Tuesday, 6 November 2012

US Election Blogathon

04:37 With victory now assured absent acts of God - and not an ordinary God, one of the really unpleasant ones - I think this is a good time to sign off.  My thanks to everyone who've been reading over the last eight hours, and let me just say, from the bottom of my heart: fuck Joe Walsh.

04:24 Ohio for Obama!  What can I say that isn't summed up by Andy Borowitz on Twitter: "Man Who Told Half the Nation to Fuck Themselves Somehow Loses Election"

04:23 BBC coverage announcing Colorado legalised marijuana.  For the record, Brutal Snake told me first.

04:19 Feel terrible that I used "inevitable" twice in that last update.  That's Bush league shit, right there.

On the other hand, Obama just progressed from "overwhelming favorite" to "certain victor absent the invasion of the bodysnatchers".

So it's swings and roundabouts, really.

04:15 So excited about a second Obama term.  Healthcare safe! New START implemented! The inevitable dance-off with Iran inevitably in the bag!

04:09 Maybe all the Transformers running around are causing problems.  Or the Fog.  It could be the Fog.

04:08 Does Oregon even know there's an election on?  I mean, Alaska I can forgive, but...

04:06 Basically, Republicans are telling Romney they can't stack possibly stack the deck with the number of aces he's gonna need.  People get suspicious when you wanna play with more than 52 cards...

04:05 So Jeb Bush thinks Romney lost Florida? I guess when the grand high wizard says he can't cast a powerful enough spell to befuddle the peasants, it's all over.  And yes, "spell" in this case means "obvious voter fraud".

03:57 Democrats do not have a problem with men. They have a problem with white men who've never seen the ocean.  That's very different.

03:54 I think it says a great deal that a Republican is boasting about how one election in the last four they managed to get as many women to vote for them as men.

03:51 My eyes feel like they're three times their normal size.  Is that a good sign?

03:45 Latest in Ohio has Obama at 53% and Romney at 48%. Whoever wins: maths loses.

03:43 Which of course, would make the challenger Mitt Romney of Many Colours.  Except green, obviously.  Never green.

03:38 Apparently there's only ten routes left to victory for Romney.  And three of those involve stealing the One Ring from Sauron.

03:35 Also, as I understand it, the US just got its first openly gay senator, which is wonderful news.

03:34 More technical problems have overcome me, so this is a good few minutes late, but just for the record: Wisconsin is the first result to even slightly surprise me (my brief wobble on Pennsylvania notwithstanding).

03:32 Brilliant that the panel can't keep all the insane Republican claims about rape straight. There's just too much shit to sift through.

03:21 Given the economic situation and Republican intransigence, I don't think having Obama carry on before is worth the qualifier "just". "Hey, Neil Armstrong; are you just gonna keep wandering around heavenly bodies no mortal man before you has reached?"

03:19 Aw, Linda McMahon lost her race.  That's got to be bad news for wrestling fans who also don't know what the fuck reality is.

03:18 We are now looking inside Virginia.  You can fill in the rest of this joke yourself.

03:15 Current score is Obama 157, Romney 162. That's somewhat misleading, though; Republican states are often the first to declare, because a) voter fraud has gotten pretty efficient, and b) no bugger lives in the Midwest anyhow.

03:12 Not much point using Romney quotes in an argument.  Your opponent can always counter through the use of Romney quotes.

03:05 A useful explanation there that "exit poll" means people who are "polled" as they "exit" the polling booth.  Email me or comment if you require further explanation.

03:04 Noooo, BBC!  Don't use pie charts!  They're really bad, for some reason.  I forget why.

03:02 I'm still too fuzzy to deal with the electoral maths, but looking at that border-to-border streak of red, it's clear that Romney has won Blockbusters.

03:01 It's proving to be a very bad night for white men announcing how women should deal with rape.

02:59 "If we're looking for an electoral college victory." What on Earth else could we be looking for? The treasure of the Sierra Madre under a voting machine?

02:56 Warren announced winner in Massachusetts.  Hopefully this time it isn't bullshit.

02:55 Just as an aside, the BBC electoral map is very slow.  Dimbledude's coverage is significantly ahead.

02:53 New Hampshire for Obama.  Not a surprise, but not a foregone conclusion either.

