Thursday, 10 November 2016

Primer on the Electoral College

As the dust settles on the 2016 presidential election, I thought it might be helpful to put together a listing of posts regarding the ElectoralCollege and FaithlessElectors (for background and links, check out

I must stress that my novel, Faithless Elector, is not a polemic. It does not take sides, has no axe to grind.

It is a good story (if the reviews are to be believed), a gripping thriller about a small, self-interested group who seek to thwart the will of the people by exploiting weaknesses inherent in the system. Indeed, not only do they attack voting, they attack the Electoral College and its Electors. To write a credible, intelligent thriller, I had to become something of a student of the history and workings of the Electoral College.  Below, are some of the things I've gleaned.

When people defend the Electoral College as a way of putting country over the self-interest of the popular will, they are hearkening to a pre-political time that never existed, or more cynically, they are defending and advocating the ability of a small unaccountable group to impose their self-interest on the majority.

For the second time in 16 years (2 of 5 of the most recent presidential elections), the popular vote winner has lost in the Electoral College. Respect for, and confidence in, the process is a bedrock principle.  Many respond that ours is a Constitutional Republic, that the Electoral College and the Senate protect us from “tyranny of the majority” and/or “mobocracy.”

The 'Republic v Democracy' dichotomy is, I'm afraid, a distinction without a difference, and it obscures a key question: where and when are we prepared to say that the loser gets to win, to dictate policy? Under what circumstances?

Here is a primer of past blog posts on the issues surrounding the Electoral College, from the issues surrounding popular vote winners losing in the Electoral College, to Faithless Electors, to the democratic deficit inherent in the apportioning of EC votes.

Electoral College and the Popular Vote (19-July-2016)

Contested Convention and Faithless Electors (17-July-2016)

Power of the Small States, Part 1 -and- Part 2 (21-April-2016)

Alexander Hamilton & The First Contested Election (30-August-2016)

 Publishers Weekly says Faithless Elector is a “fast-moving topical thriller.”  Its “surprising twists add up to a highly suspenseful read.” The sequel, Dark Network, is coming soon.

Faithless Elector, by James McCrone is available through Amazon.
If you live in Philadelphia, pick up a copy at Head House Books -or- Penn Book Center

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