Mr. Trump, you are our Constitutionally-selected President. But at the moment, you are also an asterisk and a footnote in future history books... Loser Trump, the man the voters rejected, but who crept in through the back door of the White House because of a laughable technicality.
OR — you could be the man who perfected George Washington's work.
Washington and the other framers of our Constitution created the electoral college because they fretted that ordinary voters could not be trusted with selection of the President — AND because the big slave-owning states demanded bonus votes in making laws and in selecting the President.
Over time the voters more-or-less co-opted the electors, turning them into rubber stamps, and it used to be that the people's vote and the electoral vote pretty much matched. But here in the 21st century the electoral vote has been wrong about as often as it's been right. Three times in 16 years the system has worked correctly, and two times a man has had to take office knowing that he's a joke, rather than a choice.
The electoral college is crassly undemocratic. Alaska, Wyoming, and Vermont dispose nine electoral votes among them. And yet not one of those states has as many people as Monroe County, New York.
On top of that, the electors per state don't represent votes cast — they represent population. This gives unscrupulous people incentive for voter suppression.
We can't go on repeatedly having our democracy thwarted. Our people become resentful and cynical, and we become a joke to the world.
But you, Mr. Trump, can go to your country and say, I know I benefited from his system. But that's not how I wanted to become President. We need to end this now. I propose a Constitutional amendment to abolish the electoral college, and elect our President by a simple plurality of votes. This is the first priority of my term as your president.
You would speak with authority and standing. You would show yourself as selfless, and as committed to strengthening our democracy. And if you choose to run again four years from now, you can go the voters knowing that this time you have a chance to be a winner – a chance to truly become the choice of America's people.
Historian Kirk House lives in Bath.