Edward Norton Declares the Electoral College ‘Deeply Rooted’ in Racism and Slavery

Warner Bros. Pictures
Warner Bros. Pictures

Actor Edward Norton has declared that the electoral college is “deeply rooted” in racism and slavery, arguing that America should have started using a national popular vote system 200 years ago.

Norton, a Democrat activist who produced an Emmy-winning Obama documentary in 2009, made the comments in reference to an opinion piece in The New York Times, which claims resistance to eliminating the electoral college “has long been connected to the idea of white supremacy.”

According to the article by Professor Alexander Keyssar, it is “no secret that slavery played a role in the original design of our presidential election system” as it gives “white Southerners disproportionate influence in the choice of presidents, an edge that could and did affect the outcome of elections.”

“All Americans should read this & understand how deeply rooted the antiquated Electoral College system is in racism & slavery,” the Motherless Brooklyn and Birdman star wrote on Twitter in response to the Times article. “We should have moved to a national popular vote 200 years ago. And we should have it now.”

The concept of abolishing the electoral college is generally put forward by Democrats — after they’ve lost an election — who believe it will improve their chances of electoral success. Over recent years, a large number of Democrats, most notably Hillary Clinton, have demanded it be abolished in favor of a national popular vote.

However, there are a small number of Republicans who support the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, a system that would maintain the electoral college but elect the president based on the nationwide number of votes cast. Voters are generally split on the issue, and most voters tend to not show concern for the electoral college.

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