The run up to today’s Obama-Biden textnouncement has spurred some discussion about the vice presidency. History blogger SerGee3 at Don’t Give Up the Ship suggests the vice president be elected separately:

Since the Vice President can become acting or actual President, We the People deserve more of a vote on him or her than a joint party ticket. While solutions range from the simple to the complex, and while partisan politics can throw wrenches in the process, the American experiment has grown to the point where the VP is the only office not in some way directly chosen by the people, and that has to change, if for no other reason than historical momentum.

Great food for thought. The full article doesn’t get into ways to implement this, as the president and VP are currently elected by the same pledged partisan electors.

It would presumably require a constitutional amendment to:

  • abolish the Electoral College in favor of separate popular votes for president and vice president; or
  • use separate electors for the vice president; or
  • leave one of the positions in the hands of the Electoral College and elect the other one directly.

Meanwhile, Stephen, a.k.a. Sisyphus, takes some of the same arguments to a different conclusion: Abolition of the vice presidency. Check it out.

2 thoughts on “Did somebody say VP?

  1. But a popular vote for both positions would replicate the problem we had until the 12th Amendment was passed. I wonder if “one man, two votes” would pass constitutional muster? Meaning, what if we all voted not for Obama or McCain, but for “Obama/Biden” and “McCain/Whomever” instead? We could have a direct election for a slate, not one candidate.

  2. I agree; I wasn’t passing judgment on SerGee3’s premise, just positing how it could be enacted.

    Electing the president and vice president by ticket seems much more sensible to me than
    (a) holding separate national elections for president and vice president, or
    (b) worse, holding a single free-for-all election in which everyone casts two votes, with the top vote getter becoming president and the runner-up VP.

    Both scenarios are separate from the issue of whether we use an electoral college; As you alluded but other readers may not know, (b)+Electoral College was the system until it had to be changed in 1804. I’ll write about that incident some other time, or you can read about here:,_1800

    The problem with either of those options is that we’d frequently end up electing diametric opposites, and possibly very bitter rivals, to the top two positions. This could needlessly tie up national business that needs to get done and/or cause other unintended consequences.

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