Our forefathers were very wise to create the electoral college and their reasoning still holds up today.
The Electoral College is now the set of dedicated party activists who vote as rubberstamps for presidential candidates. In the current presidential election system, 48 states award all of their electors to the winners of their state.
The Founding Fathers in the Constitution did not require states to allow their citizens to vote for president, much less award all their electoral votes based upon the vote of their citizens.
The presidential election system we have today is not in the Constitution. State-by-state winner-take-all laws to award Electoral College votes, were eventually enacted by states, using their exclusive power to do so, AFTER the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution. Now our current system can be changed by state laws again.
Unable to agree on any particular method for selecting presidential electors, the Founding Fathers left the choice of method exclusively to the states in section 1 of Article II of the U.S. Constitution— “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors . . .” The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly characterized the authority of the state legislatures over the manner of awarding their electoral votes as “plenary” and “exclusive.”
The constitution does not prohibit any of the methods that were debated and rejected. Indeed, a majority of the states appointed their presidential electors using two of the rejected methods in the nation’s first presidential election in 1789 (i.e., appointment by the legislature and by the governor and his cabinet). Presidential electors were appointed by state legislatures for almost a century.
Neither of the two most important features of the current system of electing the President (namely, universal suffrage, and the 48 state-by-state winner-take-all method) are in the U.S. Constitution. Neither was the choice of the Founders when they went back to their states to organize the nation’s first presidential election.
In 1789, in the nation’s first election, the people had no vote for President in most states, only men who owned a substantial amount of property could vote, and only three states used the state-by-state winner-take-all method to award electoral votes.
The current 48 state-by-state winner-take-all method (i.e., awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in a particular state) is not entitled to any special deference based on history or the historical meaning of the words in the U.S. Constitution. It is not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, the debates of the Constitutional Convention, or the Federalist Papers. The actions taken by the Founding Fathers make it clear that they never gave their imprimatur to the winner-take-all method.
The constitutional wording does not encourage, discourage, require, or prohibit the use of any particular method for awarding the state’s electoral votes.
As a result of changes in state laws enacted since 1789, the people have the right to vote for presidential electors in 100% of the states, there are no property requirements for voting in any state, and the state-by-state winner-take-all method is used by 48 of the 50 states. States can, and frequently have, changed their method of awarding electoral votes over the years
Supporters of National Popular Vote find it hard to believe the Founding Fathers would endorse an electoral system where more than 2/3rds of the states and voters now are completely politically irrelevant. 9 of the original 13 states are ignored now. Presidential campaigns spend 98% of their resources in just 15 battleground states, where they arent hopelessly behind or safely ahead, and can win the bare plurality of the vote to win all of the states electoral votes. Now the majority of Americans, in small, medium-small, average, and large states are ignored. Virtually none of the small states receive any attention. None of the 10 most rural states is a battleground state. 19 of the 22 lowest population and medium-small states, and 17 medium and big states like CA, GA, NY, and TX are ignored. Thats over 85 million voters. Once the primaries are over, presidential candidates dont visit or spend resources in 2/3rds of the states. Candidates know the Republican is going to win in safe red states, and the Democrat will win in safe blue states, so they are ignored. More than 85 million voters have been just spectators to the general election. States have the responsibility and power to make their voters relevant in every presidential election.
With national popular vote, with every vote equal, candidates will truly have to care about the issues and voters in all 50 states and DC. A vote in any state will be as sought after as a vote in Florida. Part of the genius of the Founding Fathers was allowing for change as needed. When they wrote the Constitution, they didnt give us the right to vote, or establish state-by-state winner-take-all, or establish any method, for how states should award electoral votes. Fortunately, the Constitution allowed state legislatures to enact laws allowing people to vote and how to award electoral votes.