Let’s squarely face an ugly possibility: President Trump could get elected a second time without winning the popular vote. Indeed, according to most experts, that’s the only way he could be re-elected.
This would surely prompt another chorus of calls to scrap the Electoral College. I think that would be a mistake.
I say that even as I acknowledge that Trump has undermined the Electoral College’s legitimacy—not because he owes his election to it, but because of how he has behaved since taking office.
One of the Electoral College’s purposes is to broaden the president’s mandate and agenda by forcing candidates to appeal to different parts of the country and not just rack up votes in one region or a handful of states. But previous presidents who didn’t win the popular vote made a point of reaching out, once in office, beyond the coalition that elected them and at least pretending to lead the whole country.