For most of the twenty-first century, the world’s oldest surviving democracy has been led by a chief executive who received fewer votes than his opponent in an election for the
position.1×The first of these executives started a war based on false pretenses that killed hundreds of thousands of civilians.2×The second — a serial abuser of women3×who hired as his campaign manager a lobbyist for violent dictatorships4×— authorized an immigration policy that forcibly separated migrant children from their families and indefinitely detained them in facilities described as “concentration camps”.
Democracy, as they say, is messy
But even when democracy is messy, a society’s commitment to the endeavor rests on the belief that giving power to the people is appropriate and
fair.7×Recent events have highlighted some of the ways in which federal elections in the United States are profoundly undemocratic and, thus, profoundly unfair.8×The Electoral College — when it contravenes the popular vote — is an obvious example of this unfairness. But it is just one of the mathematically undemocratic features in the Constitution. Equal representation of states in the Senate, for example, gives citizens of low-population states undue influence in Congress. Conversely, American citizens residing in U.S. territories have no meaningful representation in Congress or the Electoral College.