The obvious answer is a national popular vote for president, whether through constitutional amendment or a state-by-state agreement like the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. But both will require Republican buy-in. In a sane world, Republicans would agree that the electoral college — already amended once before — has become almost the exact opposite of what the Founders intended, facilitating political factions’ ability to hold onto power. Less nobly, Republicans could also look at the way Texas is trending: If by midcentury, Democrats enter the starting gate with about 225 safe electoral votes — adding the Lone Star State to the West Coast, Hawaii, the Beltway, Illinois, and New York and most of its neighbors — maybe now is the time for Republicans to bail on the electoral college.
But the sad truth is Republicans want the status quo. Why? It’s the same reason that congressional Republicans are laying the groundwork to use the deficit and other excuses to hamper efforts by President-elect Joe Biden to advance an economic recovery. It’s the same reason Pennsylvania Republicans refused to allow ballots to be counted before Election Day, which created the lead change later election week that fueled the president’s ramblings. It’s the same reason that Republicans have blocked a new Voting Rights Act while cementing various vote-suppression schemes around the country.
The status quo may endanger democracy, but it helps Republicans politically. And in the Grand Old Party, the party is what matters — more than the country.