Broad readings of Articles I and II

isomin at isomin at
Fri Dec 23 18:04:32 PST 2005

My point (and I should have expressed it better) was that the president usually has more of a national majority than do the Senate and House. Moreover, in the  case of the former, a massive skewing is actually built into the structure of the institution (because of the power of small states). 

Ilya Somin
Assistant Professor of Law
George Mason University School of Law
3301 Fairfax Dr.
Arlington, VA 22201
ph: 703-993-8069
fax: 703-993-8202
e-mail: isomin at

----- Original Message -----
From: Sanford Levinson <SLevinson at>
Date: Friday, December 23, 2005 8:22 pm
Subject: RE: Broad readings of Articles I and II

> Ilya writes:
> the president, who is elected by a national majority....  
> But this is demonstrably false as an analytic proposition.  
> Sometimes a
> president is elected by a national majority (2004).  But sometimes the
> president doesn't even have a plurality (2000 and, it appears, 1960).
> Sometimes a president has a plurality but nowhere near a majority 
> (Nixonin 1968, Clinton in 1992).  Sometimes a president has a 
> pretty hefty
> vote, but still not a majority (1948).  And even when presidents have
> majorities, they are constructs of a patently anti-majoritarian
> electoral college.  As Democrats were told in 2000, we'll simply never
> know what the vote would have been if we elected presidents on a
> national one-person/one-vote basis, where there would have been an
> incentive to turn out every Democrat in Texas and every Republican in
> California. 
> All one can say for sure is that presidents get more votes, spread
> across more of the country than anyone in the highly localist 
> House and
> Senate.  This may be worth something, but it doesn't add up to the
> President as spokesperson (or tribune) of a national majority. 
> sandy

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