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Electoral College Isn't a Popularity Contest

Damon Taylor
Each state is resized in proportion to the relative influence of the individual voters who live there. The numbers show the total delegates to the Electoral College from each state and how many eligible voters a single delegate from each state represents.

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."

Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River