A commenter on a recent Pierre Lemieux post wrote:

The only shot Trump has (and had) at the Presidency is due to the arcane system used in America to elect Presidents (why not use direct presidential elections like the rest of the world? … it is so much clearer and easy to understand! … even France abandoned electoral colleges in 1962!!)

The commenter could be right about the presidency of other countries. I don’t know enough to know.

But if he extends it to Prime Ministers, he’s wrong. The Parliamentary system I grew up with, as a Canadian, eh, is one in which the Prime Minister is the one who’s head of the party with a majority of the members of Parliament. (Or, if it’s a coalition government, the Prime Minister is the head of the party that has put together a coalition that contains a majority of Parliament. That’s the case with Justin Trudeau in Canada, whose coalition depends on having NDP members.) Britain, New Zealand, and Australia have similar parliamentary systems.

It’s very similar to an electoral vote system. Your party can get fewer votes than the other major party, but if they’re distributed right, you can get a majority of the seats in Parliament or, at least, more seats than the other major party. That actually happened in Canada twice in the last 10 years. In the September 2021 election, if the candidate whose party won the most votes had become Prime Minister, we would be referring to Erin O’Toole as Prime Minister O’Toole. In the October 2019 election, if the candidate whose party won the most votes had become Prime Minister, we would have referred to the Prime Minister in late 2019 as Prime Minister Andrew Scheer.

I wrote about this in 2021. One commenter made a very good point. I’ll quote the parts I agree with:

A popular vote for President comes with its own problems.

1. You incentivize corruption in your strong holds. For example, Democrats in California don’t need to cheat to win California. But if adding 100k votes could be meaningful generally, then why not? This isn’t dem specific; Republicans in Republican strongholds would face the same incentive.

2. You would need uniform voting rules. Far from obvious that is ideal. If you don’t have uniform voting rules, then in a real sense the popular vote isn’t the popular vote.

3. How do you deal with recounts on a national stage if the vote is close?

Note: The pic above is of Parliament Hill in Ottawa.