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Short Synopsis
In this authoritative history of the American Electoral College system, Edward Foley analyzes the consequences of the unparalleled departure from the Jeffersonians' original intent—and delineates what we can do about it.

Full Synopsis
The Electoral College that governs America has been with us since 1804, when Thomas Jefferson's supporters redesigned it for his re-election. The Jeffersonians were motivated by the principle of majority rule. Gone were the days when a president would be elected by acclamation, as George Washington had been. Instead, given the emergence of intense two-party competition, the Jeffersonians wanted to make sure that the Electoral College awarded the presidency to the candidate of the majority, rather than minority, party. They also envisioned that a candidate would win by amassing a majority of Electoral College votes secured from states where the candidate's party was in the majority.

For most of American history, this system has worked as intended, producing presidents who won Electoral College victories derived from state-based majorities. In the last quarter-century, however, there have been three significant aberrations from the Jeffersonian design: 1992, 2000, and 2016. In each of these years, the Electoral College victory depended on states where the winner received only a minority of votes.

In this authoritative history of the American Electoral College system, Edward Foley analyzes the consequences of the unparalleled departure from the Jeffersonians' original intent—and delineates what we can do about it.

Presidential Elections and Majority Rule

The Rise, Demise, and Potential Restoration of the Jeffersonian Electoral College

Author Edward B. Foley

Narrated by Rick Adamson

Publication date Apr 21, 2020

Running time 7 hrs 28 min

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