Tue 16 Dec 2008
In his election-night victory speech, Barack Obama said he would be a president for all Americans, not just those who voted for him. But as a candidate he didn’t campaign with equal vigor for every vote. Instead, he and John McCain devoted more than 98% of their television ad spending and campaign events to just 15 states which together make up about a third of the U.S. population. Today, as the Electoral College votes are cast and counted state-by-state, we will be reminded why. It is the peculiar mechanics of that institution, designed for a different age, that leave us divided into red states, blue states and swing states. That needs to change.
It is ironic that the most common objection to the National Popular Vote compact is the suggestion that it is antifederalist. In fact, interstate compacts lie at the very core of federalism: individual states combining their powers to solve a problem. In this case, they would be joining forces to allow their citizens to act as one nation in the selection of their president.
Wouldn’t it seem silly if someone could be elected into office even if more people voted for the opposing candidate? That’s precisely what the electoral college allows for. Looking over the news lately there’s a lot of unrest in the system. Even Obama’s campaign revolved around “Change.”