The problem is not necessarily the Electoral College; the problem is that in the early 19th C the EC changed from a deliberative system to a winner-take-all
system. Both add a mechanism between the popular vote and the president, but one is a brake, the other an accelerator. /1
To understand how we got here, you have to remember that the Framers did not foresee the rise of political parties. Or rather, they hoped it would never happen. so they created a system divided horizontally, if you will, rather than vertically. "Best men" choose leaders. /2
Also, the EC was never an attempt to protect small states (who wanted 1 vote/state); it was a way to give slave states power over the presidency. EC gives vote for each Senator and Representative, so advantage to big states, like Virginia (in those days). /3
Idea is that well-known men in each state (more in bigger states) will cast 2 votes for president and VP, and best men will rise to top. If no decision, will send to House, where each state has one vote. This should give people a voice, without enabling demagogues. /4
First contested election is 1796, after George Washington, who won the Electoral College easily, steps down. By then, political parties have formed (which is one of the reasons he quits, warning Americans they're going in a bad direction). /5
In 1796, VA's Thomas Jefferson loses the EC to MA's John Adams... but he would've won if all electors in his strongholds had voted for him. So, to give his party a leg up in next round, VA tells its electors to vote for whoever wins the VA popular vote. Jefferson wins in 1800. /6
Other states quickly follow suit, with winning parties demanding all their state's electoral votes. Framer James Madison was appalled, because winner-take-all would increase factionalism and the power of party leaders. He WANTED A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO STOP THE POLICY. /7
It didn't happen, b/c whenever a party is in power, it likes the winner-take-all system. But in the hyper partisanship of today, with the popular will thwarted by voter suppression, gerrymandering, etc., the system utterly failed to stop a demagogue. /8
The original Electoral College died in the early nineteenth century. It was replaced by a system that has crippled democracy. It is not radical to reexamine it; such a reexamination is just what the Framers would've wanted. /END
Missing some Tweet in this thread?
You can try to force a refresh.

Like this thread? Get email updates or save it to PDF!

Subscribe to Heather Cox Richardson (TDPR)
Profile picture

Get real-time email alerts when new unrolls are available from this author!

This content may be removed anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Follow Us on Twitter!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3.00/month or $30.00/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!