Has the Time Come to Abolish the Electoral College?

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While the Electoral College is as old as the American Constitution, it’s also been controversial since the very beginning of the country. And it remains a point of contention even today — particularly today in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election. In the wake of his historic loss, Donald Trump has been "pressing his aides on whether Republican legislatures in key states could overturn the results of the presidential election and pick pro-Trump electors," noted Jamelle Bouie, a columnist for The New York Times. The fact that this would even theoretically be possible — that the electors could this easily be manipulated and the will of the American people this easily and purposefully ignored — highlights how undemocratic relying on the Electoral College has the potential to be. And this controversy is resulting in renewed cries to abolish the system of people who ultimately choose the president.

As Americans once again endure heated dissent surrounding an election, more than 60% have indicated they’re in favor of eliminating the Electoral College completely and relying solely on the popular vote to determine the outcomes of presidential elections. As these calls to dissolve the system intensify, the very existence of the process is being called into question. But what’s the full reasoning behind this, what would the elimination of the Electoral College look like and how difficult would its removal be to achieve? Like many concepts in American politics, understanding the answers requires a deeper dive into the history, arguments and potential solutions.