The Electoral College: How It Got That Way and Why We're Stuck With It

It was never designed to actually elect a President, it’s awkward, cumbersome, and confusing, and almost no one likes it. Americans have been trying to get rid of it for more than two centuries. Yet it’s still here. Now we are seeing renewed efforts to reform or eliminate the Electoral College. Will they succeed? Don’t bet on it.

So it has happened again. A close presidential election has led to recriminations, cries of fraud, and talk of tainted mandates. Just as predictably, the 2000 election has inspired calls to reform the Electoral College—predictably, that is, because such proposals have followed every close presidential contest since the beginning of the Republic. The only difference is that this time no one asked why there’s such a long delay between election and inauguration.

Who Really Elects The Presidents?

In the aftermath of the 1972 election we believe professional politicians might find the thoughtful essay that follows worth a little study; it might save them time and money in 1976. The author, Mr. Marshman, a former journalist with Life and a sometime screenwriter, has been a successful advertising man for a good many years and is currently with the D’Arcy-MacManus & Masius agency. As good ad men must be, he is a student of people in the mass.Read more »

The Election That Got Away

A loophole in the Constitution made it possible for the winner of the popular majority in 1876, Tilden, to lose to Hayes in the electoral college amid bitterness, fraud, and chicanery. It could happen again

If the manner of it be not perfect, it is at least excellent,” Alexander Hamilton once said of the machinery of the Constitution for electing the President and Vice President of the United States. In making this statement, Hamilton, for all his brilliance, was either committing an egregious error or engaging in eighteenth-century Madison Avenue encomium.