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Unhingery: “No candidate has ever won both Florida and Ohio and lost. I won them both, by a lot!”

3 min read

Why bother counting the votes after Dixville Notch weighs in. Dick Nixon won both Ohio and Florida in 1960 and lost to Kennedy. But you do you Donald, it’s still 1-52 in failed legal challenges.

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— Eric Wolfson (@EricWolfson) December 9, 2020

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— Spiro Agnew’s Ghost (@SpiroAgnewGhost) December 9, 2020

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— Stand Up America (@StandUpAmerica) December 9, 2020

What would abolishing the Electoral College take?

To begin, it would require a constitutional amendment, a step that necessitates not only a two-thirds vote in each chamber of Congress but also ratification by three-quarters of the state legislatures. The last time the nation successfully changed the Constitution was a relatively minor tweak requiring that salary increases for members of Congress not take effect until the session after they were approved; the states finished ratifying the amendment 28 years ago, following an on-again, off-again effort that began in 1789.

Overhauling the way Americans choose their president via a constitutional amendment seems about as likely at the moment as Trump inviting Biden for a friendly round of golf. Critics of the Electoral College have made some progress going another route, however—one that does not involve altering the Constitution. Since 2006, the legislatures of 15 states and the District of Columbia have enacted what’s known as the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, an agreement that binds them to award their presidential electors to whichever candidate wins the most votes nationwide, even if another contender captured the most in their state. The accord will take effect once enough states representing 270 electoral votes pass the bill through their legislatures. As of now, the backers are 74 electoral votes short of that magic number.

“It’s pretty serious,” says Alexander Keyssar, a Harvard professor and the author of a recent book, Why Do We Still Have the Electoral College?. The origins of the Electoral College are intertwined with the notorious three-fifths compromise that counted enslaved people as three-fifths of a person for the purposes of representation, giving southern states more power to compete with the North while denying liberty and the rights of citizenship to people in bondage. Numerous efforts to change or scrap it have been made, most recently in the 1960s when Congress came close to passing a constitutional amendment and sending it to the states. But Keyssar told me that there is now “more energy behind Electoral College reform than at any point” in the past half century.

www.theatlantic.com/…

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— The New York Times (@nytimes) December 9, 2020

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— Vicky Ward (@VickyPJWard) December 9, 2020

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— Daniel Bessner (@dbessner) December 9, 2020

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