What if the US Electoral College was abolished in 1970?

In 1970 there was an attempt to abolish the electoral college via a new amendment. In OTL it passed the House, but died in a filibuster in the senate. What if this constitutional amendment had passed? What if Al Gore had become president or would things have butterflied before the 2000 election?
 
Butterflies would flap quickly. The ratification fight would be epic.
The results of elections even before ratification would be subject to change, as ratification would be a campaign issue--one of many.
The first non-electoral college election would see different strategies. Now it's worthwhile for, say, Republicans to campaign in Massachusetts, since there may be potential voters that can have an impact, that have no chance of accomplishing anything in a state that deeply Democrat.
 
What is it replaced with? Simple national popular vote, a more sophisticated national system or some sort of state system?
 
I don't quite get why a filibuster would be necessary to kill it in the Senate. You need a 2/3 vote in the Senate to pass a constitutional amendment--and also a 2/3 vote (at the time) for cloture on a filibuster. If they didn't have the votes for cloture, they didn't have the votes for the amendment even without a filibuster.
 
I don't quite get why a filibuster would be necessary to kill it in the Senate. You need a 2/3 vote in the Senate to pass a constitutional amendment--and also a 2/3 vote (at the time) for cloture on a filibuster. If they didn't have the votes for cloture, they didn't have the votes for the amendment even without a filibuster.
It was probably to avoid having to vote on it, thus avoiding having to commit one way or the other. No matter how the senators voted, it would be used against them next election.
 
I don't quite get why a filibuster would be necessary to kill it in the Senate. You need a 2/3 vote in the Senate to pass a constitutional amendment--and also a 2/3 vote (at the time) for cloture on a filibuster. If they didn't have the votes for cloture, they didn't have the votes for the amendment even without a filibuster.
I think it might have been more a fear that it would have clogged up the Senate, as I believe at the time other legislation couldn't be considered so long as something was "on the table" so to speak. That limitation was dropped further into the mid or late 70's though so.... I'm not sure. I'd have to look at articles in the NY Times to see what the perception was.
 
Butterflies would flap quickly. The ratification fight would be epic.
The results of elections even before ratification would be subject to change, as ratification would be a campaign issue--one of many.
The first non-electoral college election would see different strategies. Now it's worthwhile for, say, Republicans to campaign in Massachusetts, since there may be potential voters that can have an impact, that have no chance of accomplishing anything in a state that deeply Democrat.
Democrats would campaign in Texas and republicans in new york and california
 
In 1970 there was an attempt to abolish the electoral college via a new amendment. In OTL it passed the House, but died in a filibuster in the senate. What if this constitutional amendment had passed? What if Al Gore had become president or would things have butterflied before the 2000 election?
What is it replaced with? Simple national popular vote, a more sophisticated national system or some sort of state system?
With a 1970 POD, it would be likely be the Bayh-Celler amendment. Explanation below provided courtesy of Wikipedia:
Representative Emanuel Celler (D–New York), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, responded to public concerns over the disparity between the popular vote and electoral vote by introducing House Joint Resolution 681, a proposed Constitutional amendment that would have replaced the Electoral College with a simpler two-round system based on the national popular vote, similar to that used in French presidential elections. With this system, the pair of candidates who had received the highest number of votes would win the presidency and vice presidency provided they won at least 40% of the national popular vote. If no pair received 40% of the popular vote, a runoff election would be held in which the choice of president and vice president would be made from the two pairs of persons who had received the highest number of votes in the first election. The word "pair" was defined as "two persons who shall have consented to the joining of their names as candidates for the offices of President and Vice President.
 
No difference until 2000/2016. Would prefer French system - runoff if no one over 50% myself. To cut long story short - to Republicans ' advantage.
 
The only election that I could see actually going to a runoff is 1992, Perot could have easily gotten a couple more % of the vote and forced Bush and Clinton into a runoff where they both bend over backwards to appeal to Perot voters. I imagine Bill Clinton wins the matchup by getting Perot's endorsement. Still, an interesting alternative 1992.

As for how to make it happen, one possibility is that Wallace does what everyone fears and forces a deadlock in the electoral college. I think both candidates would reject his overtures and some sort of deal would be made between Humphrey and Nixon, but just that happening would terrify everyone not in the South. Bayh-Celler was actually introduced because of that potential, and if it actually happened, the argument that many had used--"Well the Electoral College worked fine, why change it?"--is out the window. With enough pressure, it isn't as hard as it may seem to get it through the Senate. There would definitely be enough states willing to ratify, even OTL there were 30 ready to go and another 6 or 7 on the fence.
 
There would definitely be enough states willing to ratify, even OTL there were 30 ready to go and another 6 or 7 on the fence.
ERA also was thought to be an amendment that would get thru the States without much trouble in this timeframe, but was derailed by Phyllis Schlafly, a very minor political activist, till she ended up being one of the figures who pushed the Republican Party over to the Conservatives

You would see some other person pop up the fight the popular vote amendment
 
There are a few relevant data points. While there are lots of countries that elect their Presidents by direct popular vote, Gambia to my knowledge is the only one that uses plurality elections. Every other country that does this uses the alternative vote or a run-off if no candidate gets 50% + 1. The United States if it adopted this amendment as written would still be an anomaly, in directly electing its president but not requiring a majority.

