Open Book / Open Mind: Jesse Wegman, “Let the People Pick the President: The Case for Abolishing the Electoral College”
“New York Times editorial board member Wegman combines in-depth historical analysis and insight into contemporary politics to present a cogent argument that the Electoral College violates America’s ‘core democratic principles’ and should be done away with…His extensive research and careful consideration of the issue from all angles reveal the current system’s defects, though the path to reform in the face of fierce political opposition remains somewhat unclear.” — Publishers Weekly
Jesse Wegman will be in conversation with attorney and activist Jim Johnson, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury and Under Secretary of the Treasury for Enforcement.
The framers of the Constitution battled over it. Lawmakers have tried to amend or abolish it more than 700 times. To this day, millions of voters, and even members of Congress, misunderstand how it works. It deepens our national divide and distorts the core democratic principles of political equality and majority rule. How can we tolerate the Electoral College when every vote does not count the same and the candidate who gets the most votes can lose?Twice in the last five elections, the Electoral College has overridden the popular vote, calling the integrity of the entire system into question—and creating a false picture of a country divided into bright red and blue blocks when in fact we are purple from coast to coast. Even when the popular-vote winner becomes president, tens of millions of Americans—Republicans and Democrats alike—find that their vote doesn’t matter. Under the statewide winner-take-all rule, a handful of battleground states decide who will become president for all of us.In this thoroughly researched and engaging call-to-arms, Supreme Court journalist and New York Times editorial board member Jesse Wegman draws upon the history of the founding era, as well as the most up-to-date information gleaned from campaign managers, field directors, and other officials from Democratic and Republican presidential campaigns of the twenty-first century, to make a powerful case for abolishing the antiquated and antidemocratic Electoral College. In Let the People Pick the President he shows how we can at long last make every vote in the United States count—and restore belief in our democratic system.JESSE WEGMAN is a member of the New York Times editorial board, where he has written about the Supreme Court and legal affairs since 2013. He previously worked as a reporter, editor and producer at outlets including National Public Radio, The New York Observer, Reuters, The Daily Beast and Newsweek. He graduated from New York University School of Law in 2005.