02:52 Also, that "big government" bit was purest horsecrap, but then that goes without saying. Whenever a Republican starts bitching about the size of the federal government, you need to tune them out immediately.  They're either hypocrites, or so fabulously wealthy that the whole country could collapse and they'd still have the bullion to buy all the security guards and whores they'd need.  Or security whores.  Has anyone done that before?

02:50 Fucking hell, did he just name Bobby "volcanoes will never erupt, boy howdy!" as a potential Republican candidate for president.  Immediate fail, your name is whoever that guy was.

02:48 Nine times out of ten, "Momentum" just means "we're losing, but please don't assume we'll lose".

02:47 Angry Black Lady informs me (in all caps, not that the announcement doesn't warrant it) that the berk insisting that pregnancies borne of rape are "God's will" just got his head handed to him. Amen, said the atheist.

02:46 Good advice.  We worry about Florida only when we have to, as I've said.  When I made my prediction two days ago I was worried Florida (or almost any other state) would be the decider, but I'm rather less worried at this moment.

02:44 It's at this point that I wish I was sober enough to do the maths, but I'm pretty sure Obama is well in the lead.  That said, I may be so out of it that I'm clicking on four year old links.

02:43 Wait, Romney's got his headquarters in Massachusetts too?  That's like me redirecting all mail to my ex-girlfriend's house and demanding she fuck me the day before I might get a promotion.

02:40 They got some weird music up at Lake Michigan.  It sounds like a whale trying to pass a wind-chime.

02:34 I'm hearing from Glenn Greenwald that Alan Grayson is back in Congress.  Which should be entertaining, since he was the only 2008 freshman perfectly happy to tell the GOP to go fuck themselves with all possible speed.

02:33 Let's not bring up 2000, hmm? It only matters if it's the deciding state. Let's cross that bridge when we come to it (flashing our genitals as Antonin Scalia as we do, natch).

02:29 Oh thank God. It's been an hour since I learned whether Captain Turtleface was sick of what's been going on in the US over the last four years.

02:28 I still don't believe the first debate had the impact people say it did, but the problem with saying Romney screwed up by not going to Pennsylvania to flip it when he had the chance was the number of other states he needed to flip while he had the chance. There's only so much a man could do during the brief period people don't think he's a tool.

02:21 Dammit! Call for Warren apparently a mistake.  Hopefully the same isn't true of Pennsylvania, because that's pretty much the ballgame.

02:17 Pennsylvania called for the blues!  Mwuhahahahahahahaha!

02:16 Again, not surprising, but no less depressing for that: the House is gonna stay Republican. I confidently predict they'll all be intolerable douchebags.

02:15 I don't want to disturb the ghosts of 2000, but given the current lay of the land, it's not a good sign for Romney that Florida is so close.

02:12 In happier news, Massachusetts just called their senate race for Elizabeth Warren.  Which is phenomenal news, because Warren is a fantastic candidate and all-round smart cookie, and Scott Brown is a truculent child who I'm told happens to look good naked.

02:10 I can't get the link to work, but the Washington Monthly are saying the Republicans have picked up five seats in the House. I don't have any more general context for that right now.

02:08 Romneygirl makes a damn good point. If you can't refrain from slamming a member of your own party for working with the president to deal with a hurricane, then you absolutely, positively need to fuck off with all haste.

02:04 "Nothing has changed hands, except for Indiana." Sums it up, especially since Indiana was factored in some time ago.

02:01 Gosh, it's past two in the morning.  I should really have my dinner.

02:00 Republicans have governorship of North Carolina.

01:57 Mississippi too?  Man, Romney's really sweeping the racist states, huh.  I wish I could work out why that was.

01:55 Steve Holt!

01:48 And there we go.

01:47 The speed of the recovery is not due to the size of the recession.  It's due to an utter refusal by a Republican House to vote for anything other than a tax cut on the rich to deal with the problem.

01:45 Gods, do we really have to talk about Romney's likeability?  He got away without revealing his tax returns.  He got away with a series of lies so breathtaking Loki himself would have counselled the guy to cut it out. He got away with a miraculous swing to the center so calculated it involved decimal points.  Piss off with your likability.

01:41 Though if the Republicans take Pennsylvania and the Democrats take Florida, we're still up on the deal.

01:40 Not at all happy about the numbers coming out of Pennsylvania.  You'd think a state so difficult for me to spell would cut me a break.

