Editorial: Let the people pick the president

But regardless of its original intent, the Electoral College today is, as Mr. Trump said, a disaster for a democracy. Modern presidential campaigns ignore almost all states, large and small alike, in favor of a handful that are closely divided between Republicans and Democrats — and even within those states, they focus on a few key regions. In 2016, two-thirds of all public campaign events were held in just six states: Michigan, Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, Virginia and North Carolina; toss in six more and you’ve got 94 percent of all campaign events.

This may be smart campaigning, but it’s terrible for the rest of the country, which is rendered effectively invisible, distorting our politics, our policy debates and even the distribution of federal funds. Candidates focus their platforms on the concerns of battleground states, and presidents who want to stay in office make sure to lavish attention, and money, on the same places. The emphasis on a small number of states also increases the risk to our national security, by creating an easy target for hackers who want to influence the outcome of an election. Perhaps most important, voters outside of swing states know their votes are devalued, if not worthless, and they behave accordingly. In 2012, 64 percent of swing-state voters showed up, compared with 57 percent everywhere else, a pattern that persisted in 2016. What better way to get more voters to register and go to the polls than to ensure that everyone’s vote is weighed equally?

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