By John Conyers Jr.
With the Electoral College meeting Monday to formally elect Donald Trump as our 45th president, it is time that we reconsider whether a political compromise approved in 1787 bears any principled or practical reason for being today.
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Several serious concerns were raised at a forum I organized earlier this month featuring leading experts in history, constitutional law and political science. Most obviously, we learned that the Electoral College is anti-democratic. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has so far received over 2.8 million more votes nationwide than Trump — the largest divergence between the popular and electoral votes in history. This is the second time there has been a divergence between the popular vote and the Electoral College in the last five elections, and the fifth time that a popular-vote loser won the White House.
We also learned that the Electoral College is rooted in slavery. At our forum, Yale law professor Akhil Amar explained that slave states opposed direct elections for president because “in a direct election system, the North would outnumber the South, whose many slaves . . . could not vote. But the Electoral College . . . instead let each Southern state count its slaves, albeit with a two-fifths discount, in computing its share of the overall count.”