voters' choice was undone in 1824, 1876, and 1888. We will be confronted with a full-fledged constitutional crisis.

This, then, is a book about the complex machinery that the United States uses for selecting the president. We examine constitutional provisions, election history, and contemporary politics to reveal the shortcomings of the electoral college. Not only is there the ever-present danger of a "wrong winner," but we also show that there is a looming possibility of a "no winner" situation in which no candidate gets a majority of electoral votes and the selection of the president is shunted to the House of Representatives, where outcomes are highly unpredictable. On top of these infirmities, our analysis reveals that the current system gives some voters more power than others and frequently results in misinterpretations of the election results. We thus demonstrate that the use of the electoral college runs contrary to principles of democratic government.

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