It’s fashionable right now to demand the end of the Electoral College and our system of determining who wins a presidential election.
Democrats are demanding the one-man, one-vote principle be extended to the presidency, but it’s not going to happen. The Electoral College will stay, along with the split system of allocating Senate and House seats, because the reasons that compelled the founders to invent them remain today.
While one-man, one-vote has been forced on the states under the 14th Amendment, the principle never was applied in the Constitution. It prescribes unequal representation in the Senate and in the Electoral College for the same reason: We’d have no Constitution without these protections for the smaller states.
The same fears the founders knew exist today and mean it’s unlikely a majority of states will vote to change the Constitution in a way to disadvantage the smaller members of the union.
Even as the founders debated the new government, small states feared they would be dominated by a few big northern states. One of the ingenious compromises that made the Constitution possible, and still makes it work, was to apportion the House of Representatives according to population and the Senate equally, two per state.
The founders recognized, too, that the same fears applied to choosing our leader, and applied the same type of compromise. Each state has electors equal to its total representation in Congress, adding House and Senate members together. Thus, while large states do have more votes in the Electoral College, the power of the small states is magnified by the Senate numbers.
Even today, small states fear they could be overrun by a few powerful members if the union was recast as a strict one-man, one-vote democracy. And because of the way Constitutional amendments must be ratified, with each state having one vote and ratification by three-fourths of the states required to change its provisions, nothing will change.
With half the population living in just nine states, the threat of big-state domination is real.
All of which makes it likely that the electoral system which has served the country well for nearly 230 years will be with us for some time to come.