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For the second time in 16 years, a presidential candidate on the losing side of the popular vote has still won the presidency in the United States. It happened to Al Gore when he ran against former President George Bush in the 2000 election. And history repeated itself this year. Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, whose popular vote lead continues to grow, conceded to President-elect Donald Trump after the November election. Clinton has the largest popular vote lead in history, but she lost the Electoral College 306 to 232. The College is made up of 538 electors from the 50 states and the District of Columbia. They will meet on December 19 to cast their ballots, officially electing the president of the United States.
While laws in 29 states and the District of Columbia bind electors to cast their votes according to the popular vote, not everyone is ready to call Trump their President just yet. There has been a movement among citizens and members of the Electoral College to pressure the electors to change their vote, making them what is known as “faithless electors”. Despite those holding out hope, many are convinced this will not actually have much of an impact.
This year’s election has also reignited the debate over the relevance of the Electoral College. Some say the system, which was established in the US Constitution in 1787, should be reformed. While others demand an end the process altogether, leaving the election of the president up to the national popular vote. Defenders of the College, however, maintain it is a mechanism to provide the checks and balances needed in an election. In this episode, we will speak with supporters of the College and those trying to change it.
On this episode of The Stream, we speak to:
Professor of Sociology, Stanford University
Gary Gregg @doctorkilt
Director, McConnell Center at the University of Louisville
Baoky Vu @BKVu
Former Georgia elector
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