The effort to deny Donald Trump the presidency by luring his electors to vote for some other candidate was doomed to failure.
At the outset, most of the electors were chosen by state conventions and state executive committees before the party's presidential candidate was known. They were pledged to vote for the national nominee, no matter who it turned out to be.
While a number of electors admitted they did not support Trump, they had to honor their pledge. After all, electors are stalwarts loyal to the core who would never disgrace themselves by walking away from any party candidate.
The effort to dry gulch Trump was sponsored largely by Democrats who were asking Trump electors to vote for Hillary. Talk about dreaming! The reason Trump won the election was because many of his voters believed Hillary would be worse.
If Clinton would have urged her electors to go for Mike Pence, the effort may have picked up some steam because many ideological Republicans would feel more comfortable with him than with some unpredictable newcomer.
Another reason the effort was futile: 29 states and the District of Columbia have laws that require the electors to vote for the candidate for whom they appeared on the ballot. These states had 304 legally-bound delegates-a strong majority of the 538 electors.
North Dakota does not require electors to vote for their presidential candidate, but their loyalty is more binding than any state law.
Because we have already had two elections in this century in which candidates who won the popular vote lost the electoral vote, we can expect an ongoing debate over changing the Electoral College.
It will be a replay of the late 1960s and early 1970s, when George Wallace captured 46 electors in the presidential election of 1968. His success in the Electoral College drove the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to launch a nationwide discussion on changing the system.
At the time, conservative writers concluded that the winner-take-all feature of the Electoral College forced presidential candidates to pander to small minorities in order to carry a state.
In the debate, former U.S. Rep. Ed Gossett of Texas alleged that it wasn't fair to have a winner-take-all system in each state because it placed a premium on a few labor votes, a few Italian votes, a few Irish votes, a few African American votes, and so on.
But campaigning has changed since 1968. It appears that the leverage of minorities in urban states has become negligible, and conservatives can be themselves.
The campaign for presidency has already changed. In 2000, the top states visited by George Bush and Al Gore included Texas with 84 campaign stops, Pennsylvania with 39, California 31, Florida, 30, Michigan 29, Ohio 21, Tennessee 21, New York 20 and Missouri 18.
Compare this to 2016, when only six states were visited more than 10 times by the major candidates-Pennsylvania 23, Florida 20, North Carolina 18, Ohio 16, Virginia 12 and Iowa 11.
Apparently, a new kind of swing state strategy dominates today's campaigns. This could mean that Gossett's argument is no longer valid, and minorities no longer have leverage.
So, perhaps the Electoral College's winner-take-all system in almost all states no longer forces conservative candidates to the left.
While Electoral College reform provides interesting fodder for debate, it is purely academic as long as constitutional amendments require two-thirds of Congress to propose and three-fourths of the states to ratify.
Even if the proposal could get through the Congress, it would die in a handful of small states, where people believe they have an edge in the system. You can bet abolition of the Electoral College would have tough sledding in North Dakota, even in winter.
Omdahl is a retired professor of political science at UND and a former lieutenant governor of North Dakota.