Intelligence Squared debate: Has the Electoral College outlived its usefulness?

Minnesota’s 10 Electoral College members
Minnesota’s 10 Electoral College members take a pledge to back their party’s nominee for president, Hillary Clinton, after she won the most votes in the state in November’s election in December 2016.
Brian Bakst | MPR News 2016

Five American presidents — two in the last 20 years — have assumed office without winning the popular vote. The nation is involve in another contentious presidential election, and some are calling for an end to the Electoral College.

They argue that the college subverts the will of the American people by unfairly prioritizing rural and swing states over the nation’s majority.

But others say the Electoral College, which the founders established in the Constitution, is necessary to ensure voters in less populous states have a voice in picking our president.

The motion: The Electoral College has outlived its usefulness.

For the motion:

  • Jamelle Bouie, New York Times columnist.

  • Kate Shaw, law professor at Yeshiva University and Supreme Court contributor to ABC News.

Against the motion:

  • Tara Ross, lawyer and author, "Why We Need the Electoral College” and “Enlightened Democracy: The Case for the Electoral College.”

  • Bradley A. Smith, law professor at Capital University Law School and former chairman of the Federal Election Commission. 

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