Second, the 40% rule comes from New York politics, where primaries (but not the general election) go to run-offs if no one gets 40%. New York is the only place in the world that does this. Proposals to remove the electoral college in the US always have the 40%, not the 50%, requirement because the amendment that came closest to doing this had 40%, because the amendment happened to be modeled on the New York political system.

Third, countries that elect their head of state indirectly (though there is no equivalent to the US electoral college in use anywhere), do so it the head of state is supposed to be a figurehead and the head of government is a Prime Minister. The USA is the only country with indirect election of a head of state who has real administrative power.

Fourth, there has not been one election in United States history that did not have a candidate who won at least 40% of the vote. The closest was 1860, not a good precedent, because Lincoln was not on the ballot in ten states. There have been a few elections with different popular vote and electoral college winners, and a large number of elections where no one got 50% +1. The 40% or under requirement for a runoff would effectively be a popular vote plurality system.

The main effect is that the strategy of the national campaigns would change. A second order effect that the federal government would almost be forced to introduce a non-partisan electoral office to count the votes nationwide in at least presidential elections, though I think this would be avoided for as long as possible. Again, the United States is unique in not having this.

While there have been no elections where at least one candidate won under 40% of the national popular vote, after 1970 there were two electoral college reversals (different electoral vote and popular vote winners). There have been four elections where the national popular vote margin was less than 3% (1976, 2000, 2004, and 2016, with 2000 and 2016 being reversals). In any of these four elections the second order effects on campaign strategies might have produced a different national popular vote winner. But if Carter still wins in 1976, Gore winning in 2000 probably would be the first big change.
 
ERA also was thought to be an amendment that would get thru the States without much trouble in this timeframe, but was derailed by Phyllis Schlafly, a very minor political activist, till she ended up being one of the figures who pushed the Republican Party over to the Conservatives

You would see some other person pop up the fight the popular vote amendment
I mean sure, but usually things that are seen as a likely bet wind up happening just bc there arent usually people like that waiting in the wings to stop them. I would also argue that the Republican Party is much less susceptible to a conservative takeover in 1970 than 1979.
 
I mean sure, but usually things that are seen as a likely bet wind up happening just bc there arent usually people like that waiting in the wings to stop them. I would also argue that the Republican Party is much less susceptible to a conservative takeover in 1970 than 1979.
Wouldn't have to be the Republicans being taken over
Not ASB for a Democratic Conservative rebirth, while Republicans go the other way in the '60s.

Both parties had liberal and conservative wings till by the late '60s, the Conservatives in the Democratic Party were starting to get sidelined and the same in the Republican Party, and the '70s a realignment capped off by Reagan

Thing is, most political people aren't waiting for an event, they see an opportunity and make it their own.

Schlafly was seen as as a '60s Bircher nut, till she found something that resonated, and Conservatives decided she wasn't so nutty anymore

Sometimes all it takes is one person to fan the flames of an issue that stops a sure thing in its tracks
 
Wouldn't have to be the Republicans being taken over
Not ASB for a Democratic Conservative rebirth, while Republicans go the other way in the '60s.

Both parties had liberal and conservative wings till by the late '60s, the Conservatives in the Democratic Party were starting to get sidelined and the same in the Republican Party, and the '70s a realignment capped off by Reagan

Thing is, most political people aren't waiting for an event, they see an opportunity and make it their own.

Schlafly was seen as as a '60s Bircher nut, till she found something that resonated, and Conservatives decided she wasn't so nutty anymore

Sometimes all it takes is one person to fan the flames of an issue that stops a sure thing in its tracks
By 1970, there is not going to be a conservative takeover in the Democratic Party. Simple as that. You could make a case that it was possible in 1960, but certainly after the Civil Rights Movement, Goldwater, and the Great Society, there is no possibility for a conservative Democratic Party. The most conservatives could hope for is what they got: being tolerated by the Democratic establishment until they die out.

I'm sure there will be plenty of wannabe Schlaflys who rage against the amendment, but I'm skeptical that the issue of how presidents are elected will bring up quite as much emotion as the ERA. If you were arguing against the ERA, you could get a crowd riled up by saying it's gonna let gay people get married, force women to be drafted, and take away any sort of protections for women in the workplace. What are you gonna say to get a big crowd to wind them up about opposing electoral reform? How many people in 1970 were viscerally connected to the idea of the Electoral College?

The reaction of the average American--who isn't a Wallace supporter--is going to be that 1968 was a very dangerous thing that nearly led to another corrupt bargain to reimpose segregation, and that there needs to be something done to ensure that doesn't happen. The only people who are going to be emotionally against it are some people from small states who don't want to lose their political power, and even there people are gonna be divided. That isn't to say it's inevitable, just that by far the more likely place it will die is in the Senate.
 
How many people in 1970 were viscerally connected to the idea of the Electoral College?
Since it never got out of Congress to be an actual Amendment, we don't know what would have come up in what in a few decades would be called Flyover Country over high population States being the only place that matters for an election is to do well in these States
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