Electoral College Isn't a Popularity Contest

Sep 17, 2019

This program originally aired on 2-6-18

In two out the past five presidential elections, the candidate who became president was not the one most Americans voted for. In this River to River program, host Ben Kieffer explores why our founding fathers created the Electoral College to elect presidents instead of relying on the popular vote.

Guests are presidential historian Tim Walch and University of Iowa political scientist Cary Covington. They examine the historical rationale behind the Electoral College and efforts to change its influence.

If the founders of the country were here today, they would see a very different political landscape than they might have anticipated. Walch says, however, they knew they were making a work in progress. 

"Nothing that we've written in the Constitution cannot be changed, but we do need to come to some common understanding," Walch says. "There's no clear simple solution to the problem of how we select the President of the United States."