Steve Chapman

They expected most presidents to be chosen by the House of Representatives because no one would get a majority in the Electoral College. So much for their infallibility.

"The Electoral College is a pillar of federalism and state sovereignty." False. The strength of federalism is the existence of states and their control over many spheres of government. The Electoral College allocates votes among states but doesn't confer any power on them. Canada lacks the Electoral College, and its provinces enjoy more power than our states.

Citizens cast presidential ballots according to individual preference, not state interests. Voters in Detroit don't vote to uphold the interests of rural residents of the Upper Peninsula, or vice versa. Kansans and Nebraskans do not see their needs as starkly different. We're all Americans, first and foremost.

"It forces candidates to pay attention to states they would otherwise ignore." True. It does so by forcing them to ignore other states -- most of them. Only eight states saw Obama during the general election campaign, notes Edwards, and only 10 got visits from Romney.

"Without it, we'd face frequent massive recounts, multiple parties and narrowly based candidacies." Really? You'd never guess that we use simple majority rule in our other elections, without those awful consequences.

Senate races rarely generate vote-count disputes. Third parties hardly ever affect congressional elections. Candidates for governor campaign in rural as well as urban areas.

The Electoral College is a strange mechanism, created to avert imaginary dangers, that violates basic democratic principles for no good reason. Democrats have been ready to ditch it for at least 12 years. The GOP had better second the motion now, before they change their minds.

Steve Chapman

Steve Chapman is a columnist and editorial writer for the Chicago Tribune.

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