Opinion|How Has the Electoral College Made It Through for This Long? – The New York Times

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A national popular vote would have gotten rid of that benefit. As the region’s political leaders acknowledged, passage of a constitutional modification setting up a nationwide popular vote would have spawned strong legal and political pressures to enfranchise African-Americans. Even if those pressures might be resisted, an Alabama project handout noted in 1914, “with the Negro half of our individuals not voting, our voice in the national elections, which is now based upon overall population, would then be based entirely on our voting population and, therefore reduced by half.” The political effects of a nationwide popular vote could merely not be countenanced.By the 1940s, many

Southerners likewise pertained to believe that their out of proportion weight in governmental elections, thanks to the Electoral College, was an important bulwark against installing Northern pressures to increase the size of the civil and political rights of African-Americans. In 1947 Charles Collins’s”Whither Solid South?,”an influential states’rights and segregationist treatise, urged Southerners to repel “any effort to do away with the College due to the fact that it alone can allow the Southern States to protect their rights within the Union.”The book, which ended up being must reading among the Dixiecrats who bolted from the Democratic Celebration in 1948, was highly praised and freely dispersed by(to name a few )the Mississippi segregationist James Eastland, who served in the Senate from 1943 until 1978. Driven by such convictions, the white supremacist programs of the South stood as an obstruction in the path of a nationwide popular vote from the latter years of the 19th century into the 1960s, when the Ballot Rights Act and other measures compelled the region to enfranchise African-Americans. There was, of course, resistance to the concept of a nationwide vote elsewhere in the country, but it was the South’s well-known adamance– and the fact that Southern states alone could come close to obstructing a constitutional amendment in Congress– that kept the idea on the outskirts of public debate for decades. Various politicians who personally favored a nationwide popular vote, like Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. of Massachusetts, a Republican, in the 1940s, concluded that such a reform had no realistic possibility of success, and they moved their advocacy to less sweeping measures.The politics of race and region likewise figured prominently in the stinging defeat of a nationwide popular vote modification in the Senate in

1970– the closest that the United States has concerned changing its presidential election system considering that 1821. Popular and elite assistance for the concept had actually mushroomed in the 1960s, leading in 1969 to the Home of Representatives voting overwhelmingly in favor of a constitutional change that would have eliminated the Electoral College. The proposal then got slowed down in the Senate throughout a year when regional tensions were high: two Southern candidates to the Supreme Court were declined by the Senate, and the Ballot Rights Act was renewed over the singing opposition of Southern senators. On the other hand, the national popular vote change was stalled in the Judiciary Committee, which was chaired by none aside from Senator Eastland.When the change resolution finally pertained to the floor of the Senate in September 1970, thanks to the prodigious efforts of an Indiana senator, Birch Bayh, it was greeted by a filibuster led by segregationists Sam Ervin and Strom Thurmond(with a help from the Nebraska Republican Politician Roman Hruska). Although things were altering in the South, its political leaders stayed soaked in the worths and viewpoints that had informed their hostility to the civil rights movement and the Ballot Rights Act.”The Electoral College,” composed Senator James Allen of Alabama in 1969, “is one of the South’s couple of remaining political safeguards. Let’s keep it.”