Robert Reich: How To Make The Electoral College Irrelevant – OpEd

We must make sure our democracy doesn’t ever again elect a candidate who loses the popular vote. That means making the Electoral College irrelevant.

Here’s how: As you probably know, the Constitution assigns each state a number of electors based on the state’s population. The total number of electors is 538, so any candidate who gets 270 of those Electoral College votes becomes president.

Article II of the Constitution says states can award their electors any way they want. So all that’s needed in order to make the Electoral College irrelevant is for states with a total of at least 270 electors to agree to award all their electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote.

If they do that, then automatically the winner of the popular vote gets the 270 electoral college votes he or she needs to become president.

Already 10 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws to do this – awarding all their electoral votes to the candidate who wins the popular vote, as soon as the 270 elector goal is met. Together, these states total 165 electoral votes.

So all we need now is some additional states with 105 electors to pass the same law, agreeing to reward all their electoral votes to the winner of the popular vote – and it’s done. We’ll never again elect a president who loses the popular vote.

The effort is known as the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. If your state hasn’t yet joined on, make sure it does.


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Robert Reich

Robert Reich

Robert B. Reich is the Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and a senior fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as secretary of labor in the Clinton administration, and Time magazine named him one of the 10 most effective cabinet secretaries of the 20th century. He has written 14 books, including the best-sellers Aftershock, The Work of Nations, Beyond Outrage and, most recently, Saving Capitalism. He is also a founding editor of The American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and co-creator of the award-winning documentary INEQUALITY FOR ALL.

One thought on “Robert Reich: How To Make The Electoral College Irrelevant – OpEd

  • September 27, 2017 at 1:49 am
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    National popular vote will never sign up sufficient states (totalling > 270 electoral votes) for the same reason that a constitutional amendment abolishing the Electoral College will never be passed. Majority red states will never sign on because they will view NPV as a gross diminution of their presidential electoral powers in favor of blue states. All states that have currently signed up for NPV are solidly blue. NPV has been stuck at 160 votes for about 2 years. NPV supporters have picked all the low-hanging fruit. Battleground states will not sign up for NPV because they relish the national spotlight that shines on them every 4 years. My conclusion: Npv is dead as a doornail.

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