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narrow victory in the popular vote, or even a loss. "Perhaps for incoming presidents, this artificial perception of landslide support is a good thing," Robert Speel, a political science professor at Pennsylvania State University, wrote in the Conversation in November 2016. "It helps them enact their agenda. But it can also lead to backlash and resentment in the majority or near-majority of the population whose expressed preferences get ignored. Look no farther than the anti-Trump protests that have erupted across the country."
Opponents also deny that a popular vote system would lead candidates to ignore rural areas any more than they already do. "Other than this odd view of democracy, which advocates spending as much campaign time in areas where few people live as in areas where most Americans live," Speel wrote, "the argument is simply false. The Electoral College causes candidates to spend all their campaign time in cities in 10 or 12 states rather than in 30, 40, or 50 states. Presidential candidates don't campaign in rural areas no matter what system is used, simply because there are not a lot of votes to be gained in those areas." Critics contend that the Electoral College, while intended in part to prevent the election of a tyrant or demagogue, could actually be used to do the exact opposite. While electors are theoretically able to save the United States from a potentially autocratic or unquailed president,Prokop wrote, "it seems just as likely, if not more likely, that electors could installthat candidate with dictatorial tendencies againstthat popular will. Perhaps some electors are wise sages with better judgment than the American people, but others are likely malign, corrupt, or driven by their own idiosyncratic beliefs." The United States, opponents argue, is unique in its use of the Electoral College. Countries around the world that have eschewed such as system, critics contend, have not had any of the problems that supporters of the Electoral College would predict. "[P]lenty of countries elect presidents, and none of them use an electoral college system," journalist David Weigel wrote in the Washington Post in December 2016. "Want to see how presidential elections work if people don't have to hunt in swing states? Lucky for you, we have hundreds of case studies, and the quick answer is 'they work pretty well.' In countries with free and fair elections, presidential races look a lot like our own, with candidates stumping everywhere to drive up favorable turnout and flip voters their way."Reforming the Electoral CollegeHaving evolved and endured for more than 200 years, the Electoral College is unlikely to be dismantled in the near future. Ratifying the Constitution requires approval from three-quarters of the states, and small states have little incentive to abandon it. The proposal endorsed by National Popular Vote to revise the system on a statewide basis seems more viable, but even that faces major obstacles. Complaints over the Electoral College tend to die down between elections and resurge during election years, when partisan tensions are often at their highest, so prospects for large-scale reform seem unlikely. Repeated instances of candidates winning the electoral vote and losing the popular vote, however, could change this.
BibliographyAmar, Akhil Reed. "The Troubling Reason the Electoral College Exists." Time, November 10, 2016, .