Editor’s Note: & nbspEvery week we publish an excerpt from Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column on WashingtonPost.com. Read the full text of Katrina’s column Here.
Something is happening in Texas. Before today’s election 9.7 million Texans had already voted –108 percent of the votes cast there in the last presidential election. In just four years, Texas catapulted itself off penultimate when voting to a national leader in early voting. It’s not a coincidence. Now that this once-red state turns out to be a riot, residents are turning out to be in record numbers, believing their votes will finally have a meaningful impact on the presidential election. While this is a tremendous success story, it also underscores one of the greatest failures of our constitution: among the electoral college, some votes are far more important than others.
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) may have said best: “Call me old-fashioned, but I think the person who gets the most votes should win.” The electoral college is indeed an undemocratic travesty and no matter who wins this election, it is time for us to move to a national referendum.
Many supporters of the electoral college quote its anti-democratic nature as an advantage, which explains that the institution serves as a bulwark against so-called “majority tyranny”. In reality, however, the institution enables tyranny minorityThis allows political groups to consolidate their rule by targeting a small group of voters. It is mathematically possible to win the electoral college with less than 22 percent the referendum. This is an extreme case, but the fact remains that under the electoral college one voter in Wyoming almost has four times the power of a voter in California. By creating artificially narrow results, the electoral college creates it 40 times more likely that the results are close enough that the result could be influenced by unelected judges. No wonder 61 percent of Americans support the abolition of the electoral college Gallup poll.
Read the full text of Katrina’s column Here.