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Letters to the Editor: If the electoral college couldn’t prevent a Trump presidency, what good is it?

Anti-Trump protesters appeal to the electoral college.
Protesters opposed to then-President-elect Donald Trump petition to the electoral college on the eve of its vote during a candlelight vigil in Los Angeles in 2016.
(Eugene Garcia / EPA)

To the editor: Joseph J. Ellis’ piece on the electoral college illustrates why conservatives should oppose this antiquated system for electing the president.

Conservative hero Alexander Hamilton (yes, a conservative hero given mainstream appeal by the musical) made the case for selecting presidents with electoral votes by saying, “There will be a constant probability of seeing the station filled by characters pre-eminent for ability and virtue.”

Even President Trump’s most avid supporters acknowledge this as his shortcoming.

Hamilton also argued that electors would “afford as little opportunity as possible to tumult and disorder.” Yet no two words better encapsulate the Trump presidency.

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Conservatives should acknowledge that in 2016 the electoral college did the opposite of what the founders intended by empowering a demagogue when a national popular vote would have rejected him. And it almost happened again.

This was not the founders’ intent.

Greg Bobrinskoy, El Cajon

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To the editor: Ellis states that Maine and Nebraska award their electoral votes “proportionally according to the popular vote within the state.”

In fact, they use what is usually referred to as the district plan, in which two electors are awarded to the statewide popular vote winner, and the rest of the votes are awarded according to the winner in each congressional district.

This means that any gerrymandering could not only affect representation in the House, but also how a state’s electoral votes are awarded.

Norma Silverman, Los Angeles

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To the editor: If the president were elected simply by the popular vote, it would be a lot less expensive for the Trump campaign to challenge the result in court. He would not have to file multiple lawsuits challenging the results state by state.

Looking beyond just the presidency, in some states, there are strongly debated issues on their ballots that help increase voter turnout. Other states with simpler ballots have poor turnout. The electoral college means that differing turnouts do not influence the election of the president.

Hooray for the electoral college.

David E. Ross, Oak Park


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