Are Democrats wasting their time taking on the electoral college?

Focusing attention on the mismatch between the popular vote and the outcome of the presidential election allows Democrats to make the case that Trump does not have a mandate from the American public. But that doesn’t mean it’s good political strategy for Democrats to take aim at the Electoral College now.

To start, Democrats may feel increasingly demoralized if they attempt to channel their post-election angst into political causes they ultimately fail to win. And if Democrats blame the Electoral College for their loss, that could distract the party from the task of building up support in the rural counties and other parts of the country where Democrats struggled to win votes in the 2016 election. It may also be more difficult for Democrats to win over Trump voters in the future if his supporters interpret efforts to stop him from taking office, or do away with the Electoral College, as evidence of unfair backlash against their preferred candidate.

On top of that, it might be harder for Democrats to credibly argue that Trump poses a threat to democratic institutions if they themselves appear willing to subvert or do away with one of those institutions—particularly if liberal lawmakers face accusations from Republicans that they are doing so for partisan gain.