Linda Fowler, Professor of Government, Emerita 

The framers' fear of factions caused them to divide political power in many ways to prevent its concentration in the hands of a demagogue.  One such safeguard was the Electoral College, which in the 20th Century was regarded as an inconsequential quirk of the American system.  Yet the 2020 presidential election has the potential to be the third in two decades in which the candidate with the most popular votes may lose in the Electoral College.   Ironically, the Electoral College may be undermining the legitimacy of the election it was designed to protect. 

In this talk, Linda Fowler, Dartmouth’ s Professor of Government, Emerita we will review the theory behind the Electoral College and its performance over the nation's history.  She will then talk about the reasons behind the rising importance of the Electoral College and how it has distorted modern presidential campaigns.  Finally, she will consider various proposals to diminish or abolish the Electoral College.