Eric Maskin teaches economics and mathematics at Harvard. He was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 2007. (June 2017)


The Rules of the Game: A New Electoral System

‘The Electoral Vote: Now Let Us Look at It from Another Point of View’; illustration by Thomas Nast, 1876
Americans have been using essentially the same rules to elect presidents since the beginning of the Republic. These rules are deeply flawed. There are several remedies. Perhaps in order of increasing chance of adoption, they are: (1) to elect the president by the national popular vote instead of the Electoral College; (2) to choose the winner in the general election according to the preferences of a majority of voters rather than a mere plurality, either nationally or by state; and, easiest of all, (3) to substitute majority for plurality rule in state primaries.