The Congress: The Necessity Not to Change

How simple. Every eligible citizen casts a single ballot, and the candidate attracting the most votes becomes President of the United States. That was what Delegate James Wilson of Pennsylvania had in mind in 1787, when he offered the scheme to the Constitutional Convention. Wilson's 20th century counterpart, Indiana Senator Birch Bayh, tried essentially the same approach in 1970, with the same result: failure. The constitutional provision, which established an Electoral College, has weathered its 183rd year of intermittent assault and still seems as immune to change as the law of gravity.

In all, more than 100 futile attempts have...

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