On November 8, the American people spoke clearly, and chose Hillary Clinton for President.
As of this writing, Clinton leads the popular vote by roughly 700,000 votes, with millions of votes left to be counted. Further, her lead will likely continue to grow, with most of the remaining votes coming from blue states California, Oregon and Washington.
However, because Clinton’s support was geographically concentrated, Donald Trump will win the Electoral College and become President of the United States.
This comes only sixteen years after Al Gore won the popular vote but did not become President of the United States, in a similar affront to democracy.
It is long past time that we stopped using the Electoral College to choose our Presidents, and started using the national popular vote instead. Every vote should count equally. Every state should be a swing state.
There is a realistic path to making an end-run around the Electoral College in time for the 2020 election. This is because we don’t need a constitutional amendment to start electing presidents by national popular vote. We only need the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact:
The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC) is an agreement among several U.S. states and the District of Columbia to award all their respective electoral votes to whichever presidential candidate wins the overall popular vote in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The compact is designed to ensure that the candidate who wins the most popular votes is elected president, and it will come into effect only when it will guarantee that outcome. As of 2016, it has been joined by ten states and the District of Columbia; their 165 combined electoral votes amount to 30.7% of the total Electoral College vote, and 61.1% of the 270 votes needed for it to have legal force.
If states and territories totaling at least 270 electoral votes pass laws joining the National Popular Vote Compact, then the next presidential election will be determined by the winner of the national popular vote. We are already up to 165.
If we can make the issue of electing Presidents based on the national popular vote broadly adopted by elected Democrats, and if Democrats can do well at the state level in the 2018 midterm elections–which is realistic in the event of an unpopular President Trump–then in 2019 we can pass laws that would make the 2020 presidential election determined by the popular vote.
(Since you might be wondering, according to the compact, states do not change the way they determine their electoral votes until enough states join that the 270 electoral vote threshold is reached. So, for example, California will only start awarding its electoral votes to the national popular vote winner instead of the state popular vote winner once states equalling 270 electoral votes have decided to do the same.)
So this is something we can actually pull off. It starts by telling all elected Democrats that you have had enough of the Electoral College, and that whenever possible they must pass laws to have their states join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.
Executive Campaign Director, Daily Kos