01:37 I called it at 22:32; New Jersey hates Romney enough to kick his arse during the fallout from a hurricane.

01:35 Another non-surprise as Tennessee, as they remind us they didn't champion a white man with a black voice just so they could suffer a black man with a white job.

01:32 Is there any chance the BBC filmed more than two votes today? Rather sick of a woman begrudgingly supporting Obama and a tortoise inside man's clothes bitching about the current president.

01:29 Alabama and Georgia vote for four more years of racism.

01:28 I call a moritorium on predicting Florida.  Also, the term "bellwether county".

01:26 Yeah, yeah, yeah. Connecticut called for Obama.  Yawn, etc.


Ahem.  There's also some Senate (and House) elections tonight. So far a Democrat has retained their seat, and an Independent has replaced a retiring Republican.

01:17 Florida leaning Republican again. What it would be saying if Rick Scott wasn't governor, the Gods alone know.

01:16 The early vote issue a tough argument to take a side on.  On the one hand, the Democrats are arguing voting is a fundamental right and must be respected.  On the other, the Republicans are arguing it would cost too much money to ensure every citizen can vote.  Man, I'd hate to choose between those two positions.

01:14 Very efficient of Oklahoma to declare for Romney without presenting any actual voting data. Or so the
BBC would have me believe.

01:12 Not that that matters. If Obama takes Ohio and Florida, then it's game over.

01:10 Though if I'd listened to my own advice, I'd have missed an Obama surge.  Florida also still leaning Democrat. Virginia, erm, isn't.

01:09 Must resist urge to just keep clicking Ohio and ignoring everything else.

01:05 This is interesting; BBC site has Florida leaning Democrat and Ohio (just, just) leaning Republican.

01:03 57-40, I'm hearing.  We may have already seen the last time Romney is ahead. But we'll see.

00:57 I think XKCD pretty much obliterated the "It's never happened before now" meme.

00:54 Not sure I'd include Ford in any kind of extrapolation of presidential fortunes. The Nixon pardon pretty much trumped everything.

00:42 NOOOO! Shut up shut up shut up!  The Democratic Party has not moved to the left.  No-one, anywhere, ever, has been able to back that up, except that they're a bit nicer to gay people these days.

00:40 In 1976, I mean.  They're not that backward.

00:39 South Carolina is called.  The only surprising thing here is that they voted for Jimmy Carter.

00:35 West Virginia, in the complete opposite of a surprise, goes for Romney. Given the current results, I predict 67 - 472.  Which is total bollocks, but I'm already doing better than those feckless idiots who were baiting Nate Silver last week.

00:30 Did people know when and where Romney would show up to vote in Massachusetts?  It's my understanding they'd happily beat him to death with Boston Legal DVDs the instant they could pin him down to a zip code.

00:26 I don't agree with Dean's "Go over the cliff" policy, but I don't see a better plan.  Other than growing up and treating the deficit as something less than the upcoming apocalypse it's painted as.  We could try that.

00:25 And he's had enough.

00:24 This is an awfully long time to let a guy lie to your face via satellite.

00:21 If Romney loses, will he even bother with a concession speech?  If I were him, I'd just walk onto a stage constructed from one hundred dollar bills and moon the cameras.

00:17 "Republicans ignored Latinos and Democrats took them for granted". That's actually a pretty nice line from Ms Republican. That said, I don't get to speak for American Latinos even more than I don't get to speak for American white guys, but in my opinion, Obama could certainly have done worse by Hispanics than he did.

00:16 Is Arizona still one of the top ten Hispanic states?  I thought they'd passed laws to have them all shot.

00:15 Back now.  Nice shout-out a few minutes ago to the Lily Leadbetter Act.  For those who don't know, that's a law named after a woman who was discriminated against because of her gender regarding pay scales, but didn't find out about said discrimination until it was too late (where "too late" was determined by, IIRC, the Supreme Court, wretched business-lickers that they are) and so was entitled to no compensation.  The LLA is designed to make it harder for corporations to pay women less then men.  Naturally, pretty much the entire Republican Party voted against it.

00:08 Another Romney surrogate arguing the problem is no-one knows their candidate. If only he'd had access to money and airtime, huh?

00:04 Crap! Technical problems. On steam-powered laptop right now.  Everything I was going to say, the BBC just said.

