“What if something you changed caused unintended consequences you never imagined?”
Safeguard: An Electoral College Story asks that question about presidential elections. How does the system really work? And what would happen if we changed the rules?
Alexander Hamilton and James Madison worked to create and defend the Electoral College system in the U.S. Constitution. The process is democratic—but it works in stages, and through the states. This design forces candidates to reach out across the country rather than focusing on just one region or group of population centers. And it keeps presidents from controlling elections—including their own reelections.
Publisher and former presidential candidate Steve Forbes, Princeton historian Allen Guelzo, and a host of experts explain why we really have the Electoral College, what it does, and what could happen if we got rid of it.
The New York Times warned in 1977, “the political habits, traditions and expectations that have grown up around the Electoral College have served the nation well. If they are to be maintained, the College has to be preserved rather than lightly abandoned in favor of a vacuum.”
Is any of that still true today? Safeguard: An Electoral College Story avoids the partisan bickering to ask the big questions. Is democracy just “two wolves and a lamb voting on what’s for dinner,” like some people say? Or can a democratic system be designed to protect minority rights? Does our Constitution strike the right balance?