Some condemn the old-school institution as an undemocratic fossil, while others embrace it for the safeguards it provides

The Founding Fathers weren’t about to entrust control of the presidency to the voters. The signing of the Constitution is portrayed here by artist  Howard Chandler Christy.

Two of the last three presidents took office after losing the popular vote but winning in the Electoral College, a phenomenon that enraged Democrats but failed to pierce the complacency of Republicans.

Members of both parties learned in eighth-grade civics class that America doesn’t elect the president by direct popular vote. The Constitution provides for an Electoral College that makes the call on who occupies the highest office in the...

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