Over the past week, I've been hearing a lot of misinformation about the likelihood of the Electoral College surprise-voting in Hillary Clinton as our next president when they officially cast their votes on December 19. If only. Never before has the Electoral College seemed so out of step with the will of the people than it does now, with Clinton winning the popular vote by an ever-increasing margin, receiving more votes than anyone to run for president but Barack Obama, and still having to don an elegant purple suit to gracefully concede the election to an ignoramus apricot.
If you're willing to chase any sliver of hope at this point, I'm with you. Hi. I signed that petition too. But if you're serious about eliminating the Electoral College, the vestige of slavery that gives a loophole to the presidency to popular-vote losers like Donald Trump and George W. Bush, we've got our work cut out for us. Short of an Electoral College mutiny or a constitutional amendment (both extremely unlikely), there is one legislative route to eliminating the Electoral College, the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.
Fair warning: The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact is not nearly as cool-sounding as "faithless electors." It is wonky, it is dull, and it may not work. But it's one possible way to get rid of the Electoral College's influence on elections, and unlike those more hypothetical routes, it's a concrete plan that's had at least some momentum over the past several years.
Here's how it would work:
(1) Individual state legislatures pass a bill stating they'll give their Electoral College votes to the winner of the popular vote.
(2) Once a number of states totaling 270 electoral votes have signed onto the compact, it goes into effect. If it had been in effect this year, Hillary Clinton would've won the presidency, because 270 votes would have automatically gone to her after she won the popular vote.
(3) Loophole closed, no more Trumps or Bushes, no constitutional amendment needed.
To be clear, this is still kind of a long shot, and it's got its detractors. Nate Silver, for example, has called it "doomed" because so far only blue states have signed on, although it's passed through some Republican-controlled state chambers, and opposition to the Electoral College can be found among Republicans as well as Democrats. It's got more of a leg to stand on than hoping for rogue electors. Since 2007, 10 states and the District of Columbia have signed onto the Compact, and it's currently sitting at a total of 165 electoral votes, about 61 percent of the way to its goal of 270.
About the states that have signed on: Oregon isn't one of them. Get with your state legislators about that here.