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Opinion: Trump was right in 2012: The Electoral College is a ‘disaster for democracy’

Rutherford Hayes, Benjamin Harrison, George W. Bush and Donald Trump lost the popular vote in the presidential election.
(Associated Press / Getty / Library of Congress)

To the editor: Having read all these postmortems on why the Democrats and particularly Hillary Clinton lost the election, I have to say, “Hold on.” Clinton garnered more popular votes than Donald Trump but lost the election because of the quirky, archaic electoral college. (“For the fourth time in American history, the president-elect lost the popular vote. Credit the electoral college,” Nov. 11)

This is the fifth time overall and the second since 2000 that this 18th century relic has “engineered” the election. The previous four times, we have wound up with among our worst presidents. Any bets on this one?

Aside from turning each election into a battle for a handful of “battleground states” while the rest of the country sits on the sidelines, the electoral college can turn elections on a single regional issue that may be less important elsewhere. For instance, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin and Michigan, with slightly more total electoral votes combined than California, were all won in close elections based on the loss of blue-collar manufacturing jobs. California, with high-tech manufacturing and an economy twice the size of these four states combined, has wound up going more than 2 million votes the other way.

Even if we have to live with it, the electoral college makes presidential votes appear, dare I say, rigged.

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Gavin Riley, Cerritos

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To the editor: Alexander Hamilton wrote that the Constitution is designed to ensure “that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.” The point of the electoral college is to preserve “the sense of the people,” while at the same time ensuring that a president is chosen “by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station.”

Clinton received a few hundred thousand more votes than Trump. What would Hamilton say about the election of Trump?

Curtis Pierce, Los Angeles

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