It's Time To Abolish the Electoral College | Opinion

The following is a lightly edited transcript of remarks made by Celeste Headlee and Andrew Tallman during a Newsweek episode of The Debate about the Electoral College. You can listen to the podcast here:

We have to grapple with the cases in which one candidate has won the popular vote, sometimes by quite large margins, and lost the Electoral College. It seems highly undemocratic. The electoral college allows our government to undermine the will of the people, either by [allowing] someone who did not win the popular vote to take the presidency, or by faithless electors voting against the will of their own states. We should dump it.

It was created between all white guys who did not trust voters to make the right choices — and as a compromise between those who thought Congress should make the decision, and those who felt that states like Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, would dominate the presidency. And it was a compromise. They came up with this middle ground that satisfied nobody but didn't make anyone overly angry. Taking the argument back to the origins, maybe we could still find a better compromise. The popular opinion on the electoral college for a very long time has been to get rid of it. Going back to the 1950s, the majority of Americans thought we should dump it.

Joe Biden Donald Trump 2024 Poll
President Joe Biden has gained on former President Donald Trump in new polling about a hypothetical 2024 matchup as many Americans approve of the president's handling of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Above, Biden departs the White House Friday in Washington, DC. Win McNamee/Getty Images

This is an example of how easy it is to prevent common sense progress in this country. The Electoral College is just one of those things that stands in the way of progress. It allows a minority of the country to prevent change from being made. And we are not a majority-rule country right now, partly because of the electoral college, but for other reasons as well. Right now, we have minority rule, and that is at heart vastly undemocratic and illiberal, and I don't support it at all.

Celeste Headlee and Andrew Tallman are co-hosts of The Debate at Newsweek.

Andrew Tallman played the role of devil's advocate for this specific debate.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.