Karl Rove: ‘Stop Trying To Get Rid Of The Electoral College’

Karl Rove recently appeared on the Freakonomics Radio Podcast episode “Ten Ideas to Make Politics Less Rotten” to contribute his idea for which ideas should be scrapped from American politics.

The conservative pundit and former George W. Bush campaign strategist recommended a “preventative measure” — the idea that the Electoral College is outdated and has to go.

Of course, followers of all-things-political will remember that Rove and his former boss benefitted in the 2000 General Election when then-Vice President of the United States Al Gore won the popular vote but lost the Presidency.

But Karl Rove insisted that had nothing to do with his support for keeping the Electoral College in place and ceasing all talk of removal.

“The Electoral College pushes us towards a two-party system and thereby promotes stability by providing a barrier against multi-candidate races and the kind of disasters you see in democracies in Western Europe and elsewhere,” Rove said.

By “disasters,” he was speaking of areas in Western Europe “where the electorate is fragmented by a multi-party system with a wide range of parties — some of them based around personalities, some of them based around regional interests, some of them based around ideological constructs, others of them based around a single issue, and some of them based around blowing up the exiting system.”

Going against the grain of what Karl Rove is suggesting is Democrat Howard Dean, who said the Electoral College was initially created because there was a waiting period from the time voters went to the polls to the time they were all aggregated by vote counters and reported to the electorate.

These days, Dean said, technology has made everything more instantaneous and streamlined — a construct that Rove himself has supported in facets of business, but who sees it as a “completely different issue” when it comes to voting.


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Later in the episode, Karl Rove explained his contradictory position when it came to elections and business.

“In one we’re trying to have something that garners the support of the country,” Rove said. “In the other, we’re trying to satisfy the individual desires of consumers. To sell a good phone, you don’t need to get a fifty percent-plus-one share of the market share. If you want to win the Presidency, you have to to govern effectively.”

Ultimately, Karl Rove argues, the abolition of the Electoral College would make confidence in the voting system worse than it already is, and it would remove the winner’s sense of a national mandate that helps an elected President govern effectively.

It also “forces Presidents to campaign all across the country,” Rove said, instead of just hitting the large metropolitan centers, thus ensuring that states like Nebraska hear from the candidates and not just places like Los Angeles and New York City.

But what do you think, readers?

Is Karl Rove right to say that the Electoral College is not outdated and that it should not be abandoned in favor of a popular vote for President of the United States? Sound off in the comments section below.

[Image via National Constitution Center | Flickr Creative Commons | Resized and Cropped | CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]