They Might Be Giants explain the Electoral College in a new song

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My bet is “until a Democrat wins the office this way.”


Surprisingly neutral musical take for this admitted hater of the electoral college, (having grown up with my nasty hyper-conservative great uncle from Wyoming doing his “Yee-haw my vote is worth 30x yours!” dance every four years).

…couldn’t even have wedged in just one chorus refrain about how the three fifths for slaves made the south more powerful than it should’ve been? (“three-fifths” even rhyming with… “hieroglyphs”?)


For a long time I was for just reforming the Electoral College, but over the past decade I’ve moved closer to the position that it’s a relic that needs to be abolished.

There’s a little edge with the “we’re just the voters” refrain, but yes, they’re trying to be neutral about it.


I would certainly love to have the electoral college thrown away, being in Texas it was frustrating to see that my vote for Biden didn’t count for jack. I’m glad Biden still won but it does make it an All-Or-Nothing kind of thing with the electoral votes and i’d rather have things set up to work with the popular vote.

Also screw using a system that was designed to oppress minorities. I give zero fucks on modern arguments about the electoral college.


Having electors may have made sense when you needed to count the votes in a faraway state and have the counts reported via rider and horseback. Instead of trusting the rider to honestly pass the message back to DC, they trusted the electors that state sent in their stead.

We have a lot more transparency these days. The electoral college is a buggy whip that gerrymanders figured out how to abuse long ago; yet because those same sleazeballs need it to retain power, they have negative incentive to give it up. We can’t get rid of the electoral college until there’s a sizeable enough majority to amend the Constitution, and with the GOP still holding a sizeable minority of public opinion, that’s just not going to happen.


let me translate that for you: “until hell freezes over”


They’re like our protectors

They didn’t protect us from Trump and the “faithless” electors that tried were replaced. While the idea of “protecting” us might have been the draft of what it’s used for, it’s very clear now that’s not what the system actually does today.

I’m advocating for a National Popular Vote for president. One way to get there is through the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact that actually works with the electoral college.

Giving smaller states extra weight

This is a huge problem. One person, one vote. National popular vote let’s GO!


I actually thought the song was full of ominous overtones.


People love to rag on the electoral college, but this is basically how all sorts of more functional democracies work as well – in Canada or the UK you don’t directly elect the head of state at all, they’re just the chosen representative from the majority party, and the majority party doesn’t at all have to be the one that gets the popular vote.

Personally I think voting for the president is somewhat of a distraction and I think the US would be better off actually just using the senators and congresspeople as the electors directly; then people would be paying a hell of a lot more attention to what their congresspeople were doing, and like, isn’t that just as important anyway?

While it would be naive to suggest that all evils in the U.S. arise from a weakening of democracy, certainly nothing good comes from it.

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Oh hell no. Have you seen our legislative branch? As much as I hate the electoral college I’d hate any system that put Mitch McConnell & company in a position to select our Executive even more.

That idea would also be a non-starter here because public approval ratings for congress are consistently lower than the public approval ratings for the Executive branch, even with a historically unpopular President like Trump.


How’s Boris Johnson working out over there and Brexit? I still think that popular vote is more representative of the will of the people than BS intermediate systems.

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Incoming pedantry!

Correct …

No, that’s the head of government. Our head of state (and I can’t believe I’m saying this in the 21st century) inherited her position.

True, but I don’t think that’s happened in the UK since 1951, when Labour got some 200 thousand more votes than the Tories, but the Tories still took a majority of seats. That’s no excuse, though.


Why, also, did they pick Rhode Island as an example of a “smaller state” when Wyoming has half the population? This was a missed opportunity to show that land doesn’t vote.

Probably because Rhode Island is comparatively small in terms of both land and population next to most states, and also because TMBG has a personal connection with Rhode Island (John Linnell used to play in a Providence-based New Wave band called “The Mundanes”).


It could be worse - our head of state inherited her position on the same day as yours, but she lives in another hemisphere and I suspect wouldn’t think of herself as an Australian.


If it’s any consolation I’m sure she thinks of you as her subjects every bit as much as she does the English, Scots and Welsh and will wave to you just as graciously as she does us.

Well not nowadays since she’s sensibly delegated waving outremer to other people. But in general.


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