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Abolish the Electoral College? A Soho Forum Debate

Abolish the Electoral College? A Soho Forum Debate
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The Electoral College is the best means of electing a president compared to any others that might be devised.

When Donald Trump won the presidential election in 2016 even though 2.8 million more people voted for Hillary Clinton, everyone from Bill De Blasio, to Michael Moore, to Eric Holder and Bill Maher said that at long last we should abolish the electoral college. Then-California Senator Barbara Boxer introduced a bill to amend the U.S. Constitution to do just that.

A Gallup poll from September of this year showed that 61 percent of Americans support abolishing the electoral college in favor of a national popular vote, although it’s an issue that breaks along partisan lines. Seventy-seven percent of Republicans want to keep the electoral college, while 89 percent of Democrats said that we should get rid of it.

Is the electoral college the best system for electing a president? That was the subject of an online Soho Forum debate held on Wednesday, November 11, 2020. Richard Epstein, a law professor at New York University, defended the system against Lawrence Lessig, a law professor at Harvard. Soho Forum Director Gene Epstein moderated.

Lessig won the Oxford Style debate by gaining 14.29 percent of the audience’s support. Epstein lost 2.04 percent of his pre-debate votes.

Narrated by Nick Gillespie. Edited by Ian Keyser and John Osterhoudt.

Photos: Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons/Flickr; Gage Skidmore/CC BY-SA 2.0/Wikimedia Commons; Rick Wilking/REUTERS/Newscom; Mike Stotts/Splash News/Newscom; Gabriele Holtermann-Gorden/Sipa/Newscom; CD1/Mandatory Credit: Carrie Devorah/WENN/Newscom; Erica Price/Sipa USA/Newscom; Anthony Behar/Sipa USA/Newscom; Anthony Behar/Sipa USA/Newscom; Niklas Halle”N/ZUMA Press/Newscom; Brian Cahn/ZUMA Press/Newscom

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About The Author

Nick Gillespie

Founded in 1968, Reason is the magazine of free minds and free markets. We produce hard-hitting independent journalism on civil liberties, politics, technology, culture, policy, and commerce. Reason exists outside of the left/right echo chamber. Our goal is to deliver fresh, unbiased information and insights to our readers, viewers, and listeners every day. Visit

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