Since we're arguing about the Electoral College today, I'm posting a short thread by Akhil Amar, the constitutional-law scholar and historian from Yale who's been banging on so eloquently about this issue for decades.

What follows are his words. Please read them.
The best one-word explanation for the electoral college is SLAVERY.
Some say the electoral college was a balance between big and small states. But all the early presidents—and almost all later presidents—came from big states.
Some say the electoral college exists because the framers had doubts about democracy. But they put the Constitution itself to a vote and created a directly elected House of Representatives.
Some say that the key concerns involved geography and information: Voters in one part of the nation would not know much about potential leaders from other regions.
But national presidential parties quickly emerged to give voters everywhere information about national presidential candidates. Members of the electoral college from Day One typically did as instructed by local voters and local lawmakers. So the key is slavery.
Both in 1787-88 (when the electoral college system was created ) and in 1803-04 (when the system was modified by the Constitution’s Twelfth Amendment), slave states did not want direct election because their slave populations could not of course vote.
In an electoral college system, by contrast, slave states would get extra electoral votes because of their slave populations. Slaves were counted (at three-fifths of a free person) in the electoral votes given to each state.
Virginia—a large state with lots of slaves—was the big winner in this system. By 1800, Pennsylvania had more voters than Virginia, but Virginia had lots more electoral votes because of its large slave population.
Eight of the first nine presidential elections were won by a slaveholding Virginian (Washington twice, Jefferson twice, Madison twice, and Monroe twice).
That's it, that's the thread. Thanks, Akhil.

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More from @jessewegman

17 Sep
THREAD: Bill Barr is a menace. But he's not the first AG to intervene in presidential politics.

See this 1892 NY Times piece, on an Electoral College case at the Supreme Court.

Here's the text:

"The spectacle of the Attorney General appearing as a private attorney, so called, before the U.S. Supreme Court to argue against the constitutionality of a law which threatens to weaken the Republican electoral ticket was presented in this city today." ...
... "The Harrison administration demonstrated long ago that its dignity was subordinate to its desire to perpetuate its own existence." ...
Read 12 tweets
17 Mar
Hey Everyone! A brief break from our regularly scheduled programming:

After studying the Electoral College for the last few years, I became convinced that it's endangering our democracy.

So I wrote a book about it. Out today!…
I realize everyone’s mind is preoccupied at the moment, but since we’re confronting major structural reforms to all parts of our society, the way we choose our leader should be one of them.

In short, we need a national popular vote:…
A national popular vote would go a long way to mending our political divisions and giving us leaders who govern with the interests of the whole country in mind, not just a few battleground states.…
Read 17 tweets
7 Nov 19
In fact it's already been tried. Into the 1960s, Georgia used a kind of "state Electoral College" in its primaries. The Supreme Court struck it down in Gray v. Sanders, the case establishing
the "one person, one vote" principle.
Here's how it worked: GA assigned a set number of "units" (electors) to each county. The biggest counties (like Fulton) got 6; the mid-sized counties got 4; and the smallest got 2. Whichever primary candidate won the most popular votes in a county got all that county's units. 2/
Of course, Fulton was not 3x bigger than the smallest counties. It was about 275x bigger.
Read 13 tweets

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