Just about exactly eight years ago, we had an awfully exciting election night. After a season of boring, overly-civil debates where the competitors could hardly differentiate themselves on the issues, but established strikingly different personalities, we had one of the closest elections in U.S. history.
As we all remember, it was a good, close election in which more citizens voted for Al Gore, and his opponent, George W. Bush won.
There are many reasons why the electoral college was put into place two centuries ago. Some of them were good, and others not as good. The main reason why Bush won in 2000, however, was because he took many of the less-populated states; since this has, for the past thirty or so years at least, been a bastion of the G.O.P., this tends to present a small but real bias towards them. Without that bump, the winner of the popular vote would have been elected in 2000.
This election promises to offer change, and the electoral map may look a bit different this year, but it's unlikely to be completely different. Polls have given Obama a consistent edge, but I expect a tight final tally.
Of all the possible outcomes, one stands out as more bitter than the rest: another minority win. The chance may be small, but if the built-in bias of the electoral college were to swing the Presidential election to the same party twice in eight years, it would be a tremendous loss for the process of democracy in the United States.