After the votes were cast Monday the New York Times published an editorial calling for the end of the Electoral College:
By overwhelming majorities, Americans would prefer to elect the president by direct popular vote, not filtered through the antiquated mechanism of the Electoral College. They understand, on a gut level, the basic fairness of awarding the nation’s highest office on the same basis as every other elected office — to the person who gets the most votes.
But for now, the presidency is still decided by 538 electors…
And so for the second time in 16 years, the candidate who lost the popular vote has won the presidency. Unlike 2000, it wasn’t even close. Hillary Clinton beat Mr. Trump by more than 2.8 million votes, or 2.1 percent of the electorate…
Yes, Mr. Trump won under the rules, but the rules should change so that a presidential election reflects the will of Americans and promotes a more participatory democracy.
The Times appears to be jumping on the bandwagon of anti-Electoral College rhetoric that has become popular on the left since last month, but in fact the Times has been saying much the same thing for years. The paper published a similar editorial in 2008 and 2012. In fact, the Times says it’s first editorial against the EC was one published in 1936 (though a correction to the editorial admits they paper did defend the EC after the 2000 election).
The Times’ solution to what it sees as the problem of the Electoral College is not to change the Constitution by amendment but to pass state laws that change how EC votes are awarded:
The Constitution establishes the existence of electors, but leaves it up to states to tell them how to vote. Eleven states and the District of Columbia, representing 165 electoral votes, have already passed legislation to have their electors vote for the winner of the national popular vote. The agreement, known as the National Popular Vote interstate compact, would take effect once states representing a majority of electoral votes, currently 270, signed on. This would ensure that the national popular-vote winner would become president.
The NY Times says this is not about partisan politics but about fairness. But the fact remains that the state that have already adopted this are ones that safely and reliably vote for Democrats: CA, DC, HI, IL, MA, MD, NJ, NY, RI, VT, WA. However, if you follow that link above you’ll find one supporter of the idea is Newt Gingrich who apparently endorsed it in 2014.