23:51 The BBC are attributing Romney's resurgence to the first debate.  I've never been entirely convinced on that; it seemed too quick and too large.  That said, I've no better explanation, so what do I know?

23:49 "[Running for president] has cost [Romney] a significant proportion of his career".  I thought for a moment he was going to say "fortune", but I'm not sure anything short of building five Death Stars to use a giant executive toy could make that kind of dent in Romney's offshore accounts.

23:47: Yep, 2000 was too close to call.  That's why the Supreme Court had to step in and piss all over the constitution.  Bitter?  Moi?

23:45 I say this is like a cup final where the losing supporters might get bombed.  Northern Owl disagrees; considering it a cup final where the scores will at least go above two hundred.

23:43 "This election is a political popularity contest."  Yep.  And a t-bone steak is a flat beef apple.

23:41 Don't know anything about Katty Kay, so already, it could be worse.

23:37 The most important question about the BBC's coverage: will they let John Bolton back on after his appalling behaviour last time?

23:32 BBC election coverage about to start in earnest.  I'll probably be sticking with that in the main, not least because my Al Jazeera feed keeps cutting out (my fault, not theirs).

23:24 Which reminds me of one of my favourite comments during the 2008 election, from David Sedaris:
I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes​ down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. 'Can I interest you in the chicken?​' she asks. 'Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?' To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked."
23:19 As much as the electoral college gets beaten on, it's worth remembering that if it was removed, then the US would basically replace a system in which people only care about a fraction of indecisive states with a system in which people only care about a fraction of indecisive people.

23:17 Back to Al Jazeera.  They're pointing out how strange it is that a candidate can be a half million votes ahead and still lose due to the electoral college.  If you're interested, you should check the comments of this post, in which Tomsk is explaining attempts to change this, mainly by beating up my maths, which makes me sad.

23:05 This, on the other hand, is utter crap. Just because income equality is inevitable doesn't mean it's a problem. Cancer is inevitable.  Homicide is inevitable. A new Kid Rock album, it would seem, is inevitable.  It's important to minimise misery wherever possible.

23:04 Interesting comments on whether a second Obama term might finally force Republicans to actually govern the country instead of trying to undermine him.  I'm slightly more sympathetic to this argument than most progressives, but even so, I'll believe it when I see it.

22:57 There now follows a brief pause whilst my girlfriend and I look at meerkats.  Because you should never forget what's really important.

22:51 Watching Newsnight now, and hearing Ohio could take as long as ten days to come up with a definitive result. To call this "not ideal" would be to call Piers Morgan "slightly a twat".

22:44 "Which Mitt Romney is the world and America to believe?"  I'm loving this.

22:43 Holy God! Al J has interviewers who push back!  I've missed that, I really have. This Romney stooge is literally arguing anything his candidate said six months ago can no longer be discussed.

22:39 Breaking news: people vote for Obama because they don't understand Romney's policies.  In fairness, it's difficult to understand a policy when you refuse to explain it.

22:39 Twenty minutes or so until polls start closing.

22:32 I sympathise entirely with the difficulties people in New Jersey are having in voting, but I can't possibly imagine Al J are right about the states electoral votes ending up in the balance.

22:29 The answers are in, courtesy of my friend on Facebook: the New Hampshire symbol is "the old man of the mountain". Truly I am learning tonight.

22:26 Back at Al Jazeera, who are pointing out the difference between Romney's last-minute fast-food campaign stop, and Obama sitting down and calmly eating a meal.  Obama wins dinner, people!

22:21 Thanks to Northern Owl on Twitter for pointing out the Wisconsin symbol is probably a badger (presumably in a blanket).  I should have remembered the Wisconsin-badger link.

22:13 Hugh almost forgot Romney's name then.  Would that we could all be so lucky.

Yeah, I know; that one's obvious.  The soccer gag's drained me for a little while, I think.

22:10 Why does 55 electoral votes make California "the cashpoint"?  That's like calling Christian Ronaldo "The JJB".

Yeah!  A football joke!

22:06 "The millionaire businessman has spent six years working towards this moment." I make it seven, actually, but if he loses it'll be pretty funny either way.

22:01 BBC just told me 150 million Americans can take part in the election.  That's less than 50% of their population.  Is that a strange statistic, or is it about right for an industrial democracy?

21:57 Still trying to figure out those state symbols. The best I can come up with for Wisconsin is that it's a rack of toast atop a porpoise. Any other suggestions?

