A reason to support the electoral college?

While I have my doubts about this, here’s a background and summary of a forthcoming piece in Public Choice on the value of the electoral college (via politicaltheory.info).

“Alan Natapoff recalls, ‘I realized that I was the only person willing to see this problem through to the end.’ The morning in question was back in the late 1970s. Then as now, Natapoff, a physicist, was spending his days doing research at MIT’s Man-Vehicle Laboratory, investigating how the human brain responds to acceleration, weightless floating, and other vexations of contemporary transport. But the problem he was working on so late involved larger and grander issues. He was contemplating the survival of our nation as we know it.

Not long before Natapoff’s epiphany, Congress had teetered on the verge of wrecking the electoral college, an institution that has no equal anywhere in the world. This group of ordinary citizens, elected by all who vote, elects, in turn, the nation’s president and vice president. Though the college still stood, Natapoff worried that sometime soon, well-meaning reformers might try again to destroy it. The only way to prevent such a tragedy, he thought, would be to get people to understand the real but hidden value of our peculiar, roundabout voting procedure. He’d have to dig down to basic principles. He’d have to give them a mathematical explanation of why we need the electoral college.”

There are also in-between possible solutions, allotting electors according to only the number of Representatives a state has in the House and not, as is done, Representatives plus Senators.  In either case, reform is next to impossible, politically anyway.