As Hillary Clinton’s popular vote lead passes 2 million, the quadrennial question arises: Why elect Presidents differently from the way we elect every other public official? And why not change it?
The practical answer is that it’s impossible today to amend the Constitution. Half the country would automatically oppose it, given how divided we are.
But there is a way Democrats could change it.
Check out a group called National Popular Vote, which has come up with an ingenious way to reform the Electoral College – without amending the Constitution.
Carter and I got to know the founders a few years back when they brought their idea to North Carolina. It’s very simple: Get enough states – states with a total of 270 electoral votes – to enter into an interstate compact. Each of those states enacts a law instructing their electors to vote for the winner of the nationwide popular vote, not their statewide winner.
States can do that. Already, a couple allot their electors by congressional district.
Sound-far fetched? Well, it has already passed more 11 states with 165 electoral votes (CA, DC, HI, IL, MA, MD, NJ, NY, RI, VT, WA). It just needs to pass in states with 105 more electoral votes.
Once enough states agree, it won’t matter what the other states want – or what Congress or the President want. It’ll be done.
It would dramatically change how presidential races are run. Every vote in every state would count. Forget “battleground” states.
Republicans would campaign in California and New York to run up their national vote totals. Democrats would go to Texas and Georgia. Everybody would still come to North Carolina.
Smaller states – like Iowa and New Hampshire – might get less attention. But who cares?
On Election Night, there would be no more “calling” states for one candidate or the other. No more red and blue maps. Just a running vote count. Like the Super Bowl or Final Four. Or every other election we have.
North Carolina Democrats who like the idea should take note: We had a chance to pass it when we had a majority in the legislature. But the House leadership shelved the bill.