21:47 Before I beat on this panel too much, I concur with k9 on Twitter, who suggested Al Jazeera's coverage in the first place.  I agree with very little of what's being said, but it's far more enlightening than CNN.  As, of course, is being made to write the letters "CNN" in your own feces.

21:46 Greenwald is complaining about voting because it makes no difference.  If he wanted to give up on politics, he'd now be allowed to join the army.  There's one difference right there.

21:42 Having said all that, everyone at Al J seems happy to call the massive outpouring of anonymous money that blighted this election cycle as the anti-democratic bullshit is is.

21:40 Oh good, now we learn that both candidates are misrepresented by the other camp.  See 20:22.

21:38 Watching Al Jazeera's coverage right now.  Lynn Sherr wants us to know Romney doesn't literally want to end all government.  Thanks.  Glenn Greenwald wants us to know it makes no practical difference who wins, because there's something wrong with him.

21:30 90 minutes until the first polls close.

21:26 Incidentally, I love the little pictures the BBC have up for the different US states.  Texas is a lone star, Wyoming is a coyote.  New Hampshire is, I think, a tramp emerging from a dumpster.

21:15 That came from CNN too, actually.  I'll stop being mean about it.  Unless Wolf Blitzer shows up, obviously.  How can such an awesome name have been wasted on such a milquetoast wood-relief?

21:14 Really, Pennsylvania?

21:11 CNN also tell me that Romney and Ryan just went to buy some fast food.  Romney's order can be found at their site, if you're literally too stupid to go on breathing.

On a personal note, though, I only just saved my cheese bites from getting burnt.  Now that's important information.

21:05 CNN says first preliminary results are crawling in.  Obama's at 65.1% in New Hampshire.  That's based on 0% of precincts, apparently, so I'd advise taking that too much to heart...

21:00 Well, that was a rather weird election special.  What's next?

20:56 There's no point in starting an abortion debate by arbitrarily deciding a certain number of abortions is too high.  That's a recipe for bulldozing right over the individual circumstances of the women in question.

20:52 Have now been informed that it's not as simple as "Democrats pro-choice, Republicans pro-life".  This is of course, true.  It's actually "Democrats generally pro-choice, Republicans led by insane mouthbreathing misogynist monsters". We must be accurate about these things!

20:45 Just passing on a quote from Nate Silver, this blog's favourite statistician (courtesy of Balloon Juice):
I'm not very pro pundit, I have to say.  If pundits were on the ballot against, like, I don't know, Ebola, I might vote Ebola.  Or third party.  
A stats monkey and a wit.  I may have to hunt him down and crush him.

20:34 BBC3 has turned into a debate on lowering the voting age, which is interesting.  I don't really have a horse in the race, but I do agree with the idea that someone needs to explain to me how a sixteen year old's desire to vote for their own selfish short-term gain differs from everyone else's desire to vote for their own selfish short-term gain.

20:28 The Washington Monthly wants rid of the electoral college.  I'm not sure I agree with all their reasons, but overall; yeah. Rather tired of waiting to see what Ohio feels like doing.  Mind you, I'd put proportional representation in the UK as a more likely change than doing away with the Electoral College. Otherwise an awful lot of people would have to fess up about the US doing things the wrong way, and apparently that argument isn't even permissible after an election is thrown into disarray due to voting machines that don't produce legible votes.

20:22 Just because I respect this guy for the balls to stand up doesn't mean he isn't a prick, obviously.  Great point from his opponent: campaigns are not merely either totally truthful or utterly ethically bankrupt. "Obama has stretched the truth too" isn't an argument for anything other than teaching conservatives how to, well, argue.

20:19 If you don't read him anyway, you're missing out, but tonight I'd particularly recommend taking a look over the last few day's worth of posts by Charlie Pierce.  He's been writing a lot about Republican officials in battleground states screwing with the voting process. Really powerful stuff, and frankly makes Florida 2000 look like jolly lawks.

20:15 I admit to respecting people willing to go on the BBC and shill for Romney.  There's no political benefit to it, and they're trying to defend a guy who only learned where Britain is so he could fly over here and be a dick about the Olympics.

20:11 "America has kept peace in the international community".  This will be comforting news to the Iraqis.

20:09 Not the best opening argument Pro-Romney.  Obama hasn't visited Israel or turned around the deficit yet.  Also, IRAN!

