YA Call for preferential ballot
We see the talk of an America divided in 2, but in fact it's not. There are more viewpoints than that. Normally a 2 party system tends towards the middle, this election was unusual in having a larger than normal difference among the candidates.
But perhaps now is the time to take the Democratic energy and try to push it into a movement for real reform. Not ballot recounts, not crazy dreams that can never happen.
By that, I mean getting at least one state to move to a preferential ballot system, such as Australian "Instant Runoff," Approval or Cordorcet, with an unfortuantely complex additional rule for how to cast in the electoral college when done.
Reforming the electoral college is unlikely (though an interesting hack is discussed elsewhere in this blog). 3/4ths of states must ratify any change to the college, and the small states would need a big constitutional price in exchange for stripping themselves of the extra power they have in the college.
However, individual states can change how they select their electors through ballot resolution or legislative action. Entirely on the local level. Ballot resolution seems the simplest approach. The only thing standing in the way is that many voters get confused by instant runoff systems. Basic Condorcet is easy to understand, but the tiebreaker modifications are often hard to understand. Still, the Australians manage it.
The first effort will probably fail and only educate the public. Eventually, some state, probably a small one, will go over and have such a ballot. This in turn will start to educate the rest of the nation. The ideas, once understood, are good ideas, and will appeal to the populace. It's hard to argue against them.
However, the 2 major parties will _want_ to argue against them because they are bad for those parties. In many elections, there is somebody who won because there wasn't a preferential ballot. In particular, Bush in 2000 and (arguably) Clinton in 1992. (On the other hand, Bush the Elder arguably _lost_ because there was such a system, and thus might support it.)
That's why a ballot proposition is the right way to do this.More bad news though. The system needs to be doubly complex. Once a state has a preferential order for its votes, it must deal with the ordinary majority needed in the college. So it would have to play an instant runoff of its own, using the fact that all other state's choices (including other states that switch to a preferential ballot) are public. As such, they would take the state's first choice, and see if it would get first or second in the college. If not, it would try the state's second choice and so on until this was true, and the state would cast ballots for that candidate.
When only one state did this, what would be the gain? Well, minor parties would start polling really well in those states, since voters would have no reason not to vote for them if they like them. So you would start seeing results like "20% of Californians voted Progressive, then passed on to join the 35% who voted Democrat giving Democrate 1st place." The message -- there is lots of Progressive support.
What is the good that would come from this? The big parties would fracture. The Democrats would probaby fracture into a "Progessive" and a Moderate-Liberal wing. The Republicans would fracture into a Religious Conservative wing and a Libertarian-Conservative wing.
This is a good thing, I would hope. Eventually the small parties might rise and get dominance, there being fewer barriers to it.