Now I know it’s not true, but I learned the hard way, when I saw Donald Trump ascending to become president of the United States.
My American history professor said the electoral college was a safety net. A fail-safe system we have in place to prevent an irresponsible demagogue or unfit populist from becoming president. While the thought of thwarting the will of the people struck me as undemocratic, I saw the sense in it and was assured the electors had our backs.
Well, the system failed.
In fact, the system has failed five times in history and twice in my lifetime, where the winner by popular votes lost to a less popular candidate who strung together the correct number of electoral college votes.
Former Vice President was the first victim I witnessed. His loss led to the election President George W. Bush. While Bush was not an unconventional president, it is under his watch that the Al Qaeda terrorists attacked the United States, by flying jetliners into the World Trade Center in New York and killing thousands. This led to the War on Terror that has dragged on for the 18th year.
One has to wonder if things would have been different had Gore won the presidency.
Perhaps the biggest regret for electoral college for a majority of Americans is the 2016 elections. President Trump lost the popular vote by more than 3 million and still squeaked through and became president.
His daily treats of absurdity, lies and amoral character reminds makes memories of a normal presidency such as Bush’s or Barack Obama’s just that– memories.
How does that happen? Well, rules are rules and sometimes bad rules win and such is the case of Trump becoming president of a country that a wide majority does not want him to be their leader.
It is no wonder that despite the world falling all over itself imitating America’s success in many areas such as freedom, fashion, entertainment and technology, no country has imitated the electoral college system.
Not even Venezuela.
It’s time to end the electoral college system. It’s undemocratic. It violates the principle of one man, one vote, gives unfair advantage to states with fewer populations and hands disproportionate powers to electors to determine the fate of the nation.
And in the case of Trump, the electoral college placed a demagogue in the White House.
While it requires an constitutional amendment to change this archaic feature of our democracy, states can move faster by pledging all their electoral votes to the popular vote winner.
This week Colorado became the 12th state to pass a law that awards all its electoral votes to popular vote winner.