20:06 Early days with this BBC3 coverage, but not convinced.  Everyone looks so young.  Nice work setting out the stakes straight off: there's very little chance that the ultimate choice of president won't affect the UK sooner or later

20:05 Finally back after a nightmare evening.  What'd I miss?


Tomsk said...

28 votes for Obama! It's in the bag!

Tomsk said...


The other 50% are in jail

SpaceSquid said...

That was my thought as well...

Tomsk said...


I think getting rid of the electoral college is much the more likely, firstly because it is hardly any fairer than the current system and would rarely make a difference to the result, so is not as threatening to vested party interests as PR in the UK, secondly because the cunning NPVIC approach could well get through if and when all the non-swing states figure out that it is in their interests to sign up.

SpaceSquid said...

I'm ashamed to admit I don't recognise NPVIC. Would you mind expanding, please?

Tomsk said...

Sorry, it's the "National Popular Vote Interstate Compact". Basically a way to get rid of the electoral college without having to amend the constitution. If >50% of states (by votes) sign up then they agree to give all their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote, which would de facto decide the election.

SpaceSquid said...

Ah, yes, I remember that. It's a bit worrying that the vast majority (if not all, I've not checked in a while) of those willing to sign up are democratic strongholds. I know I'm not remotely neutral on the point, but it seems less like an attempt to make things fairer, and more like unilateral disarmament.

Tomsk said...

That's why it doesn't kick in until >50% sign up. As legal manouevres go, it's rather elegant...

SpaceSquid said...

Elegant, I'll grant you, but it's not at all hard to put together a 50% of votes that would harm Democratic interests vastly disproportionately. We'll see one tonight, in fact...

Tomsk said...

I don't see how it could possibly harm Democratic interests. The point is the NPVIC states would be legally bound to give all their EVs to the winner of the national popular vote, which would by definition hand the election to the winner of the national popular vote. Unless I've missed a loophole somewhere?

SpaceSquid said...

25 Democratic states vote 51-49 for Democrat, 25 Republican states vote 99-1 for Republican. 50 states go to Republicans.

SpaceSquid said...

I hope that didn't sound terse, by the way. I'm a busy squid tonight :)

Tomsk said...

Not at all. You are, however, wrong :)

In your scenario the Republicans have clearly won the popular vote and therefore the NPVIC has, as intended, given the election to the winner of the popular vote.

Unless you're arguing that the national popular vote itself is not as fair as the current federal system? That's a different debate though.

SpaceSquid said...

Ah, I see what you mean.

Tomsk said...

Dean *and* Zogby! I'm getting unsettling 2004 flashbacks

SpaceSquid said...

That was before my political awakening, I'm afraid.

Tomsk said...

Zogby's daily polls convinced me that Kerry had a good shot in 2004. A rude awakening for me.

SpaceSquid said...

I don't think I've ever seen anything by Zogby. In any case, it was looking good for the last few days, and it's looking good now.

Abigail Brady said...

I like the NPVIC as an elegant hack. But, there's a problem with legitimacy.

Right now the presidential elections have different polling hours and different regulations about who is disqualified from voting and suchforth, per state. This is justified by people saying "well, it's really 51 different elections, each for a designation for the electoral college", and on those grounds I can just about buy that.

So, the "popular vote" figure we see is a result from adding together those 51 (yes, DC counts) statewide elections. So if that that was adopted as the result, then that justification of being 51 statewide elections goes away. In order to produce a meaningful and legitimate result in that case, you simply have to have the same people on all of the ballots, polling hours the same everywhere, the same voter ID requirements, etc. And the NPVIC makes no provision for that: and can't - because it can't bind states that haven't signed up to it from misreporting their numbers.

If anything it will only encourage electoral fraud.

Tomsk said...

There are valid concerns about how it would work in practice and a hack is still a hack now matter how elegant it is. Hopefully its role would be to smooth the transition to a constitutional reform mandating all states to allocate their EVs proportional to the statewide popular vote (but perhaps that's a naive assumption).

But the questions of legitimacy you raise are trivial compared to the current system, where the votes of Republicans in California or Democrats in Texas count for nothing at all.

Ultimately though all of these reforms are just tinkering when the real problem is the lack of any runoff element in the electoral college system, which effectively enforces a two party duopoly on power.