The members of the Electoral College will meet on Monday to decide the 45th president of the United States and, for the second time in less than 20 years, they will do so amid a controversy over the results of November’s general election.
Donald Trump’s fiercest critics may be dreaming of a last-minute revolt, but the Electoral College, appears near-certain to select the 70-year-old real estate mogul as the president.
Its detractors — and they are many — have denounced an electoral system that flies in the face of the venerated “one man, one vote” principle, and which perversely encourages presidential candidates to campaign in only a few key states while ignoring whole swaths of the country.
But despite the torrent of criticism this method has faced for decades, no reform attempt has ever succeeded. When American voters cast their ballots on November 8, they did not in fact directly elect the next occupant of the White House. Instead, they picked 538 “electors” charged with translating their wishes into reality.
While President-elect Donald Trump picked up 306 electoral votes on Election Day – well over the 270 needed to clinch the election – Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton’s lead in the popular has risen to 2.8 million over Trump as the last remaining postal votes are counted.
A similar scenario took place in 2000, when George W Bush became president even though Democrat Al Gore won more popular votes.
However, the gap is far more dramatic in 2016, with Clinton scoring nearly three million extra votes over Trump.
This Monday, electors will convene in each of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, to officially designate the next president and vice president.