When the Last Vote Is Cast…

Washington Times, November 3, 1992.


On Jan. 8, 1981, following the election in which John Anderson ran for president as an independent candidate, I began an article under this same title by pointing out that “where the Electoral College is concerned, nothing fails to succeed like success.” By success I meant that it has regularly produced a clear and immediately known winner with a legitimate claim to the office. It did this again in 1980, but that did not satisfy its critics.

Their complaints are familiar. The Electoral College, we are told, is a “relic,” an “absurdly dangerous” method of selecting a president that threatens to “plunge the nation into political chaos,” a time bomb “waiting for the right circumstances to go off.” These written complaints are usually accompanied by a Herblock cartoon in The Washington Post showing the Electoral College as the white-haired old man with the ear trumpet saying, as he strains to hear the results, “Don’t expect me to get this right, bub,” or words to that effect.