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In data: America’s creaking Electoral College

America's electoral machinery has always been quaintly anachronistic. But is it now reaching breaking point?

Electoral systems are a subject for nerds in very thick glasses—until the moment something goes wrong.

Before 2000, the “college” of elders that America’s founding fathers had imagined would wisely pick a president was a quaint anachronism. Its potential to turn a loser into a winner was of theoretical interest only, since it hadn’t happened in well over a century. Even when George W Bush triumphed with marginally fewer votes than Al Gore in that year, it looked like a fluke produced by the very close result.

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