Time to abolish Electoral College?: Front Burner

Time to ditch the Electoral College? Check out our latest Front Burner debate.

If Kanye West indeed ascends to the presidency — he recently announced his candidacy for the 2020 election — the controversial rapper won't reach the White House on the strength of rabid fans, but rather the United States Electoral College.

Of course, long before the specter of President West ever emerges, as this week's second Republican presidential debate reminded, Americans will be voting in President Barack Obama's successor in 2016.

In advance, critics again are grousing about the injustice of America's constitutional procedure for electing the president and vice president based on each state's tally of congressional representatives.

They point to instances such as the infamous 2000 hanging-chad election where Al Gore won the popular vote battle, but lost the electoral war to George W. Bush, who pocketed Florida's votes.

Notwithstanding a subversive tide against it, a failed 1969 resolution that proposed the direct election of the chief executive and vice president was the closest Congress has come to ditching the Electoral College.

But should it be abolished?

One of today's columnists thinks so. He argues it's an antiquated vestige that undermines the principle of let the people rule. Hogwash, counters today's other columnist, who says the Electoral College has fostered American two-party politics and granted American democracy a stability few other world democracies can claim.

By the numbers

27: The number of states (plus the District of Columbia) that "bind" their electors to vote for their promised candidate.

23: The constitutional amendment that in 1961 gave the District of Columbia three electors.

29: The number of electoral votes for the Sunshine State.

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